1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I currently work as a lecturer at Loughborough University in the UK. I have been in this role for two years. My research is motivated by a desire to create effective 3D environments and human-computer interfaces. This has led me developing an interest in the ways in which human perception can be exploited to create compelling graphics. Towards this aim, my work has spanned a diverse range of areas including computational photography, 3D reconstruction/imaging, visual perception, real-time/massive-model rendering, collaborative virtual reality, haptic interaction, and physically based modelling. My current research projects centre on creating relightable buildings from images and material appearance recovery.
2. What was your first job?
My first job was at The University of Manchester where I worked as a postdoctoral researcher for over 10 years.
3. Where did you complete your formal education?
I completed my formal education at The University of Manchester.
4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?
I first got involved with ACM SIGGRAPH in 2006 when I co-founded the ACM SIGGRAPH University of Manchester Professional Chapter. Scott Lang provided the inspiration to found a chapter at a meeting held at the SIGGRAPH conference. I recall coming back from the conference and getting my colleague Martin Turner on board to co-found the chapter with me. We had a fantastic time bringing lots of exciting speakers to talk at Manchester.
5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?
My favourite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference is from 2008 when my colleague Greg Ward did our paper fast forward. During this, he sucked helium from a balloon and gave half on the talk with a high-pitched voice! The papers fast-forward is always enjoyable and it is always great to see how creative people can be with their short sales pitches for their paper.
6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.
I would really like to share my “Reflecting on Reflectance” project with the ACM SIGGRAPH community, but it is too early in the project to share. I will just have to say watch this space, as we have some really cool work going on. In the meantime, you can look at the results from my Relight project carried out with Dr. Francho Melendez. This work focused on creating relightable buildings from images.
7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?
Dinner with one living or non-living person, hmmm – well that would have to be Albert Einstein. I’d like to get some insight into the thought processes of a true genius. Not only was he an incredible Physicist but the quotes attributed to him show deep insights into life and wonderful sense of humour too. Failing the availability of Albert though, I shall settle for dinner with my other half Andrew Dann.
8. What is something most people don’t know about you?
I did a chemistry degree! I got into Computer Graphics because a very good friend of mine worked at Silicon Graphics. In the early 90s they had an office in Manchester, and Nick took me to see the computers he looked after. I was completely blown away by an amazing texture mapped terrain fly through and wanted to learn how to make one! The very next week, I convinced the admissions tutor at The University of Manchester to let me do an MSc conversion course just so that I could do Computer Graphics.
9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?
My brother. He taught me to be comfortable with myself.
10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?
The community of volunteers is a wonderful set of people, so there are a number of people that have influenced my decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH. If I have to mentions names though, I’d say Alain Chesnais, Scott Lang and Scott Owen have had the biggest influence on my decision to get involved.
11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?
I have had the good luck to have many proud moments in my career. If I have to mention one specific moment, it has to be when Prof. Fred Brookes wrote me the most awesome letter of support for a nationally funded fellowship. Alas I didn’t get the fellowship, but if I had then I would never have met my other half so some things work out well regardless.