s
Share This Page o

Spend a Week at SIGGRAPH Student Feedback 2008

Below is the feedback from the students who attended SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles through the Spend a Week at SIGGRAPH program. The ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Pioneers sponsored the students.

We've removed the students’ and mentors’ names, and reformatted the text for consistency.

All content, grammar and spelling are directly from each student.


I was sold the first time I heard about it.

Siggraph was the conference that contained everything I could ever hope for in the realm of the digital arts. After years of researching and gathering knowledge about subjects in this area, it was a fantastic opportunity to hear from those who use this technology in their everyday lives. Siggraph not only pleased me, but it exceeded my expectations. In my time there, it really became the experience of my lifetime.

I visited the conference for two days, on August 12 and 13, 2008. In those two days, I attended four presentations, one of which was a class. The rest of my time was spent in the Exhibition Hall, exploring the innovations of tomorrow. I was extremely surprised at how viewer-friendly the presenters were. There were only a few occasions that I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but for the most part, they kept my complete attention throughout the entire presentation. The friendliness combined with the knowledge and expertise of these artists and filmmakers made my experience at Siggraph as enjoyable as possible.

I’m an aspiring filmmaker, but have never explored the realm of 3D animation. This made Siggraph an insight into a completely new realm of filmmaking for me. I attended three programs focusing on this domain: “Introduction to 3D Graphics: The Big Picture”, “The Making of Big Buck Bunny: An Open-Source Evolution”, and “Particle Man.” The technology and tools shown in these presentations were completely new to me. I enjoyed how the presenter in “Introduction to 3D Graphics” catered to those who didn’t have prior experience in 3D animation. I also learned that 3D animation is a lot more complicated than I had previously believed. I never knew that most 3D objects are modeled out of basic shapes, such as cubes, spheres, and other prisms. I also witnessed the power of the open-source program Blender. I’ve seen Blender animations before, but “Big Buck Bunny” was by far, the best of them all. I believe the reason for this is because the creators decided to modify the original Blender software to their needs in order to produce the best results. In “Particle Man”, I was shown how detailed 3D modeling can get, down to the smallest particles that you see on screen in a movie. Although this presentation was good, the presenters talked a little too fast and it was hard to comprehend everything that was being said. Overall, I enjoyed what this presentation and all the others had to offer. I certainly know more about 3D animation than I did when I arrived.

Of all the programs that I attended, my favorite was “Animated 3D Cinema: Imaginary Worlds Brought to Life.” I’ve always been a fan of 3D, and have been researching the relatively new technology of stereoscopic polarized 3D over the past few years. I was very excited to see this presentation once I had seen it in the Siggraph program. I was pleased to see that more and more companies are starting to move 3D into the mainstream of filmmaking, away from its previously (deserved) reputation as just another cheesy film gimmick. With the advent of polarized filters and glasses, watching a 3D movie is much more enjoyable and relaxing than its anaglyph predecessor. My ultimate hope is that more and more studios start adopting this technology in not only their animated features, but also in their live action films. Likewise, my hope for 3D enthusiasts is to improve upon this technology to make it better and better for the future. This presentation was my favorite for several reasons, but mostly because this is a technology that is evolving now and will see itself used quite often over the next few years.

I’ve always had the dream of becoming a filmmaker, possibly an editor. However, Siggraph opened my eyes to an entirely new type of arena for movies. If I had the choice to have a profession in one of the areas, I would be an animator. I’ve previously experimented with standard stop motion animation, and doing it within a computer looked very similar, just with digital tools as a substitute. I don’t know if I will further pursue 3D graphics as a career, but it has inspired me to experiment with the tools available right now. If I have the opportunity, I would love to attend Siggraph the next time it comes to Los Angeles. It was a wonderful experience worth doing again.


A Teen’s Eye View of the SIGGRAPH ’08 Conference

On my first day of attending the SIGGRAPH 2008 Conference I got lost and could not find the entrance. My dad dropped me off on the corner of the convention center. But because it was so huge, I could not find the entrance. Finally, I asked someone and they directed me towards the entrance. It amazed me that there were so many people from all over the world attending the conference. I realized that this was a big deal and how lucky I was to be there. Next I was signed up and looked around for my teacher who I would meet with instead of my mentor. I was excited to see all the different things. My teacher arrived and took me around for a while and got me started.

The first thing I did was pick up my merchandise, which contained a shirt, DVD, glass mug, program & buyer’s guide, and a map. After that, I went to the High Dynamic Range Imaging for Artists class. It was difficult to understand since I didn’t understand the terminology. However, I did learn that this technology was a big secret in Hollywood. But now it may be learned with the HDRI handbook and DVD. The next class I went to was Massive Model Visualization Techniques. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. They talked about rendering techniques and basic knowledge of computer graphics. I wished they would have shown with computer imaging how huge models are made.

