1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been a professor since 2008, first at the University of Utah, now at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I’ve been a computer graphics researcher since I started graduate school in 2000.
2. What was your first job?
In high school I worked with all the cool kids at Taco Bell.
3. Where did you complete your formal education?
I received my PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?
I first attended SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles in 2001. The combination of art and science and academics and industry was truly exciting and inspiring; I was hooked immediately and I haven’t missed a SIGGRAPH since.
5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?
The impromptu first “special session on whiskey fluids” in 2006. It is now a tradition we have managed to keep going for a decade.
6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.
Currently, I’m really excited about combining physics-based animation with artistic input to create stylized, dynamic, interactive content. Much of my previous work has targeted offline applications such as special effects in film, but interaction is more exciting than passive observation and high-quality interactive animation is now becoming feasible. Unfortunately, creating animation content has always been difficult and time consuming, even more so in interactive contexts where artists seek to define behaviors that will generalize to different user input. My goal is to make creating interactive content as easy and intuitive as taking a selfie and applying an instagram filter. A former PhD student will present a paper ("Example-based Deformation of Rigid Bodies”) in this direction at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.
7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?
Albert Einstein because he reputedly had a knack for significantly impacting peoples’ lives over a single meal.
8. What is something most people don’t know about you?
I didn’t realize I had a favorite color until I was in my 30s; it is green.
9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?
My wife has taught me an awful lot about life, the universe, and everything.
10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?
As a graphics researcher, it is natural that I have become increasingly involved with the ACM SIGGRAPH community throughout my career, however, it was my PhD advisor, James O’Brien, who first introduced me to ACM SIGGRAPH and encouraged me to get involved.
11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?
Every time a student passes a milestone, but especially when they defend their thesis.