The book, Seminal Graphics: Pioneering Efforts that Shaped the Field, began as a gleam in the eye of Carl Machover, SIGGRAPH 98 History Chair. Early in the planning for the 25th SIGGRAPH conference, he decided that a fitting part of the festivities would be to assemble a volume of significant papers that shaped computer graphics. The goal of this book is to distribute a set of outstanding, but out-of-print papers, not just as an archival compendium, but as a resource for future researchers. Young scholars aspiring to a career in computer graphics are in the process of starting their personal libraries and do not have easy access to a long “black shelf” of past SIGGRAPH proceedings. This book provides reprints of some of the important papers that broke new ground and still serve as guideposts for current work.
Jim Blinn, Michael Cohen, Jim Foley, Don Greenberg, Carl Machover, Stephen Spencer and Turner Whitted agreed to serve as members of the selection jury. In preparation for the jury meeting, email was sent to researchers asking them to list important papers that had influenced them and their work. The replies to this request generated over 178 Kbytes of email and listed 534 different citations. Jury members received summaries of these responses.
Many took time in their responses to include a summary of a paper’s influence in addition to listing the citation. Some of these descriptions bordered on the poetic. One person wrote of a paper that “forms the basis of my existence. Its publication has made the world a better place.” Another comment emphasized how compressed our history really is. One researcher began with the statement, “… the papers that come to mind are very old,” and proceeded to list citations from 1988. In what other discipline would a publication from 10 years ago be deemed “very old?” The field moves at a blazing pace.
The jury convened on February 5, 1998 in Orlando. The room reserved for us proclaimed the meeting of the “Seminole” jury(!). Being that the jury was taking place in Florida, we took this as a good sign and preserved it for posterity. (See Figure 1.)
As many researchers noted in their email messages, choosing the final set of papers was an extremely difficult task, not only because there are so many subfields of computer graphics, but because there are so many excellent papers. Jury members wanted to include more papers, but space limitations prevented them from doing so. The final table of contents appears at the end of this article.
After the jury finished its work, the task became one of production. Unlike the proceedings, where potential contributors supply their contact information as part of the submission process, this book required some detective work to locate the authors. Many people pitched in to supply information, and the process of obtaining the requisite permissions was really quite enjoyable. One author mentioned that he had worked on his research while babysitting his young children. Another said that he decided that his work must be widely recognized when he saw a version of his original animation as part of a screen saver. Still another mentioned the challenges of publishing a color image in a journal that previously used nothing other than black ink.
The book is available at the SIGGRAPH 98 conference and is being sold on a cost-recovery basis, to make it as accessible as possible to young researchers. After the conference, you can obtain copies by calling ACM Member Services at 1-800-342-6626 in the U.S. and Canada, and +1-212-626-0500 in the greater New York area and all other countries. Mention its order number, which is 435985.
Find out how it all began. If you’ve been to the Electronic Theatre, you’ve seen the movie — now it’s time to read the book.
Table of Contents from Seminal Graphics: Pioneering Efforts that Shaped the Field
Bresenham, J. E. Algorithm for Computer Control of a Digital Plotter. IBM Systems Journal 4(1) 1965, p. 25-30.
Weiss, Ruth E. BE VISION, a Package of IBM 7090 FORTRAN Programs to Drive Views of Combinations of Plane and Quadric Surfaces. Journal of the ACM 13(4) April 1966, p. 194-204.
Appel, Arthur. The Notion of Quantitative Invisibility and the Machine Rendering of Solids. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1967, p. 387-393.
Newell, M. E., R. G. Newell and T. L. Sancha. A Solution to the Hidden Surface Problem. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1972, p. 443-450.
Catmull, Edwin. Computer Display of Curved Surfaces. Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Graphics, Pattern Recognition and Data Structures (IEEE Cat. No. 75CH0981-1C) 1975, p. 11-17.
Clark, James H. Hierarchical Geometric Models for Visible Surface Algorithms. Communications of the ACM 19(10) October 1976, p. 547-554.
Williams, Lance. Casting Curved Shadows on Curved Surfaces. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 78 Proceedings) 12(3) August 1978, p. 270-274.
Crow, F. The Antialiasing Problem in Computer-Generated Shaded Images. Communications of the ACM 20(11) November 1977, p. 799-805.
Williams, Lance. Pyramidal Parametrics. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 83 Proceedings) 17(3) July 1983, p. 1-11.