On the way to see Digital Cinematography Techniques (DCT), I stopped by the Geek Bar to see a talking robot, which I thought, was cool. When I finally made it to DCT they were talking about “Indiana Jones IV” and how they mixed live action with computer generated images and created new environments. One scene that they showed was where a Nazi was getting eaten by killer ants--- which I thought was interesting. They showed how they created it step by step. The last class I went to before lunch was Advances in Real Time Rendering in 3D Graphics and Games. I got to see footage of a game. They also showed how the game engine worked, which was like the core or the heart of the game and how it functions. After that I went to lunch and came back in time to hear Edwin Catmull, the President of Pixar, speak. Before he got up to speak they gave out awards to various people. His speech began with him talking about the beginning of Pixar. He went over the process and the time it takes to make films such as, “Toy Story”, “A Bugs Life” and “Cars”. The part I appreciated the most was when he spoke about people and ideas and how they needed to coexist with each other. That got me thinking and I realized that there is more to graphic art than just images.

The next day I met with my mentor. He took me around for awhile to show me some of the exhibits. Later, I went off on my own to see as many exhibits as I could. One exhibit I liked had a software called Maya that is used to create CGI. I liked how it worked because it made it seem so simple, and yet it came out with such great graphics. Another terrific exhibit had you put on a sensor suit and it simulated you getting stabbed by a sword and displayed it on a screen. I tried it and it was a blast! I thought it was a lot of fun. I really had a fantastic time at SIGGRAPH ’08 and learned a great deal about graphics and how complex they are.


SIGGRAPH Reflection

SIGGRAPH 2008 was a wonderful once in a lifetime experience that I enjoyed greatly. From the get go, my first day at SIGGRAPH 08 turned out to be a very interesting day. Not only did I have to wake up at five a.m. to catch the Metro Link, but my train was twenty minutes late because the police boarded our train. The conflict was soon over and I was on my way to the Los Angeles Convention Center.

As soon as I arrived at the convention center, I realized what a wonderful event SIGGRAPH 08 was going to be. Immediately I got into the check in line to register. At first I didn’t have my ID, but luckily I found a paper with my information and received all of my passes.

After the registration process I gladly met my temporary mentor because my actual mentor wasn’t arriving until the next day. To my surprise and admiration, I found out my temporary mentor worked for Boeing. After we introduced ourselves, he guided me to the Merchandise Pickup Center to get my free souvenirs from SIGGRAPH. I thought it was really neat that SIGGRAPH presented me with these gifts to always remember my experience.

Next my mentor guided me to the first class where he dropped me off called “How to Attend SIGGRAPH 2008.” I thought it would be a good idea to sit up front so I could hear all of the important information. As soon as I sat down I noticed I began to get a bloody nose. It was quite embarrassing. I rushed out to the bathroom to get washed up. Even though I got the worst bloody nose I have ever had with blood on my shirt, I did not let it ruin my day. As soon as I finished washing up I returned to sit in my first class. The class basically consisted of information that explained what SIGGRAPH was about. It helped ease some of my fears and left me feeling less intimidated. I felt more prepared and ready to explore SIGGRAPH. It’s a great class to take if you’re a first time attendee.

The “How to Attend SIGGRAPH 2008” was very helpful. After the class I decided to walk around and get the feel of things on my own. I noticed a neat talking robot near one of the lounges. I was amazed because I have seen cars that talk when opening their doors, but to see a robot interact with people was truly amazing.

After my walk I decided to look in my program for more destinations. I was glad to see SIGGRAPH had a bookstore. Being the big Star Wars fan that I am, I was very satisfied to see there was a grand collection of Star Wars books. I saw everything from how Star Wars was made, to simple tricks used to make the movie. By reading some of the books I learned that George Lucas was inspired to make Star Wars from the Flash Gordon Serial classics, westerns, and mythical creatures. Some of the pictures in the books really made me feel like I was right on set during the movie making process. To be honest, I did not want to leave the store. I was hooked on learning all of the information about Star Wars I could.

Sadly I knew I had to move on. I thought it would be a good idea to check out the Art and Design Galleries next. I was not disappointed because there were so many never before seen works of art and gadgets. I noticed all the videos on the Mac computers and took interest in watching them. There were so many eye catching works of art in the gallery. One work of art that really caught my eye was a video game that looked almost like a WII, only it followed more of your body’s movements and was more technologically advanced. By continuing my walk through the galleries of paintings and sculptures I could really see all the hard work and effort many people put into their masterpieces. Many of them really spoke to me and I could feel the artist’s emotions. It was truly amazing.

