Computer Animation Festival

The world's most accomplished digital artists presented 1997's best computer-generated animation in film and video at the SIGGRAPH 97 Computer Animation Festival. There were daily showings in the Festival Screening Rooms at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and four evening and two matinée showings of the Electronic Theater at the historic Shrine Auditorium.

For SIGGRAPH 97, a record number of 538 submissions were considered by the jury, and 55 were selected for the Electronic Theater. The entries were submitted from a variety of sources:

Production and special effects companies

Academic research and commercial research organizations

Individual artists


"The types of work submitted this year ranged from art/social comment and visualizations to movie and feature film entries with high-end computer-generated characters," said Judith Crow, SIGGRAPH 97 Computer Animation Festival chair. "The jury was particularly impressed to see technical developments from recent SIGGRAPH conferences, such as techniques for rendering fur and skin, and the use of scientific datasets, applied to the art and entertainment pieces."

 Computer Animation Festival Highlights

Excerpts from "An American Werewolf in Paris"

John Grower and Diane Holland
Santa Barbara Studios, Inc.

Further pushing the photorealistic frontier, this feature film employs entirely computer-generated werewolves. Digital fur, skin, and water shaken from the animal's body combine with animated facial expressions and body motion to create this mythical creature.

The Animation of M.C. Escher's "Belvedere"

Sachiko Tsuruno
Kinki University

Escher's lithograph of an impossible building led to an intriguing challenge for this animator: how to look at this kind of impossible object in different orientations. An illusory rotation and drawing method was developed for this most unusual example of 3D reconstruction from 2D imagery.

A Cloud is Born

David S. Ebert
University of Maryland Baltimore County

Digital Smoke

John R. Anderson
University Wisconsin-Madison

Both these brief pieces use advanced rendering techniques for an enhanced representation of natural phenomena. "A Cloud is Born" features the formation and fly-through of a volumetric cloud created by combining implicit functions and procedural turbulence-based volume density functions. The cloud geometry and animation are procedurally controlled, and the illumination and shadowing are physically-based. "Digital Smoke" is based on a direct physical simulation and uses a hybrid volume rendering/radiosity approach.

Digital Truth in Tian An Men

Premier Heure
Buf Compagnie

By using live action footage from the demonstration in Tian An Men Square and reconstructing the scene as 3D graphics the animators "changed history ... to tell the digital truth."

FACADE: Modeling and Rendering Architecture from Photographs

Paul E. Debevec
University of California, Berkeley

Continuing the theme of 3D reconstruction, a group of students have further developed their SIGGRAPH 96 paper of the same name into a combined technical and creative piece for the Electronic Theater. Matching a virtual flight path to recovered camera motion, the team demonstrates a photorealistic reconstruction of a large portion of the Berkeley campus.

"Fifth Element:" Leeloo's Reconstruction & Time Square Montage

Bob Hoffman
Digital Domain

Two years ago, Alexander Tsiara's Body Voyage Project was a visualization highlight of the Electronic Theater. The same human body dataset is employed here in the fantastical reconstruction scene from this recently released feature film.

Interactive Learning and Teaching Environment

Stefan Lehmann and Thomas Overberg
University of Wuppertal

This undergraduate degree project explores the use of computer graphics and remote sensing for educational purposes. The animation focuses on an emergency situation requiring repair of a pipeline disrupted by an earthquake. It explores methods for fast identification of knowledge resources and deployment of sophisticated simulation processes in order to solve the problem of mending the damaged pipe. film.

Las Campanas Redshift Survey in 3D

Tom Casey
University of WuppertalHome Run Pictures

This animation was created as part of the upcoming PBS series on mathematics: "Life by the Numbers." Declination and right ascension coordinates, a redshift value, and descriptive variables for approximately 26,000 galaxies were assembled and input. The resultant animation clearly shows the clump-like texture of intergalactic space.

Simulation of 1994 Northridge Earthquake Aftershock

Gregory Foss
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

This educational video illustrates earthquake research at Carnegie Mellon University through data visualization. Computer simulation data demonstrate how an alluvial basin's structure and composition modify the horizontal displacement effects caused by a Northridge earthquake aftershock.

The Tapir

Raquel Coelho
School of Visual Arts

Raquel Coelho is using computer graphics animation as an extension to her work as a children's book illustrator in this stylized depiction of an Amazonian tribal story. Both visuals and sound track are richly layered. The visual concept has nine scenes layered in 3D space, and the camera travels from scene 1 to scene 9, revealing the story as their nine layers come to life.