eTech & Art & More

Interview with Mk Haley, Walt Disney Imagineering, and SIGGRAPH 2001 Emerging Technologies Chair

(eMail interview)

What first drew you to computer graphics?

As a design student in college I took one computer graphics course as a freshman and immediately changed my major. The possibilities were endless with this technology. The control I had over the medium was certain, and the cost of final production was much cheaper than having to use a typesetter. My first few years were all coding graphics, and not using a graphics software package, but even so, I enjoyed the flexibility and professionalism it gave my work. My second semester freshman year we started to animate things. And it was just so much darn fun, and cool, we had a communication and storytelling tool unlike anything else at the time. (I was in the first graduating class of students in the country to get a design degree in computer graphic design)

Do you have any favorite CG mentors?

Yep. Jim Blinn, because he has always taken the time to explain what must seem mundane to him over and over and over to each new batch of students he comes across. And not just where he worked, but students from all over. He has a good point, he says that most likely if physics or computer science isn't fun for you, it's because you may not have had the best teacher. He is a great teacher who continues to selflessly share and mentor people at every stage in the industry. John Lasseter, who seems to be continually amazed that people know who he is, has also always had time to share his work with students and let people know that they truly can take something they are passionate about and turn it into a career.

What was the first time you contributed to SIGGRAPH? 1989

What year/city was your first SIGGRAPH? Boston, 1989

Which was most intense? Boston 1989


There was just so much flying at you all at the same time. To this
day I can remember the names and project names of almost everything I saw onsite that year. And I often need to, and can, pull them up as references for work being done in the industry. Previous conferences have been more exciting than intense because I sort of expect the barrage.

What contributions to SIGGRAPH are you most proud of?

My time. I have worked with the conference for over 12 years and the time I have invested has always been part of a larger whole that took my work and continued on after I left a program. It is gratifying to see concepts and programs set in place by me years ago that not only took hold, but continue to evolve and thrive. And most especially, continue to serve our members and attendees.

What's your favorite thing at this year or last year's SIGGRAPH?

metallic tub of black goo. I am a huge fan of technology as an enabling force, and not merely for the sake of technology. This piece in the artshow was perfect in that regard. No more or less than it needed to be to meet it's goal. [Protrude, flow - ed]

What near/intermediate developments in CG do you look forward to?

Accessibility to the masses. Software and hardware are still very expensive and therefore in the hands of just a few. I know that if everyone has it, we will be deluged with mediocre work, but hey, that's what makes a democracy great. Great stuff will bubble to the top sooner or later.



In addition to eTech, Mk also oversaw the annual T-Shirt contest this year.


This page is maintained by YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh All photos you see in the 2001 reports are due to a generous loan of Cybershot digital cameras from SONY