Next I thought it would be a nice time to grab a bite to eat. I headed to the Starbucks for a snack. I was exhausted and realized the time and I needed to catch my train back home. Sadly it was time to say goodbye to SIGGRAPH 2008 for now. I learned so many new things from this fruitful experience. I want to thank everybody who made my trip to SIGGRAPH possible. SIGGRAPH 2008 was truly unforgettable and I highly recommend SIGGRAPH 2009 to its future attendees.


There was so much to see but just enough time.

SIGGRAGH was a great experience for me and I will cherish it for life. I had a great mentor that showed us all around and even helped us get our first contacts in the world of technology.

At firs I felt completely lost in the crowd at the LA convention and going into demo rooms that went on about such complex math used to just shade a video game. Suddenly felt out of lace, but all I know was that I had a passion for this sort of stuff, even if I didn’t understand most of it.

With that said, I did get the hang of SIGGRAGH, and started to understand some of the wacky terminology. I didn’t get much out of the demo/instructor rooms, but I found myself, and a friend I met there, leading towards the center of the center (where they showed off all the gismos and gadgets that students thought up).

There were pillows that would take you through dreams, and devices that would simulate such real realities in site, sound and touch! A ball game that was transformed into a video game and games that were made from what you make on a lit up stand. The most shocking of all though, and I don’t mean this in a good way, was called ants in the pants. It consisted of a glove that you put on and a table with an image of ground and bugs that you were supposed to put your gloved hand on. The moment you touch the screen of the table, whatever bugs that were around would rush to your hang. All of a sudden, you feel the tiny insects scurrying up your glove. It was so realistic that I had to shake them off! Once I did though, they fell back to the screen and splattered across the table!

At last the second day had come, and with it the booth section opened. This was were all the tech companies and schools planned to show off their stuff at a booth they had put together. The most impressive thing there, by fare, was a huge cage like sphere with a single seat in the middle. The machine takes a real world object and makes realistically 3d. What’s that you say? That’s already been done? Well of course it has, video games have been using similar technology to take thousands of pictures of an object or person at every different angle and then map them together in virtual worlds. Unfortunately, this machine was costly because of all the cameras, and it took about a day to complete one object. But unlike these machines, this one used mirrors. There was one camera instead of several and having the mirrors lined up perfectly, ant the one camera at the right angle to take the perfect picture. The result was flawless, even texture was captured and all under three minutes.

Another great thing was at the Sony booth. They had made a new type of HD that instead of using pixels in the 1000 range like normal HD, it displayed pixels in the 4000 range! Now this took a lot of power and some crazy good hardware, so the only hope for selling this was to the theaters.

As awesome as SIGGRAGH was, I it was over as quick as it started. I learned a lot about the technology industry and the schooling needed to get into it as well getting to try some really cool new stuff out!


My week at Siggraph was beyond what I could have ever imagined.

Not only was it a true gift and privilege to be able to go and learn from true professionals, it was also a great way to learn about the technology offered to our current generation. I learned more about CGI then I thought I knew.

Through the week I listened in on a conference discussing the process of 3D animation. Such as the steps and how many there are in creating the illusion of a three dimensional object and/or person. For example, I learned that a realistic image cannot be executed if the 3d scope is not positioned exactly within inches of the object, any farther and it creates hollow patches, and sometimes it causes stress to the eyes. It takes careful math and science to create an accurate 3D film that is pleasing to the audiences eyes.

Its amazing how far technology has taken us in the entertainment business and the difficulty that comes with a simple CGI film. One thing I certainly have learned from all of this is that any film that is made in 3D of CGI is not easy in the least bit. THere is alot of time, effort and creativity that goes into every single feature length film today.

My experience at SIGGRAPH was everything I was hoping it to be. Because SIGGRAPH is the world’s largest annual computer graphics convention, I knew there would be countless people, activities, talks, and events - and I was right. In fact, there was so much to do that I didn’t even get to experience all of it in the limited time that I had. However, I definitely had enough time to learn a huge amount about newer graphics programs, different colleges, and how companies manage their graphics teams. Overall, SIGGRAPH has been for me a portal to view what my life will be like five, ten, and twenty years from now.

I was glad to be able to talk to not only companies that focus primarily on graphics, but larger companies with a small graphics division as well. This has given me insight on the types of organizations I could be working for years from now; I was able to consider my favorite types of graphic arts and determine what type of company I would like to work for in the future. This was particularly useful for me because I am still very flexible when it comes to the types of graphics I want to be involved in as an adult. The Studio gave me a hands-on experience with different tools and programs I was using for the first time, giving me a feel for different types of graphics including drawing by hand, advanced 3D modeling, and animation. To dive into more of the professional side, I attended a few developer talks to understand what some individuals are really doing to enhance the world of computer graphics. The combined experience - learning from companies, attending talk sessions, and experiencing the programs myself - has really taught me a lot.

