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Vol.32 No.1 February 1998

A Look Back at Computer Graphics Covers

Karen Sullivan

February 98 Columns
From the Editor Entertaining the Future

Karen Sullivan
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Cover from 1977 Cover from 1979 Cover from 1980 Cover from 1982

This issue of Computer Graphics begins SIGGRAPH's 25th anniversary. The theme of this year's conference is 25 Years of Discovery and the focus of this issue is A Forward-Looking Retrospective. In keeping with the spirit of accomplishment and excellence in Computer Graphics visuals and technology, this issue's cover and this article look back at some of the better covers and topics since the beginning of our publication. The covers show the advancement in design, technology, imagery and format over the last 20 years. We hope you enjoy reviewing some of our past issues.

Early Years

This article contains four reproductions of original cover designs beginning with 1977. The 1977 cover was originally printed with brown ink on a yellow cover and featured the state of the art on graphic software packages, an investigation of general methodologies and a proposed standard for Computer Graphics software. James George was the SIGGRAPH Chair; Steve Levine, Vice Chair; Tom DeFanti, Secretary; and Peter Bono, Treasurer.

In August of 1979, Computer Graphics had a full color cover with 3D (human) digits, keyboard and monitor screen. The main focus was the status report of the Graphic Standards Planning Committee. The cover was designed by Chromagnon of the New York Institute of Technology. This group included such now revered names as Ed Catmull, Ephraim Cohen, David DiFrancesco, Tom Duff, Duane Palyka, Alvy Ray Smith, Garland Stern and Lance Williams. The issue was a dry counterpart to Siggraphitti being edited by Duane Marble.

In 1980, black type on a white cover, began a content format of the organizational news that we've become more familiar with today. Items such as messages from the officers, SIGGRAPH minutes, letters to the Editor and a set of special contributory articles began to appear. Some of the more memorable titles include "An Improved Economic Design for a Display Processor Intermixing Refresh and Storage Graphics" by Jelte Feenstra and Jan vanden Bos of the Netherlands and "Interactive Computer Graphics with the UNIX Time-Sharing System" by Thomas E. Ferin and Robert Langridge of the University of California, San Francisco. Also included in this issue was a listing of SIGGRAPH attendees -- something we could hardly imagine publishing today.

1982 began the familiar all black cover. The table of contents was displayed on the front cover with organizational information featured. The first 1982 Art Show slide credits were listed in this issue.

On the Back Cover

The February 1998 Computer Graphics covers revisit the years with the following representative images.

1983 began a more familiar design with the creation of the Computer Graphics masthead under the design skills of Copper Giloth. This was a year of many firsts. The design changed, and black and white images were added to the cover. Our 1983 representative image is an optical piece, Moment of Inertia, 1977 by Larry Cuba. The volume number and date were represented on the front, and the back cover supplied the SIGGRAPH mailing address.

1984 was another year for firsts. In 1983 an ad hoc committee of Bob Ellis, Maxine Brown, Pat Cole and Dick Mueller was appointed to work with designer, Peter Seitz of Seitz, Yamamoto, Moss, Inc. in Minneapolis to develop a symbol that would be synonymous with SIGGRAPH. The committee had two criteria: it should portray perspective (three-dimensionality) and movement. The result was the SIGGRAPH logo we have today. It immediately began appearing on all SIGGRAPH conference materials, publications and local groups in addition to the ACM logo. The '84 cover image is Flux III, mixed media construction, 14" x 19", 1982, by artist Margot Lovejoy. The contributing articles focused broadly on the topic of motion.

The design and organization of the newsletter remained constant from 1982 through 1991. The cover images focused on contributions from the Computer Graphics fine arts community and the content of the newsletter was primarily focused on SIGGRAPH events and minutes as well as announcements of related conferences and symposiums. Contributed articles were diverse, from books on computing/computer graphics, literature to careers. In 1987, a focused collection of essays from the SIGGRAPH art show catalog was reprinted. These included several articles on computer aesthetics from Herbert Franke, John Whitney, Kenneth Knowlton, Frank Deitrich and Patric Prince. A small change was made in format. The table of contents began to appear on the back cover.

In 1985, PIXELglyphics, a 6.75 x 6.25, black and white photograph by Romelia Takenaka, was displayed.

