Vol.34 No.1 February 2000

Professional Chapters Update

Colleen Cleary
Computer Graphics Professional Chapters Editor

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The last quarter of 1999, as well as marking the end of the twentieth century and the second millennium, was also a very active period for the ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapters - both in terms of growth and events staged.

Our network of chapters grew by three student chapters, adding the Full Sail (Winter Park, FL), Northern Arizona University and University of Pennsylvania ACM SIGGRAPH Student Chapters to the Purdue University and Seminole County High School ACM SIGGRAPH Student Chapters.

Several new Professional Chapters have submitted bylaws and are very close to being chartered. New chapter inquiries have come from San Antonio, Austin, Detroit, Long Island and Denmark. There are currently 30 chartered ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapters and six in formation.

The Professional Chapters typically screen the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater videos and share conference highlights with the membership either immediately post-conference or sometime during the fourth quarter. This year, however, several chapters featured something extra special: a screening of the ACM SIGGRAPH documentary that premiered at SIGGRAPH 99, The Story of Computer Graphics. While few chapters have access to HD format projection, plans have been made to produce a 35mm print suitable for screening in a regular movie theater to allow more chapters and the general public to view this superb documentary chronicling the development of computer graphics.

To learn what is happening at a chapter near you or anywhere else in the United States-or around the world-check out where you can find links to all the chapter websites. Certain international chapter websites are composed in their countries’ native language - some with English translations. A sampling of some of the chapters activities for the fourth quarter 1999 follows (in alphabetical order).

Ft. Lauderdale

The Fort Lauderdale chapter presented selections from the SIGGRAPH 99 Electronic Theater as well as animation seminars by Wayne Gilbert, Mike Ford and Kyle Clark during a two-day special event.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles ACM SIGGRAPH hosted the SIGGRAPH 99 Art Gallery technOasis traveling art show at the Santa Monica College and launched two SIGs, L.A. ACM/SIGGRAPH-Art for visual artists and L.A. ACM/SIGGRAPH-Tech for programmers and other technical folks. As for regular meetings, topics included "Heads Up Troopers!." This evening with Foundation Imaging, a leading computer animation/special effects company based in Valencia, California, offered a behind the scenes look at the new CG TV animated series, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles based on the book, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Another meeting featured "The Ultimate Camera: BUF Compagnie’s visual effects sequences for David Fincher’s Fight Club" wherein Buf Compagnie created the ideal camera of infinitely scalable size, speed and mobility to pass through walls and follow a character’s stream of thoughts. Yet another event was "Hot Shots and Hot Spots" focusing on some of the best ads in CG. The short format of TV commercial tends to allow for some of the most creative work being done today. The experience can act as a testing ground for new technologies, ideas and experimentation - often leading to some of the most innovative work in the medium of computer animation and effects. Perhaps someone from the L.A. Chapter was tipping a bit heavy on the eggnog when they reported that during this event they could "see how the CG elves create the eye candy that is stuffing agency stockings today."

Mexico City

The Ciudad de Mexico chapter featured a program on Hash 3D and screened the SIGGRAPH 99 Electronic Theater for its members.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Members visited Lamb & Company, a premier facility for computer graphic animation and digital special effects in the American Midwest. Tours were given of both Lamb & Company and Lambsoft, and members had a chance to see the studio’s new work. In a separate event, members toured the Minnesota Supercomputer Center. The chapter also celebrated its 10th annual Minnesota Electronic Theatre X with technology, creativity and artistry coming together in a reportedly stunning exhibit of computer animation, interactive multimedia, post production and special effects. The program included a retrospective spanning the past 10 years of CG, and presentations by two masters of special effects and animation from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in California. John Berton and former Minnesotan, Paul Churchill, presented "Behind the Magic: STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 -The Phantom Menace" and "THE MUMMY." Additionally, selected entries were projected on a large screen, played on monitors and demonstrated on interactive workstations. The event attracted more than 600 people who came to see the latest and greatest work created by Minnesotan computer artists.