I’ve always been unsure about what different graphics and art colleges would be like, including the differences between them, the types of courses they offer, and the requirements for being accepted. At SIGGRAPH, I was really able to seize the chance to talk to many different representatives of colleges all over the country. I learned that I am able to pursue either the fine arts or take a more technical approach and work for commercial companies. I’ve been into 2D animation for several years, but I learned that most colleges actually want to see drawing ability in the kids who enroll. So as soon as I got home, I signed up for a drawing class and I know that drawing is something I really need to practice. Without SIGGRAPH, my choice of where to go after high school would have been very narrow.

SIGGRAPH has really helped me prepare for what my life will be in the future. Because I got the chance to take a look at different types of companies, I was able to see different ways to apply my talent in computer graphics in the future. I was also able to try new tools and programs to get a feel for them. I also took a look at what professional developers are doing in the world of computer graphics. Probably most importantly, though, I had the chance to talk to all kinds of different art schools and their requirements for admission. SIGGRAPH has really helped me on this front, as I felt I had almost no chance of getting into a good college previously; SIGGRAPH has put me back on the right track. As a hobbyist looking for a future career, SIGGRAPH essentially gave me a path to walk on, which is what I really needed most for my future.


Siggraph was an amazing experience, driven by education, imagination, and exploration by the new, and by the bold, smart, and creative.

My time at Siggraph has conjured a storm in my head that can’t wait to explode of new ideas and thoughts about the possibilities of the digital world. I am a junior in high school, with many different routes available to take for my future. Siggraph enabled a great introduction to the new age of the digital life. As a hard core gamer, I was fascinated to know how they made the video games I played so “real.”

I found myself at Siggraph registration, surrounded by this environment of mathematical equations showcasing lighting effects and putty playing at the Stop Motion booth in The Studio. Siggraph had it all! When I arrived, my step dad and I where greeted by my mentor and a few other teenagers and adults. My mentor let my step dad and I spread our wings and explore exciting classes, talks, and exhibits.

Snother student around my age joined my step dad and I to visit the How to Attend Siggraph Talk. We learned much there. We then decied to attend the art exhibition and the new tech areas. We experienced the unthinkable, like the Dream Pillow, and we checked out the happening new technology in new tech, such as Ants In The Pants. Later that day we were lucky to grab good seats in the Ed Catmull talk. Ed is a true inspiration to us!

The next day, Josh and I meet with his mentor and toured the exhibition featuring all of the main computer and technology companies suck as Sony and Intel. The mentor introduced us to many colleges that had big roles in the digital arts, such as Cogswell Polytechnical College. Brad introduced us to the people of T Splines, and I got to experience what people can do with digital technology and the benefits it holds. Later Brad left Josh and I to explore all the colleges and booths with all of the new ideas and technology they had Sto offer.

Something that really caught my eye was the Fire Pro booth with there new graphics card which combined CPU and GPU to make programs run faster. A booth displaying a Demo of a game using spherical harmonics lighting was an exciting insight & a key reference to the lighting effects of a popular title, Halo3.

Later that day we visited the studio which had a lot of programs to play around with. It was like a playground for the new generation! A sign caught my eye that was titled “STOP MOTION. A woman greeted me with a welcoming smile and said, “would you like to have some stop motion fun”? Excited, I sat down and she guided me through stop motion with open arms. As time went by I had created a short movie of one-hundred and ten slides. Very proud of my learning of the process and the making of my animation, I sent it to my email to show my family.

Siggraph was influential. It is definitely the place to be for learning new and exciting technology, meeting new people interested in the same advanced ideas, and above, all having a blast!


My experience at the Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques was, to say the least, an enjoyable one.

SIGGRAPH was a firsthand professional look into the computer animation industry, that not many people my age were lucky enough to experience.

Monday, August 11, my first day in LA, I decided to visit a class called Advances in Real-Time Rendering in 3D Graphics and Games. The concept sounded quite advanced, but the word “games” was enough to draw me in, despite the slight intimidation. The class covered a series of topics on techniques in state-of-the-art rendering in video games, something I am deeply passionate about. The introduction by Natalya Tatarchuk, a speaker from the AMD Corporation, let me understand the level of professionalism of the class, and the entire expo. Nevertheless, I decided I should stay for the whole class. Presentations by representatives of Bungie Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, and Crytek GmbH, gave a great course of the techniques they used in Halo 3, Starcraft II, and Crysis respectively. This was the first and last class I attended, as most of the topics went clear over my head as I watched the pretty pictures on the screen.

