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SIGGRAPH 2006 Report


The 33rd Siggraph conference was kicked off in Boston the first week in August. On Monday, all attendees were welcomed by John Finnegan, the Conference Chair. John noted several highlights of how the conference has grown with 75 new companies added to the exhibition. The Siggraph 2006 committee also started a new Student Registration Donation Program that allowed attendees to donate funds that would help local students to attend the conference. This outreach program is a great example of how the industry is helping students. Also new this year were the Student Research Posters. The posters filled the front hall and remained on displayed throughout the conference. John then introduced several of the key conference chairs to speak about their respective areas.

Tom Craven, who is retired from Walt Disney, spoke about the Emerging Technologies venue, which had 18 countries represented covering everything from Haptics, Displays, Gaming and Sensors. There was even a team showing some technology to help the visually-impaired. New this year was a special area called the "Fusion Midway" that held all the displays that could be classified as Art or Technology. The image below shows the Morphovision display that transforms and animates solid 3D objects using a digital projector.

Image courtesy of Takashi Fukaya, NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories and ACM Siggraph 2006

Julie Dorsey, the Papers Chair, mentioned that a record 474 papers were submitted of which 86 were selected. The selection were based on the merits of the research and 15 countries were represented. The variety of papers included studies in the areas of data capture, image synthesis and simulating physical-based phenomenon.

Terrance Mason chaired the Electronic and Animation Theaters. He announced that his committee received over 800 submissions from 20 different countries. Of these submissions, 97 were accepted or 12% making the selection very competitive. Terrance also spoke of the committee's outreach program to include 2D and mixed media within the submissions. They also instituted an electronic submission process, which enabled the committee to watch all submissions via computer instead of wading through a mountain of video tapes. This helped the committee to more quickly and objectively manage their selection process.

Image courtesy of Eric Bruneton and ACM Siggraph 2006

Of all the animation submissions, One Rat Short by Alex Weil, Charlex was named Best of Show and 458nm by Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, and Tom Weber, Filmakademie Baden-Wuttemberg was named Special Jury Honors.

Opening the Electronic Theater, visitors were given a chance to interact with the World's Largest Etch-a-Sketch. Each attendee was given a wand with a red reflective marker on one side and a green reflective marker on the opposite side. These wands were detected from the audience and used to control the Etch-a-Sketch shown on the monitors at the front of the hall.

The Art Gallery was chaired by Bonnie Mitchell. It included 4 unique venues. The first venue was the Art Gallery, which featured 2D images, collages, fabrics, fiber art, procedural works, animations, and some select 4D installations that change over time. The second venue was Electronic Mediated Performances where 28 separate performances were scheduled throughout the conference. The third venue was the Charles Csuri Retrospective showing a diverse collection of graphics pioneer's Charles Csuri's works spanning his 43 years. The fourth venue was the Fusion Midway which featured works that combine art and technology for a highly interactive experience.

Image courtesy of Carlo Sequin, University of California, Berkeley and ACM Siggraph 2006

The conference keynote was delivered by Joe Rohde, Executive Designer and Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering. His presentation entitled, From Myth to Mountain: Insights Into Virtual Placemaking," detailed how Joe and his team developed the new Expedition Everest thrill ride for Disney's Animal Kingdom. Rohde spoke of his wide travels doing research for the project that took him to diverse places such as Nepal, Tanzania and the Himalayas. He also spoke how his research was focused on conservation. He stated that "we are all involuntary storytellers," and that storytelling can be dissected into theme, design consistency, and research for realism. He then explained how each of these areas played an important part in the design of the attraction.

Three awards were presented at the conference. The Computer Graphics Achievement Award was given to Thomas W. Sederberg, Brigham Young University. The Significant New Researcher Award was presented to Takeo Igarashi, University of  Tokyo, and the ACM Siggraph Outstanding Service Award was presented to John M. Fujii, Hewlett Packard Company.

The final attendance count for the conference was 19,764. Next year's conference will be held in San Diego, CA.


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