SIGGRAPH is the most prestigious conference in Computer Graphics and Interactive Technology. It took place 9-13 August in Los Angeles, U.S. this year. I really appreciate the chance to attend this amazing conference, to learn the top most topics in both academic and industrial research, to enjoy the emerging and existing technologies, and to communicate with the smart guys in Computer Graphics.
It is always helpful to plan your trip before you go, even though the busy itinerary makes it almost impossible for me to wander around the city. You know, one cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. By the way, to make my memory more accurate, I checked several related websites which are listed at the end of this article. Now, follow me to enjoy the SIGGRAPH journey.
Joichi Ito, MIT Media Lab Director, is the keynote speaker for SIGGRAPH this year. Ito is now working to exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways. His keynote talk mainly focuses on crossing of multiple disciplines with computational science, especially the role of synthetic biology in digital world. He referenced one sentence from Nicholas Negroponte, “Bio is the new digital”. The lower cost of innovation makes it possible to realize new ideas from the central most power to the edges. Researchers try hard to make computers smarter, why not find a way to make human brains smarter? Synthetic biology gives us more innovations, e.g. you can design bacteria which can generate bananas. The crossings of computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology give lots of future applications and contributions (even to the society development). At the end of his talk, he mentioned several promising directions, including anti-disciplinary synthetic biology, tangible media, object based media, responsive environment, camera vision, synthetic neurobiology and mediated matters.
COMPUTER ANIMATION FESTIVAL
Computer Animation Festival present several best animations in global CG production, which are selected from more than 500 submissions by a jury of industry experts. Attendees of the festival downloaded an app called “Wham City Lights”. It was really cool when attendees raised it together, like a big party. The shown animations are with high quality in some facets, such as best visual effects, best animated feature film, etc. It also presented the production of visual effects and animation in some commercial films, such as X-Men, Jurassic World, etc.
EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES & EXIBITIONS
VR, AR are the most popular topics in Emerging Technologies & Exibitions. What I like the most is the Childhood project. They propose a wearable suit that can augment child embodiment while preserving user’s interaction and perception. Users can experience child’s viewpoint. When you wear the glasses and a pan-tilt stereo camera on your waist, all the objects around you become larger. Additionally, they provide hand exoskeletons to simulate child’s tiny grasping motion. VirZoom provides natural VR experience for stationary bike. It uses sensors and software to control the speed in the virtual word. There are also many other interesting VR & AR projects, such as virtual 3D sculpturing system, augmented haptics for interactive gameplay, wobble strings. VR & AR can be applied to many applications, and I believe it would be great helpful to our life, such as safe driving, training, teaching, etc. It is not just game or entertainment.
FASTFORWARD & TECHNICAL PAPERS
This is the session that I spent most of my time. I am interested in image and video processing, animation, and modeling. By the way, I really love the presenter stage, and the stage for fastforward. See the two images below, the left one is Hadar Averbuch-Elor (one of Danny’s student) in fastforward; the other one is from Johannes Kopf’s award’s talk, he received the SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award this year. He is a researcher at Microsoft Research, mainly focuses on computer graphics, image and video editing. Oliver was his Ph.D advisor, and he is also collaborating with Danny and Dani. In the image, he was expressing his appreciations to them. I felt proud and promising when I saw this image. We IRCers also have such good chances to collaborate with those smart guys. Maybe one day in the future, you will stand on the stage. .
What impressed me most was Henry Fuchs’s award talk, especially his positive altitude. He received Steven Anson Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics. He really enjoyed his talk, even though there was some problems on his computer for few minutes. He just felt at home, as lots of his old friends attending his talk. Henry is the Federico Gil Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill. He has been active in computer graphics since the early 1970s, with rendering algorithms (BSP Tree), hardware, virtual environments, tele-immersion systems and medical applications.
I attended at least 6 different sessions in Technical Papers, listened at least 24 talks. Of course, I will not list all them here. One thing I learned is that, public speaking skills are really important! Audiences are sensitive to the quality of a talk and they can easily know your effort, so do not try to “fool” your audiences. “Let’s Do the Time Warp” Session is my favorite one, which includes four topics working on photo collections. The four papers are very interesting, but the best talk is “Time-lapse Mining from Internet Photos”. This paper synthesizes time-lapse videos from large community photo collections. The speaker in this talk showed lots of interesting experimental results (even failure ones), was interrupted two times by applauses. I really enjoyed this session.
SIGGRAPH provides a good platform for artists, researchers and engineers to communicate with each other. In Poster Session, you can freely talk to the authors. In Reception, you can enjoy food and meetings. I met several new friends from KAUST, AUTODEST, ADOBE, MSRA, BAIDU; and we chatted more than 3 hours in the reception. We talked about research interests, life in different places, and even future plans. I appreciated the chance to share a room with Han, and meet Hadar. We are almost in the same age, and feel like old friends. I also had chance to discuss papers that I read with the authors face-to-face, e.g. Prof. Shihong Xia. It was more efficient to talk to them directly than reading the paper alone. What’s more, I met Zhao Dong, who is now working in AUTODEST (San Francisco). He gave me a lot of suggestions and shared his personal research and working experiences; “No matter what you choose, try to be happy; happy work, and happy live”. This time I only had short discussion with few foreign researchers. It would be better if I could have chance to speak to them more, to be friends. Anyway, I learned a lot from this SIGGRAPH party~