My second day at SIGGRAPH, and spontaneously throughout the week, I explored the large exhibition floor. Many companies I am familiar with such as AMD, Intel, Activision, Deviantart, Lenovo, and iZ3D had booths, large and small. Activision’s Guitar Hero III demo area quickly called my attention. After acquiring my official title of “Rock God”, I made my way to Deviantart’s booth, where I used Corel Paint software together with a Wacom tablet to create some decent digital sketches. I use the term “decent” very loosely. One of my favorite booths was from a company called iZ3d, a manufacturer of three-dimensional computer monitors for gamers and CG artists. I enjoyed a round of Unreal Tournament 3 sporting my super-cool 3D glasses. Although I looked stupid, the game did not.

My favorite part of SIGGRAPH ’08 was the New Tech area. These small booths demonstrated emerging technology, which could be applied to computer graphics and animation, and many other fields. The ZCam booth especially caught my attention. The ZCam is a camera that captures 3-dimensional images. This means that video games can be played simply by standing in front of the camera, no wires, and no limitations. Using body movements alone, you can play interactive games such as boxing and golf.

When my teacher offered me this trip, I knew that an opportunity like this would not come again, and I’m glad to say that at 17 years old, I was a SIGGRAPH 2008 attendee.


I was recently chosen to attend Siggraph because of my art skills at school.

The annual conference for graphic designers and computer animation workers was held August 11th-14th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It was a five-day conference that featured many speakers, panels, and a huge exhibit hall. I attended Monday through Thursday, gladly traveling the long commute into Los Angeles just so I could get a glimpse at the technical arts. This conference turned out to be something I never would have expected.

When I arrived at Siggraph, I was not expecting to see such intricate and elaborate pieces of technical art—especially not robots! What strikes me as the most memorable was getting to play with an adorable little “baby” robot. It had motion sensors all over its body, so that when you pressed one spot it would respond with a specific movement. Sometimes it would even laugh and giggle! It would memorize all your movements and act it out again for you when you were done. If you stopped playing with one, while the other was still being used, it would start to copy the other because it was “lonely” and craved attention.

Amazing robotics aside, I was really excited to get to learn about the CG work behind some of my favorite films like Ironman and Cloverfield. I found out their work is a LOT more complicated than I could ever imagine! I was actually shocked to see just how insanely technical computer animation is.

I made sure to attend all three featured speaker panels, and in retrospect I am very glad that I did! Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Studios and President of Disney and Pixar, delivered a speech I will not soon forget. I specifically remember him talking about when all of the artists would get together every day and show their recent sketches, and they would critique each others’ work and ideas. He said that, while this may be embarrassing and stressful, it was also necessary to be able to grow into more suitable ideas. I wished I could have gotten to see what one of these sessions would be like, as I know very well that it can be tough to take critique, but it is also the key to improvement.

I have to say, my favorite part of this conference was getting to work with and learn about my mentor—or rather, mentors! On the first day I got to briefly meet another mentor, a friendly and funny man who had been attending Siggraph for over twenty years. He taught me a little about how to work with the very busy schedule and what I should expect to see and experience over the days I am there. Later I got to meet up with my mentor. Before we even met in person, she told me about how I was going to get to learn about what goes on behind the scenes of Siggraph! Together we ventured into the heart of Siggraph, where she introduced me to some of her friends, taught me a little about the panels she would be holding, and showed me what it was like to be a speaker. On my last day, she even took me up to the third level of the convention center and let me check out the view over the whole Exhibition hall, where I also got to meet some higher ups in the Siggraph community.

Back to the more public side of Siggraph, my mentor was very keen on finding the right art and animation booths for me. Thanks to my mentor, I learned a bit about job opportunities, how to apply for them, and I even gained some tips for submitting my portfolio! What I enjoyed the most out of this was getting to show her my own personal art gallery on the internet, and I was very pleased to see that she liked my work. All this, and I’m not even including our candy hunts in the Exhibition hall (she knows just where to find all the good treats)!


My science teacher recommended that I go to SIGGRAPH this year.

I had no idea what this was, or what it would do for me. At that time, I knew that I wanted to be in the fully animated 3D film industry; what specifically, I had no idea. We talked about it and she decided to recommend me to your wonderful group: the Pioneers. Initially, I was skeptical about going; however, I eventually came around and made up my mind to go. To state it simply: I am so glad I went.

My favorite part about SIGGRAPH was the Animation Festival. Teams from all around the world came together to participate in this wonderful competition. While watching their films, I started to pick up bits and pieces of tricks and techniques that apply to creating these films. On the final day of the festival, I felt much more knowledgeable of animation simply by watching films.

