interviewed 31 July 2004 by Tai-San Choo
Chris is chair of the Computer Animation Festival for SIGGRAPH 2004. He is currently an Associate Professor of Computer Science at NYU's Courant Institute and Media Research Lab. He founded the Stanford Movement Group, and the NYU Movement Group, which does research in Vision and Graphics with a focus on Motion Capture, Animation, Interactive Techniques, and Applications to Entertainment, Art, and Medicine.
|What first drew you to computer graphics?
||I grew up in Germany, and saw this great TV documentary (in 1983) about the graphics lab at Stanford University. (The hottest thing then was "ray-tracing".) I always dreamed about moving to California and working and such a lab. I decided to enroll as an Undergraduate at Karlsruhe University (in Germany) and wanted to do Computer Animation. But then I got side-tracked to do computer vision for the next 10 years, mainly during my PhD at Berkeley. But eventually I switched to graphics, when I worked at Interval Research in Palo Alto, and later joined the faculty at Stanford.
|Do you have any favorite computer graphics mentors?
||Pat Hanrahan. I knew all his work, and at Stanford, he became actually my mentor then.
|What was the first time you contributed to SIGGRAPH?
||1997. We published a Paper on a photo-realistic facial animation technique, called Video Rewrite.
|What year/city was your first SIGGRAPH? Which was most intense? Why?
||1997/LA. I was just blown away. I went to a lot of other conferences
before, but nothing was as big, and as flashy, and fun as SIGGRAPH. Of course the Electronic Theatre was the most exciting thing :) and a lot of
fun parties. I remembered Paul Haeberli and others threw this fun party, called "Fiat Lux".
|What contributions to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of?
||2 Papers. The 1997 Video Rewrite paper, and a paper in 2002, called "Motion Capturing Cartoons."
|What's your favorite thing at this year or last year's SIGGRAPH?
||This year I don't know yet, but I'm looking forward to see some cool stuff at Emerging Technologies. Last year I also had a lot of fun at the Emerging Technologies.
|What near/intermediate developments in CG do you look forward to?
||Synthetic Creatures. The technology around that has made big leaps over the past few years. Mainly new rendering and (motion)capture techniques have pushed it into a level of quality, that even the main characters in feature films can be done fully computer rendered and animated.