Cook, Robert L., Thomas Porter and Loren Carpenter. Distributed Raytracing. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 137-145.
Gouraud, Henri. Continuous Shading of Curved Surfaces. IEEE Transactions on Computers C-20(6) June 1971, p. 623-29.
Bui-Tuong, Phong. Illumination for Computer Generated Pictures. Communications of the ACM 18(6) June 1975, p. 311-317.
Blinn, James F. Models of Light Reflection for Computer Synthesized Pictures. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 77 Proceedings) 11(2) July 1977, p. 192-198.
Blinn, James F. Simulation of Wrinkled Surfaces. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 78 Proceedings) 12(3) August 1978, p. 286-292.
Whitted, Turner. An Improved Illumination Model for Shaded Display. Communications of the ACM 23(6) June 1980, p. 343-349.
Cook, Robert L. Shade Trees. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 223-231.
Goral, Cindy M., Kenneth E. Torrence, Donald P. Greenberg and Bennett Battaile. Modeling the Interaction of Light Between Diffuse Surfaces. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 213-222.
Perlin, Ken. An Image Synthesizer. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings) 19(3) July 1985, p. 287-296.
Kajiya, James T. The Rendering Equation. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 86 Proceedings) 20(4) August 1986, p. 143-150.
Heckbert, Paul S. Ray Tracing JELL-O Brand Gelatin. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings) 21(4) July 1987, p. 73-74.
Cohen, Michael F., Shenchang Eric Chen, John R. Wallace and Donald P. Greenberg. A Progressive Refinement Approach to Fast Radiosity Image Generation. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 88 Proceedings) 22(4) August 1988, p. 75-84.
Doo, D. and M. Sabin. Behavior of Recursive Division Surfaces Near Extraordinary Points. Computer Aided Design 10(6) November 1978, p. 356-360.
Catmull, E. and J. Clark. Recursively Generated B-spline Surfaces on Arbitrary Topological Meshes. Computer Aided Design 19(6) November 1978, p. 350-354.
Fournier, Alain, Don Fussell and Loren Carpenter. Computer Rendering of Stochastic Models. Communications of the ACM 25(6) June 1982, p. 371-384.
Reeves, William T. Particle Systems: A Technique for Modeling a Class of Fuzzy Objects. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 83 Proceedings) 17(3) July 1983, p. 359-376.
Barr, Alan H. Global and Local Deformations of Solid Primitives. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 21-30.
Catmull, Edwin. A System for Computer Generated Movies. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference August 1972, p. 422-431.
Parke, Frederic I. Computer Generated Animation of Faces. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1972, p. 451-457.
Burtnyk, N. and M. Wein. Interactive Skeleton Techniques for Enhancing Motion Dynamics in Key Frame Animation. Communications of the ACM 19(10) October 1976, p. 564-569.
Girard, Michael and A. A. Maciejewski. Computational Modeling for the Computer Animation of Legged Figures. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings) 19(3) July 1985, p. 263-270.
Lasseter, John. Principles of Animation as Applied to 3D Character Animation. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings) 21(4) July 1987, p. 35-44.
Reynolds, Craig W. Flocks, Herds and Schools: A Distributed Behavior Model. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings) 21(4) July 1987, p. 25-34.
Romney, Gordon, Gary S. Watkins and David C. Evans. Real Time Display of Computer Generated Half-Tone Perspective Pictures. Proceedings of the IFIP Congress 1968, p. 973-978.
Myer, T. H. and I. E. Sutherland. On the Design of Display Processors. Communications of the ACM 11(6) June 1968, p. 410-414.
Sutherland, Ivan E. A Head-Mounted Three-Dimensional Display. Proceedings of the AFIPS Fall Joint Computer Conference Washington, D.C.: Thompson Books, 1968, p. 757-764.
Noll, A. Michael. Scanned-Display of Computer Graphics. Communications of the ACM 14(3) March 1971, p. 143-150.
Fuchs, Henry. Distributing A Visible Surface Algorithm Over Multiple Processors. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1977, p. 449-451.
Kajiya, James T., Ivan E. Sutherland and Edward Cheadle. A Random-Access Video Frame Buffer. Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Graphics, Pattern Recognition and Data Structures (IEEE Cat. No. 75CH0981-1C) 1975, p. 1-6.
Clark, James H. The Geometry Engine: A VLSI Geometry System for Graphics. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 82 Proceedings) 16(3) July 1982, p. 127-133.