SIGGRAPH 2005 - What To Know Before You Get There!

interview by Dee-Marie

SIGGRAPH 2005 - What To Know Before You Get There!

James L. Mohler, graciously took time out of his busy schedule to advise conference goers on how to get the most out of this year’s SIGGRAPH event.

James is an award winning graphic artist, as well as a faculty member at Purdue University, and was instrumental in the development of many new innovative courses. To add to this, James is currently serving a 4-year commitment as the SIGGRAPH 2005 Conference Chair.

Can you give our readers a brief the history of SIGGRAPH?

SIGGRAPH is the name of the annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. The first SIGGRAPH conference was in 1974. The conference is attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals, and has most recently been held in Los Angeles.

Past SIGGRAPH conferences have been held in Dallas, Boston, Seattle, New Orleans, San Diego and elsewhere across the United States.

Last year, Newsweek described the SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition as “the Woodstock of computer graphics and interactive techniques.” SIGGRAPH 2005 will be held from July 31st to August 4th at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

What’s new for SIGGRAPH in 2005?

Aside from the traditional programs and the outstanding content juried and curated within them, SIGGRAPH 2005 presents several new venues and experiences for the attendee. These include:

  • Access Grid, which provides a global collaborative performance piece, international art panels and multi-site community interaction. This emerging, scalable teleconferencing technology enables interaction between individual desktops, 3,000-person theaters, and everything in-between.

  • Full Dome, which is a rapidly growing medium with over 125 immersive displays deployed worldwide in planetariums and special-venue theaters. The venue presents the world's best Full-Dome animations from DomeFest 2005.

  • Implementation Sketches, which are sketches that are accessory to a paper presentation. They deal with technical details and non-trivial issues regarding the implementation of the technique presented.

  • Educators Incubator, a demo space for interactive educational products.

  • Storyboard art from selected Electronic Theater pieces will be presented in the Art Gallery.

  • High-definition projection (1080i and 1080p) within the Electronic Theater.

  • Bilingual guided tours of the Art Gallery and Emerging Technologies venues provided by the International Center.

  • A special selection of courses that explore innovation and practice in open source computer graphics.

    There are so many exhibits, presentations, and events this year, how would you recommend a visitor get the most out of their SIGGRAPH 2005 Convention experience?

    The biggest thing a visitor should do is plan their time at SIGGRAPH. Whether one uses the web site before arriving in LA or the Program and Buyer’s Guide onsite, it is important that you have a plan of attack. There is a lot that goes on in the five days of SIGGRAPH and if you don’t make a plan, you will inevitably miss something you wished you would have attended.

    For first time attendees, one of the best ways to plan the week is to start by visiting the Pathfinders booth in the South Lobby at the conference. Pathfinders is the place where experienced SIGGRAPH attendees volunteer their time to help newcomers get familiar with all that is going on.

    With the release of Star Wars III, how did the SIGGRAPH committee get the extremely busy George Lucas, to accept your invitation to be this year’s Keynote Speaker? What night will he be speaking, and are their any seats left?

    A series of fortuitous events led to our being able to host Mr. Lucas as our keynote speaker this year. Like most everything else at SIGGRAPH, it was all teamwork and timing. Though the conversation was started by one of our program chairs, it was really through the cooperation and collaboration of some incredible folks at ILM and LucasFilm, combined with the knowledge that this is the perfect time for Mr. Lucas to address the community he's inspired for over 30 years.

    Photo by Keith Hamshere © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

    The Keynote session this year is on Monday, August first, from 1:15-3:15. We have greatly expanded the live session room to seat 4,000 people. The live session room will be reserved for Full Conference attendees only. We have 3 other rooms that will provide simulcast of the session, which will hold a nearly 4,500 people and is reserved for Conference Select and Exhibits Plus registration levels. We do indeed expect the session to be very popular.

    What in the world is a SIGGRAPH 2005 Flying logo, and how do convention visitors get a chance to animate one?

    Flying Logos was an initiative of the Computer Animation Festival. At SIGGRAPH 2004, the conference and the organization unveiled a new, unified identity system that provided a common design element for use by the organization and the conference, as well as conference to conference. The Flying Logos initiative gave contributors the opportunity to use imagination and creativity with the SIGGRAPH identity.

    What kind of resources will be available for International visitors? Will there be translators?

    International visitors are able to connect with colleagues and friends from their native region or country in the SIGGRAPH 2005 International Center. The multi-lingual International Resources Center staff will answers attendee questions and the site will also host presentations for attendees from specific countries and regions, offer space for talks and demonstrations, and provide informal translation services. One exciting new component this year is the addition of bilingual guided tours of the Art Gallery and Emerging Technologies exhibition spaces.

    Can you give our readers the “top ten can’t miss” experiences in SIGGRAPH this year?

    A Sample of 10 Random SIGGRAPH Can’t Miss Items (Chosen from 10,000)

    10. Work one-on-one in the Guerilla Studio
    9. Storyboard Art from CAF in the Art Gallery
    8. See the nitty-gritty of papers in Implementation Sketches
    7. Immerse yourself in the Full Dome theater
    6. Participate in worldwide events in the Access Grid
    5. Latest in realism, physics simulation, and image/video processing in Papers.
    4. Networking opportunities at the Reception.
    3. Special Sessions covering the past, present and future of CG&IT
    2. Electronic Theater in High Definition
    1. Keynote session with George Lucas

    SIGGRAPH 2005 Links of Interest

  • Schedule of Program Events

  • SIGGRAPH and the SIGGRAPH Conference: The Early Days
    by Dr. Robin Williams


  • SIGGRAPH 2005 Conference

    Geaorge Lucas' image featured in the above article © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved and ...
    was used by written permission from LucasFilm
    James L. Mohler image © James L. Mohler/SIGGRAPH and was used by written permission.
    Neither images can be printed, copied, or reprinted without written permission from the artists.

    "Lets Talk" with Dee-Marie
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    by Dee-Marie:
    Senior Staff Writer, and
    Managing Editor of
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    July 11, 2005