New York City

Events this quarter included site visits to Curious Pictures and Improv Technologies, as well as a programs entitled, "Wearing it Out: First Steps Toward Mobile Augmented Reality Systems," "Celebrate ‘Avatars 99’," "SIGGRAPH at 30: Celebrating the Last Three Decades of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques," "3D Phone Home: the Fusion of Virtual Reality, Networking, Supercomputing and Data Mining" and "The New York Digital Salon: Artists Talking About Digital Art." This busy chapter also hosted the premier NYC screening of The Story of Computer Graphics and the SIGGRAPH 99 Electronic Theater.

San Diego

One recent meeting topic was "Beyond Silicon Graphics: Computer Hardware for Graphics Applications," presented by Western Scientific. Discussions covered the emergence of Intel-based workstations, SUN-embedded systems and the role of Linux in the computer graphics industry. In addition, demonstrations were given of the latest hardware for graphics applications, together with benchmark comparisons. Another meeting was primarily a social gathering, holiday party and volunteer appreciation banquet where the 1999 SIGGRAPH video review was shown.

San Francisco

The San Francisco chapter has pioneered the SFSIG Education Event Concept Series. Topics this past quarter included "The Creative Process: A Night with Manex Visual FX: The Making of Matrix" and "The Design Process," where the translation from traditional design concerns to the digital arena were explored. Another meeting featured John Lund speaking on digital photography and Steve Redding presenting on animation and technical direction. Meeting agendas include a list of questions that will be explored for each topic. For example, with digital photography, questions such as the following were posed: How do traditional lighting concepts translate to the digital arena? What are the primary concerns when moving from traditional to digital lighting? How do you use light to create drama and motivation in your digital work?

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley chapter events this past quarter included a talk by Henry Sowizral on Java 3D, a screening of the SIGGRAPH 1999 Electronic Theater as well as other activities.


The Toronto chapter hosted several diverse programs and a party! Programs included presentations on Monster by Mistake, a CGI TV series being produced in Toronto and currently airing on YTV. Creator, Producer and Director Mark Mayerson, along with Senior Technical Director Sean Lewkiw, discussed the process and team required to create 26 half hour shows, and demonstrated some of the Houdini software and internal tools that the modelers, animators and lighters use. Another event featured "Maya Paint Effects" where Duncan Brinsmead and Andrew Pearce explained how Paint Effects is a groundbreaking new paint technology for creating amazing natural detail on a 2D canvas or in true 3D space. As an example, one can create a jungle of trees and plants in a couple of minutes, walk your character right through it, with flowing hair and flickering flames added in seconds for a level of realism previously unattainable in CG. After a cerebral autumn, the Toronto chapter sponsored a holiday party with dinner, drinks and a video projection system available for screening members’ demo reels and CG related tapes. Oh yes, indeed, large amounts of potent eggnog were reportedly consumed!

Scott Lang is a member of the SIGGRAPH Executive Committee as the SIGGRAPH Director for Professional Chapters. He works as a computer specialist at the Bergen Academies, a group of public, specialized high schools located in Bergen County, NJ. Scott teaches video production, website development and animation to students specializing in business, engineering, medical and science technologies. He is the chair of the NYC ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapter and a member of the ACM Membership Activities Board.

Colleen Cleary has been Computer Graphics Professional Chapters Editor for four years. She manages technical projects for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. She has chaired and co-chaired the Orlando chapter and served on the ACM SIGGRAPH Professional Chapters Committee. Colleen welcomes contributions from chapter members worldwide for publication in Computer Graphics.

Scott Lang
Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology
200 Hackensack Avenue
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Tel: +1-201-343-6000, ext. 3380

Colleen Cleary
Orange Country Sheriff’s Office
6590 Amory Court
Winter Park, FL 32792

Tel: +1-407-836-3963
Fax: +1-407-836-9079

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