I came to SIGGRAPH
expecting to see grungy legions of pasty-faced computer geeks oogling
over the latest software trinkets for creating flaming logos. Walking
into the convention center on Sunday I discovered my mistake.
The grungy legions
did exist, but not nearly in the epic proportions I had envisioned.
Most of the people wandering the halls were a lot like me: they
had showered recently, were fiercly interested in computer graphics,
and ... normal. It was a pleasant surprise.
I saw men and
women, people of different races, people from different countries--in
short a healthy mix of graphics aficionados, all united under a
metaphorical teapot banner.
checking in and receiving my press credentials, I attended a course
on public policy. The subject matter dealt with intellectual property
and things like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and
the arrest of hacker Dmitry Sklyarov. I noticed a guy about my age
(24) wearing a black tee-shirt with the words "Free Sklyarov"
on the chest. There was also an anti-DMCA symbol on the sleeve.
I thought to myself: "These people really take their computer-related
issues seriously." It's nice to know that the people at this
conference are really into the world of computer graphics. They
love it as much as I do.
the course I tried to familiarize myself with the mammoth Los Angeles
Convention Center. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of cool things
to see and do. I stopped to talk with a group of young people who
looked friendly. They were all recent graduates of the Savannah
College of Art and Design and had come to SIGGRAPH mainly to get
a job. Instantly there was a bond between us.
Like them, I am
a student who will soon be looking for gainful employment in the
graphics industry. So I talked to them a while and found that their
interests were similar to mine. I wrote down their names and took
a picture for this story. They took a picture of me, too.
with them I came to realize that SIGGRAPH isn't just about papers
and exhibits, it is a social gathering where you meet people who
are a lot like you. You meet strangers and old friends. Walking
the halls I felt like I was in an airport: people would approach
from different directions, recognize each other, and exchange hearty
handshakes. There is even a message board in the South Lobby for
facilitating such get-togethers. Messages are posted there, filed
alphabetically, written in different languages.
After things seemed
to be winding down at the convention center I went to the 14th Sake
Barrel party and wrote a story about that. Afterwards I went back
to the Hotel Figueroa where I was staying. I saw a lot of SIGGRAPH-types
hanging out at the pool and cruising the bar. This certainly is
a friendly and sociable convention.
I saw the Electronic
Theater Monday night and it floored me. First of all the venue was
fabulous. The Shrine Auditorium was lavish and classy. And the animations
were tremendous. I imagine that the creators of the 47 works accepted
into the prestigious Electronic Theater felt really proud to see
their animations up on the big screen. I think it is great that
SIGGRAPH supports these animations because this is stuff you can't
see anywhere else.