The Festival talks were very informative as well. I learned lot's of new data on how to use Blender. I use this program to model and animate, and the new data was very much needed and useful. I also learned more about the entire field of animation.

Then there were the actual classes. While some of them were over my head, I was glad I attended them. Not only did I gain information; albeit vague information, but I also was able to pick up the general technical subjects I would have to learn to succeed in the industry.

The exhibition was a great time. Having all the booths and demos there was very exciting. There was an atmosphere of intelligence and aesthetics pervading throughout the entire room. It was such a good feeling that I spent at least a few hours there every day. One of my favorite the booths there: Art Institutes was a lot of fun to be around. On Tuesday, I had a great time listening to one of the technical supervisors from Area51 Creative. He enlightened me as to the standards of the industry and what I need to improve at. The Art Wars competitions were a lot of fun to watch. Not only did I get to see some great artists and art, but also I learned more about the technical aspects of the computer art industry; it was very helpful.

This convention has assisted me in more ways that can be counted. As I mentioned previously, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do in the 3D film industry. I realized at SIGGRAPH exactly what I wanted to do (character animation). If I hadn't attended this, I would still be stuck vaguely wanting to do something in 3D film; now I have a clear purpose and goal and can work hard to achieve that. Thank you to all who put on this wonderful event. A special thank you to the Pioneers, without whom, I would never have gotten on the path I wanted to be on.


I learned A LOT at the Siggraph convention this year and it was truly an honor to be able to participate in such a wonderful event.

For example, animators and graphic artists create the sceneries, worlds, and levels where gamers will explore as Master Chief. They can work in 2D and 3D models, depending on the need of the project.

The epic nature of a game like Halo 3 is largely built on the storyline, thanks to a writer toiling away at the beginning of the whole project. While writers obviously craft the dialogue and story arcs, they also can create the technical documentation, generate user manuals, and post weekly updates.

Also realized, recent developments in computer and communication hardware have given many people access to powerful computers, in the form of desktops, laptops, and embedded systems. It is time to give these users more control over their computers through education and supporting software. If users have a general understanding of computers at the level of software design and implementation, this will cause a massive surge in productivity and creativity, with a far-ranging impact that can barely be anticipated or imagined.

On a shorter term, the quantity and quality of available computer software will improve drastically, as the imagination and labor of millions is applied to the problem. Inventive users will be able to improve the software that supports them in their tasks, and share their improvements with their colleagues or--via the Internet--with others far away who are faced with the same tasks and problems. The ability to modify or customize software is important in crisis situations, when experts cannot be appealed to for help. It is also important for day-to-day activities: The number of unfilled programming jobs is currently estimated by some at 200,000 to 400,000.

Lastly when I was learning about Computer Animation Motion picture special effects have been used since the beginning of the medium, with the early experiments of Georges MTliFs in France showing ways in which the new medium could be utilized to create images of things that seem to be happening but that in fact never happened at all. Special effects in recent years have taken a quantum leap forward with the advent of computer techniques to improve the use of established techniques of image processing and the use of traveling mattes and to initiate entirely new possibilities for such new effects as morphing and computer animation. Digital processing is clearly the wave of the future, and the wonders it has wrought already in films like Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, and True Lies are only the beginning. Computer animation techniques are being improved all the time, and the goal for many seems to be creating a film without actors or sets, a film made up entirely of computer-generated images. This is probably a distant dream but its fruition seems to be coming closer every day.

The rapidity of change in this field is remarkable. An effects house called MetroLight won special visual effects Academy Award four years ago for work done for Total Recall, where the effects house created an animated X-ray version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The senior technical director for the house says now that today they would not even consider doing this in the same way.

Overall, I learned a lot. I even got the chance to learn about subjects I never even dreamed I would ever want to study. For example, computer animation something I never thought I would be interested in I became very interested in it.


The first day of Siggraph was a little overwhelming.

I had no idea what I was in for, I had no idea what to expect. I had an expectation of what the convention was about because the teacher told us what to expect but I didn’t know what was really going on at the convention. Also my mentor wasn’t going to be there till later on in the day. So I felt alone in a big new place.

However soon after, I meet up with the rest of the students from my school. I wasn’t as bad as I had thought it to be. Soon after, I meet with my mentor. We introduced ourselves to each other and started out on our way to the convention. The first place I went was to the exhibition area. There I saw a large variety of things that not only had to do with design but also mathematics. For example, I saw sculptures that looked as if they had been made by hand, but they were actually made by 3D printers. The printers could produced an object after an mathematical equation was entered in. I also saw a new kind of printer that no longer uses ink cartridges, it uses actual blocks of ink, similar to a crayon. It then prints the ink onto the paper. It is also a lot better for the environment because when you finish with the ink it completely dissolves leaving no waste, not to mention the picture comes out in excellent quality.

