interviewed 30 July 2003 by Kartic Subr
Desbrun is the recipient of the Significant New Researcher
Award at SIGGRAPH this year. Desbrun is an assistant
professor in Computer Science at the University of Southern
(USC), and a visiting associate in the
Computer Science Department at Caltech. His award
recognizes his original contributions in the areas of physically-based
animation and modeling.
|What first drew
you to computer graphics?
I've got to admit that I am from the fractal
generation... I got hooked on graphics by looking at CG pictures
generated by Mandelbrot, Voss, Saupe... Then, I discovered
SIGGRAPH. I remember reading
memorable papers by Tony DeRose, Ed
Catmull, or Jim Arvo, and
to myself that with such people in the community, CG had to
be an exciting field.
|Do you have any
favorite CG mentors?
Yes, many. I was lucky enough to be in touch
with Alain Fournier, Eugene Fiume, Andrew
Hanson, Brian Wyvill,
and Demetri Terzopoulos while I was still in France for my
graduate studies. They all have been admirably patient and
supportive. When I came to the states, Peter Schröder and
Alan Barr have been much more than simple colleagues: they
been a huge influence, both for my research and my teaching.
|What was the first
time you contributed to SIGGRAPH?
My first SIGGRAPH, as well as my first contribution
to it, was in '95, when SIGGRAPH was in LA.
was your first SIGGRAPH? Which was most intense? Why?
It was definitely the most intense too, since
my paper got in, and I had to give the presentation. I knew
nothing about SIGGRAPH at that time; it was my first submission
to it, and my first talk in an international
conference. Needless to say that I rehearsed ad nauseam...
Good times ;).
to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of?
The upcoming ones :). Graphics is such a
new topic that every year, significant contributions are
made. Compare this to physics, chemistry, or other fields
dating back to thousands of years... So i tend to be drawn
to the future rather than the (even immediate) past.
developments in CG do you look forward to?
||I wonder how graphics (as a field) will evolve.
It is becoming a giant beast these days, with people specializing
in subjects ranging from graphics hardware to scientific simulation
of light interaction or motion. SIGGRAPH has been extremely
successful at keeping all these activities under the same label
so far, but it may become
increasingly harder. On the other hand, I am psyched to see
that graphics is less and less isolated, as more and more collaborations
with other sciences are initiated. The excitement should live
|Apart from hard
work, is there a secret to this achievement(the award) ?
|No. None that I can think of. Actually if you
ask my colleagues, they will tell you - I'm lazy, impatient
and curious.<laughs> But seriously, I think it is 1%
inspiration and 99% hard work. Also, it helps to be curious.
|So what was the
I wish I knew.<laughs>