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Vol.32 No.2 May 1998

Computer Graphics in Brazil

Marcio Lobo Netto
University of Sao Paulo

May 98 Columns
Artists's View Professional Chapters

Computer graphics in Brazil is entering a mature era, with well-established and successful research and commercial initiatives ongoing. The best results in both areas can be seen in the Brazilian Conference for Computer Graphics and Image Processing (SIBGRAPI), and in video productions for TV. Some of the most prestigious Brazilian universities have excellent computer graphics programs for graduate courses, and also offer basic courses in this area for undergraduate study.

Historically, the first Brazilian initiatives in computer graphics have been related to computer-aided design (CAD) and, therefore, to modeling and rendering. Nowadays, diverse fields from computer graphics and related areas are being studied in universities and applied by the industry and service bureaus.

The Web, in particular, has been experiencing a great explosion in our country. The combination of multimedia and networking technologies, along with strong design concepts, has led to a large number of Web site providers and end users. The majority of large and medium-sized Brazilian companies have their own Web sites, while an increasing number of small companies and personal accounts are setting up on the Internet. There are currently more than 500,000 Internet users in Brazil, with projections showing that this number may reach one million by the end of 1998.

With a population of approximately 160 million, Brazil needs to use computer graphics to better serve society. This can be achieved through the exploitation of technological advances applied to the most diverse types of areas. Computer graphics will be used as a support for all types of human-computer interaction, an example being graphical interfaces for diagnosis in telemedicine allowing better service to remote communities.

Another metric of the Brazilian involvement with computer graphics is our participation in SIGGRAPH, with a few hundred Brazilians attending every conference the last few years. Furthermore, some papers, courses and developments have also been presented by outstanding research groups at this conference.

University Activities

The majority of all research in computer graphics under development in Brazil is being conducted at universities, although some research centers have also been involved in these activities. The productions in universities are mainly academic, and have achieved a mature age with large groups situated in southeast and south Brazil. Among the main activities, we identify projects ongoing in rendering, parallel rendering, animation, visualization, virtual reality, modeling, image processing and computer vision. SIBGRAPI, which will be held this year in Rio de Janeiro (20-23, October) is the main Brazilian forum for computer graphics and image processing (CG & IP), where the most important groups are represented. Since 1997, the IEEE Computer Society has published the proceedings of this conference in English.

Marcio Lobo Netto
Assistant Professor
Department of Electronic Engineering at University of Sao Paulo
Laboratorio de Sistemas Integráveis
Escola Politécnica da USP
Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, trav. 3, 158

Tel: +55-11-818-5661
Fax: +55-11-211-4574


Alain Chesnais
17 bis rue Joseph de Maistre
75018 Paris France

Tel: +33-1-44-92-81-81
Fax: +33-1-44-92-81-82

Jose Encarnação
Fraunhofer-Institut fuer Graphische
Wilhelminenstrasse 7
D-64283 Darmstadt

Tel: +49-(0)6151-155-1301
Fax: +49-(0)6151-155-4301

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

Nevertheless, the current economic trends are opening a stronger contact between universities and companies, leading to industrial and services partnerships. Many of these groups already have experience working on interdisciplinary projects in several areas, including medicine and modern arts.

Industrial Activities

Industry is a strong user of computer graphics based technologies in Brazil. The main usage is in the CAD field, but trends show that all other emergent technologies such as virtual reality and telecooperation will assume a greater importance in industrial projects in the years to come. The Brazilian industry has been mainly oriented to the personal computer sector, and therefore most products have also been oriented towards this market. Nevertheless there are also ongoing projects in the area of high-performance computers, which are being used to solve complex problems. Among the main goals for the usage of these machines are the parallel computation of meteorological models, global energy distribution, distributed virtual reality and medical visualization.

Services Activities

The current main orientation of services related to computer graphics is in the development of Web sites. Hundreds of small enterprises are working in this area, providing services to the Internet and designing Web sites for companies. Computer animation bureaus producing for TV represent the most important commercial activity in computer graphics, and they typify a branch that has reached a maturity, producing a large number of high-quality films for advertising. These companies followed the initiative set by TV Globo, which has been using computer animations to open its programs since the early ‘80s.

I believe that computer graphics in Brazil will continue to grow. The technology and related products will be disseminated even more in the coming years, not only in Brazil, but around the world. The combination of computer graphics and networking will guide future development in technologies such as telecooperation.