At the convention there were also smaller seminars going on, called “talks”, I attended one with my mentor. The talk focused on the role of graphic design in such films as Cloverfield and Iron Man.It was very interesting to see how big of a role the graphic designers play in the film making process. They showed us step by step how they came up with rough drafts of characters and other special effects.

On the second day of the convention the other half of the exhibition hall opened. And there was a lot of new things to see. I saw a lot of different graphic design schools that looked extremely interesting. That really gave me a great idea of all the different schools I could possibly attend. I also learned about a lot different computer programs that have been developed to help artists create more life like images.

Aside from learning about technological advances I had the privilege of getting to know my mentor. He was a really down to earth all around nice guy. He told me about where he went to school and what he majored in and also told me a little bit about his family.

Siggraph was a definitely a good experience for me. I got an idea of an entire field of work just waiting to be explored. And if I could go again I would. It was worth the early morning train rides. I enjoyed it so much, thank you greatly for the opportunity to attend Siggraph.


The SIGGRAPH 2008 conference was truly amazing.

When I walked into the very spacious L.A. Convention Center and saw so many things going on, I quickly realized how big of an event this was. There were so many different things going on at the same time that I could only hope to soak it all in and create the best experience possible. On that first day that we were all supposed to gather and meet our mentors, I quickly felt so grateful for the opportunity that had placed itself in front of me. Once I met my mentor and quickly jotted out a schedule of activities to attend, I couldn’t wait to go to my first activity!

Since I was unfamiliar with where everything was located, my mentor guided me to where my first activity of the day was. My first activity of the day was a class that was titled, “3D Primer: The Fundamentals of Stereoscopy From Acquisition to Projection.” When I had reached the door of my class I was quickly handed a pair of 3D glasses, and took a seat with great anticipation. I wasn’t really 100% sure what I was going to learn at the time, but once the class started and one of the speakers started explaining everything, I quickly started to pick up what he was talking about. I learned about how 3D movies are shot to give that lifelike effect that we all love, and also how movie producers can make it seem as if an object in a movie is so close that it is within grabbing distance. The class was a great learning experience, and I left with valuable knowledge that might be of use later in life. After my 3D class, I walked into the unfinished Exhibition Hall and looked at some of the slow art and new technology. The new technology absolutely blew me away, and I even got to test out some of the new technology. One of the new technological inventions even simulated the feeling of being stabbed! After having the feeling of my belly being pierced, I decided to call it a day and headed home.

When I returned for my second day back to SIGGRAPH 2008, I felt just as excited as I did on my first day seeing everything for the very first time. Luckily, I had the first day to figure out where all the halls were, and this time it was much easier to navigate around the L.A. Convention Center. The first thing I did was take advantage of my Computer Festival Pass, and sat down on a festival talk about an animation called Oktapodi. The creators of Oktapodi sat down, and discussed the process of creating their funny and captivating animation. They shared their hardships and their challenges after showing us an exclusive animation clip of Oktapodi. The class was very interesting, and it made me excited for when I would get to see the Animation Festival Competition in the Nokia Theatre, but before that, I headed over to the completed Exhibition Hall. The completed Exhibition Hall was incredibly large, and while I was confused and got lost I managed to find my way over to a place where I got to test the new Star Wars game that hasn’t come out yet. I also tested out another new technological invention while I was there, and actually got to control robot arms with just the slight motion of my arms and fingers. It is truly mind blowing to think about how technology has advanced in such a short time. After playing with the robotic arms, I took a long walk to the Nokia Theatre and grabbed my seat. I sat through around two hours of amazing animations. Some of them were fun little animations that made me laugh, and others made me widen my eyes. The Animation Festival Competition was one of the highlights of my time spent at SIGGRAPH 2008.

Before SIGGRAPH 2008, I had never been to conference quite like this. Everything I saw and learned was new for me, and I felt like a little kid trying something exciting and new for the first time. My experiences at SIGGRAPH 2008 are ones I will never forget, and have left a lasting impression on me. Now I can also see why people fall in love with the world of animation and technology. I was really lucky to get a chance to take in as much of the conference as I could for free, and if I had the chance, I would love to do it all over again.


Attending Siggraph has been a positive learning experience for me.

I found it interesting that computer graphics affects more aspects of everyday life than I had previously thought. Over the course of Siggraph, I attended several talks and classes that helped me to understand what computer graphics is all about.

