Sunday, August 08, 2004

Stranger in a strange land...

So after the somewhat more civilized GP2 workshop, I am now at SIGGRAPH itself. It's being held in the LA convention center, and if any of you have ever been to a home improvement or other such convention, you will get an idea of the scale of this beast.

The main order of business is the Fast Forward Paper Review: the idea is that all authors of the 83 accepted SIGGRAPH papers get 50 seconds to present a capsule preview of their work. It's an interesting concept, and with over 2,000 people (out of 20,000) attending the conference itself, it is probably essential.

The review itself is held in a dark and cavernous curtained-off section of the convention center. Joe Marks, the PC chair, just announced the start of the review, and from the sound of the applause, you'd think you were at a rock concert.

It's quite the setting: there are three huge screens for the presentation and another huge screen displaying the presenter. Not all the presenters are good at this format though: some people run through reduced versions of their actual presentations. Powerpoint never looked so out of place...

Some highlights:
1. Rendered gems that look like real !!
2. Graphical origami: how to make a paper model from a mesh. You CAN Touch this !
3. Triangles are toast; Our very own Nina Amenta renders with point clouds.
4. A Mission-Impossible-themed movie....on tensors.

Random thoughts:
* You can tell that this is Hollywood-driven: many presentations go "suppose you have this picture, and your director wants it modified to that picture"
* It does put paper-writing in perspective: how many paper ideas would survive if you knew you also needed a funky 50 second advertisement for them ? Reminds of the maxim (by Feynman?): if you can't explain what you are doing in one sentence to a child, you are probably not doing anything interesting.

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