Kate Collie's In Defiance created quite a bit of controversy in 1986. This piece brought postmodern issues to a field which at that time was more concerned with aesthetics and technology.

1987 displayed one of the most famous images, Venus in Time, by Donna Cox, artist; George Francis, mathematician; and Ray Idazek, programmer. This team effort in an image reflected one postmodern idea that art can be an interdisciplinary process.

1988's image, Study for cowdance #2 (bovine(pie)ce), was by Karl Hauser. This image was an initial study for a computer controlled animated neon artwork inspired by Italian Futurist painters.

1989 had a new change to the cover image: Anne Marie LeBlanc's Learning to Speak No Evil was one of the first SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics covers to be printed in color.

1990 encouraged the SIGGRAPH membership to vote with Copper Giloth's Shape the Landscape of SIGGRAPH: Vote!

1991 featured Terry Gips Among Ruins, a 1989 cibachrome, 20" x 24".

On the Front Cover

January 1992 featured a series of CT data created using volumetric renderings by Derek R. Ney and Elliot K. Fishman from The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. This was the last issue to utilize this design. Beginning in August of 1992, the catchlines down the left hand side and between the text disappeared. The volume number and date were relocated to the upper right next to the masthead, along with the SIGGRAPH and ACM logos. Text now reflected content in the issue and under new Editor Susan Mair, focus contributions directed by a Guest Editor became the status quo. This new feature was intended to add interest and value to the newsletter for the SIGGRAPH constituencies. It formalized and expanded the contributions from the earlier issues. The first focus issue was "Scientific Visualization Matures and Expands." A secondary report was included on virtual environments.

The new design can be seen in the 1993 cover with the image, Heirs Come to Pass 2, by Martina Lopez. (Editor's note: This fine cover was the first of many designed by our talented Cover Editor Karen Sullivan!) The focus of the issue was on SIGGRAPH Local Groups with a report from groups from New York to Vancouver, Paris to the Rio Grande. The cover image was the last of the fine art contributions not tied directly to a focus topic.

By 1994, the cover images were contributed by the Guest Editors to reflect the content of the focus topic. This was becoming increasingly important as the cover was the only venue for color reproduction in the newsletter and often color had now become an important content issue. The 1994 focus, "Multimedia: Bridging the Gap Between Tools and Techniques," featured an interactive frame from Learning Constellations, an ethnographic research tool developed by Ricki Goldman-Seagall.

1995 began a redesign of the information inside the publication. The table of contents was moved from the back cover to the inside of the issue. Content information was reorganized from a two-column to a three-column format for readability. The back cover was used to display additional information from the focus articles. Often, diverse viewpoints were contrasted between the front and back covers. The 1995 cover displayed an image generated with IBM Visualization Data Explorer by Lloyd Treinish and Greg Abram. This issue was guest edited by Gordon Cameron with a focus on "Modular Visualization Environments: Past, Present and Future."

In 1996, Gordon became the new Editor of Computer Graphics and the content value of the newsletter was further expanded. Gordon reinstituted the Letters to the Editor column as well as a new regular set of columns. The columns are intended to provide current information each issue that is of interest to the entire SIGGRAPH constituency. The columns added value and interest for the entire membership. The focus articles then added depth. The 1996 cover we revisited had a focus of "REAL Virtual Reality." The cover image was one of the first collages on the cover. It contained the imagery, Hand in Hurricane by Stephen Maher and Jarrett Cohen, Sitting on a Virtual Staircase by Simon Gibbs and Patrick Baudisch and Making Surgical Simulation Real by Dwight Meglan. The back cover featured a virtual reality art work, Osmose, by Char Davies.

Karen Sullivan
13901 N. Florida Ave. #E79
Tampa, FL 33613

Tel: +1-813-265-3799

The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.

The November 1997 issue focused on "The State of Fine Art" and featured Sheldon Brown's Video Wind Chimes, a multiple video projection public artwork. Computer Graphics has grown, changed and improved over the years and is continuing to do so. The November1997 issue was the first to include color inserts on the inside. You'll notice this again in the current issue. This allows for more flexibility in the cover design and imagery. Your suggestions and comments are welcome. We hope you enjoy the next year as we look back and forward at our thriving participation in an increasingly exciting industry.