Sixteen Panels, including four online Panels, were presented at SIGGRAPH 97. Panels presentations were debates, disputes, and Q&As on the past, present, and future of computer graphics. Following the presentations, attendees could go the Creative Applications Lab (CAL) for hands-on experience with the topics, techniques, and concepts presented in Panels or meet in the Panels breakout room for continued discussion.

"Panels are representative of today's current industry and research trends. I feel very confident our panels will stimulate lively controversy and debate among diverse audiences," said Barbara Mones-Hattal, SIGGRAPH 97 Panels chair. "We hope that the new and innovative things people experience at SIGGRAPH 97 will continue to inspire them after the conference ... not just the technical advances they learn about but how that information affects the quality of their lives."

NEW Online Panels
Four panels convened online for pre-conference discussion, and some of them are continuing after the conference:

Putting a Human Face on Cyberspace: Designing Avatars and the Virtual Worlds They Live In

Sounding Off on Audio: The Future of Internet Sound

Motion Capture and CG Character Animation

Medical Illustration & Visualization: Why Do We Use CG and Does It Really Make a Difference in Creating Meaningful Images?

 Panel Highlights

Putting a Human Face on Cyberspace: Designing Avatars and the Virtual Worlds They Live In

Bruce Damer
Contact Consortium

Steve DiPaola
OnLive! Technologies

Ioannis Paniaras
University of Art and Design

Kirk Parsons
Black Sun Interactive

Bernie Roel
University of Waterloo

Moses Ma
Internet Game Inc.

Panelists described the technologies underlying avatars, design tools for and approaches to building avatars and the worlds they live in, and the psychological relationship between users and their avatars. The discussion featured live interaction with multi-user avatar worlds.

Sounding Off on Audio: The Future of Internet Sound

Paul Godwin
New Dog Music

James Grunke
OnLive! Technologies

Eythor Arnalds
Oz Interactive Inc.

William Martens
University of Aizu

Tim Cole

"What's up, what's next, and why?" A rare opportunity to join the leading developers in defining and understanding the issues and effects of music and audio on the Internet. Following presentations from several Internet audio pioneers, the session evolved into an active discussion between the panelists and the audience.

Motion Capture and CG Character Animation

Gordon Cameron
Softimage, Inc.

Andre Bustanoby
Digital Domain

Steph Greenberg
Independent Animator

Olivier Ozoux
Softimage, Inc.

Craig Hayes
Tippett Studios

This panel focused on the application and value of the many forms of motion-capture technologies in CG character animation: full-body motion capture systems, digital and stop-motion armatures, and other real-time physical input media.

Community/Content/Interface: Creative Online Journalism

Mike Tribe
Rhizome Internet

Armenia Medosch
Telepolis Journal

Kathy Rae Huffman

Robert Atkins

Gary Wolf

The age of information has opened wide ideological doors on the Internet for online journalism. New topics, new forms, and revised (often updated) formats of traditional print media have sprung up around the world like digital weeds. The Web is determined by the cultural fabric of our moment -- a product of the zeitgeist of the age of information. How does the technology of the Web determine the quality of online journalism?

Facial Animation: Past, Present, and Future

Fred Parke
Texas A&M University

Michael Cohen
Microsoft Research

Mark Oftendal
Doug Sweetland

Demetri Terzopoulos
University of Toronto

Keith Waters
Digital Equipment Corporation

Imaginative applications of animated graphical faces are found in sophisticated human-computer interfaces, interactive games, multimedia titles, VR telepresence experiences, and a broad variety of production animations. This panel assessed the state of the art and speculated about the exciting future directions of facial animation.

Can We Get There From Here? Current Challenges in Cloth Modeling, Design, and Animation

David E. Breen
California Institute of Technology

Jeffrey W. Eischen
North Carolina Sate University

Michael Kass

Nadia Magnenat Thalmann
University of Geneva

Maurizio Vecchione
ModaCAD Inc.

Cloth and clothing have been part of the human experience for thousands of years. This panel looked at the state of the art in cloth and clothing modeling, design, and animation, and explored the technical, economic, and marketing hurdles that prevent wider deployment of this technology.

Narrative Environments: Virtual Reality as a Storytelling Medium

Celia Pearce
Momentum Media Group

Bard deGraf
Protozoa, Inc.

C. Scott Young
Dimensional Graphics

Jim Ludtke
CD-ROM Artist

Athomas Goldberg
New York University

In the virtual world, exploration of space as a narrative medium is just beginning. Current applications focus on three dimensions and ignore the fourth: time. This panel discussed the potential and challenges of using virtual reality to tell a story and featured examples from designers and artists who have been putting these ideas into practice.

Interfacing Reality: Exploring Emerging Trends Between Humans and Machines

Eric Paulos
University of California, Berkeley

John Canny
Ken Goldberg
University California, Berkeley

Eduardo Kac
University of Kentucky

Mark Pauline
Survival Research Laboratories

Performance Artist

The spontaneous growth of the World Wide Web over the past several years has resulted in a plethora of remote-controlled mechanical devices, all of them accessible from any networked computer in the world. This panel examined current and future applications of such technology and several extremely relevant social issues, including cultural impact, human acceptance, interaction, authenticity, responsibility, privacy, and security.