Currently attending SIGGRAPH which boast itself at THE conference for computer graphics. This is the meeting point for people from industry, academia, schools, artists, designers, producers, directors anything and everything you can think about computer graphics falls under its domain. The popularity of the conference can be gauged from the fact that >25k people attend it every year.
Although I am no more a computer graphics guy (probably never was), I still took an opportunity that came my way from MERL – to volunteer at its booth for 2-3 hours everyday of siggraph (image below). Right now it is about to end, and I ended up asking myself what have I learnt from the conference (… and to let you know siggraph had a huge opportunity cost for me).
To start with, one of the main reasons I came here was to see whats happening in the field of computational photography(CF) and to know whos who of CF. It has been a satisfying experience in this regard. Attended a course where I was introduced to some concepts like – Bilateral filtering, gradient domain processing, which are the current most popular tools of CF. Couple of papers in CF were really interesting – Seamless image resizing (Shai Avidan), Object deletion from images (Afros), Object insertion in images(Afros), Gigapixel images (Cohen), Fast gradient domain processing (Aseem) are a few that comes right off my mind, and finally a couple of sketches in ‘Image is Everything’ had interesting ideas but the content and presentation was soporific.
Another set of things that interested me was the ‘Emerging technologies’ section. From electronic paper (image below) to displays that dont need power to maintain its view. From 360 degree light field animation making virtual holograms of star wars a possible thing to vertical blinking led’s hiding images visible by waving your head or a camera (image below). From virtual reality sets (image below) to microsoft’s table PC. It had it all. The emerging technology section itself was worth a couple of days.
What SIGGRAPH is and other conferences are not is the trade show and entertainment show aspect of the conference. More than 100 companies had put up their booth in the ‘Exhibition’ section, giving away information about their latest products and freebies. Few companies went till the extent of giving on the spot courses on 3D animation, sketching ‘with a live model’ (image below). From the entertainment hungry people, there was a perpetual screening of animation under ‘Animation theaters’ having the best of them at the special screening as ‘Electronic Theatre’. Not to mention a surprise appearance by this (image below) senegal drums band selling their album and performing live.
There were some shortcomings too, primary of them being the food arrangement. Paying four dollars of a pathetic coffee or ten dollars for meager burger was in no way appetizing, but all in all it was a successful conference from my perspective. This time I gave myself some leeway to attend it without any publication, but next time I attend it, it will be with a publication!