On Tuesday I attended the computer animation festival on 3D graphics used in movies. I found it interesting to note that many more animated movies will be 3D in the future. I also learned about stereoscopic technology. Stereoscopic imaging gives the perception of depth in a two-dimensional image by presenting a slightly different image to each eye. During the talk I saw clips from 3D movies such as Monsters vs. Aliens and Bolt. Many animation companies are using 3D as a method of telling a story in greater detail. I also learned about movies that use motion capture technology such as Beowulf. Motion capturing describes the process of recording movement and translating the movement onto a digital model.

After the computer animation festival, my friend and I attended a computer graphics class. I helped me to understand how a scene was created. The instructor made a virtual satellite on Auto Desk and set it to orbit around a planet, while narrowly avoiding a teapot. First he created the satellite by making a sphere and two rectangles. The he added a background, a planet, and lighting. Then he gave the satellite a path to follow, which curved around a teapot. He then rendered and played it. I was surprised to learn that a simple animated short could be made relatively easily. Because I attended this class, I believe that I am prepared to try animation programs such as Auto Desk.

On Wednesday, my friend and I attended a class on the making of “Big Buck Bunny”. From this presentation I learned about open-source animation systems such as Blender. I also learned about the process used to create a detailed 3D movie. Although it was far more complex than the satellite scene from the day before, it seemed to have a similar process. The process includes models, shade unwrap, texture, rigging, lighting render composition, edit, and export.

The last presentation we attended was on particles. It discussed the implementing of particles in movies. It was difficult to understand since it involved advanced math. I did understand that particles were used to simulate 3D special effects like clouds, gas, snow, and dust.

One of the other notable events at Siggraph was FJORG. I noticed a big difference in the progress of the animations from day one too day two. Because I attended several talks and classes on computer animation, I know that it took a lot of effort to make them. I also spent some time at the technology exposition viewing new technologies. I was particularly interested in immersive environment and haptic feedback technology. An immersive environment is an artificial, interactive, and computer-created scene or world in which a user can directly interact with the environment. Haptic technology refers to technology which provides the user with the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions.

Overall, I learned a lot about computer graphics and new technology from Siggraph and I am glad I chose to attend.


My experience in Siggraph 2008 was most certainly an enjoyable not to mention educational one.

Upon my first day of arrival I attended a class on real time rendering in 3d applications which showed examples of lighting and compression techniques used in games such as Halo 3 or Starcraft two. It was a great chance for a gamer like me to gather some knowledge about how a game like that comes together from harsh looking models to a beautiful masterpiece of lighting and bump maps. I later attended a class while on the subject of dynamic water. For years water in 3d applications has been pre-pathed to a certain destination and it brought great pleasure to me to finally see more work on dynamic water than can be moved, picked up, and poured without it ever doing the same thing twice.

It would be hard for me to pin exactly what my most favorite thing was so I'll have to name a few.

First off, upon the opening of the exhibition hall I immediately sat down at a booth where they were demonstrating a virtual camera of sorts used to replace a static camera in things such as 3d animations like Beowulf. One person would be holding a camera and strips on the overhang above him would pick up his movement and turn that into a way for the computer to change viewpoints in the 3d app. I would watch as the model he was tracking moved and he could walk right behind it in real life as if actually in the 3d world with him on scene recording. It was quite an amazing piece of technology.

After leaving this booth I found myself waiting in line for a new type of mouse. It was a magnetically levitated mouse with such precise control that there was talk of possible surgical use in the near future. The demo's included with this showed just how exactly precise and groundbreaking it was. You could move the cursor over a texture that looked like sandpaper and the feedback it sent to the mouse made you feel like you were actually rubbing the sand paper. This was also quite a treat and I hope someday that I will get the chance to try out this machine again.

Finally the most exciting thing for me was just being able to attend such a magnificent conference. Never before have I had the opportunity to attend a convention completely dedicated to computers and graphics where I knew everyone was just as big a nerd as I am. I thank everyone that made me going possible and I would like to give special thanks to my mentor of the week for showing me through the classes of Siggraph that he thought would interest me most based on our conversations together. And the time that we had to simply talk about graphics and computing.

Since I first got my hands on a video game I always wanted to one day be able to help produce a video game. Siggraph gave me a real look in to how much work goes in to producing games... lighting, modeling, textures, physics, and so on. While at Siggraph I actually was given the opportunity at a internship for a company by the name of Imagi studios. Imagi studios is best known for their model work in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. This seems like a big opportunity to me seeing as how i currently have no connections in the game production world worth mention. I would most certainly say that Siggraph has increased my interest in game design ten fold. I hope at some point in the near future to be graduate high school and then from there i can decide on a school. And if things go as planned i will be attending a school for digital arts.