SIGGRAPH 2004 - The 31st international conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques
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  Frequently Asked Questions

What's changed for SIGGRAPH 2004?
There are several changes this year: We now accept supplementary video and images uploaded digitally rather than shipped on videocassette or as printed pages. We've reorganized the submission categories to try to reduce confusion and clarify the evaluation criteria. We've changed the title of the program to just Sketches rather than Sketches and Applications. And we are introducing a few "person-to-person" sessions so that sketch presenters and interested attendees can easily meet and discuss ideas.

I noticed that you changed the name of this program. It's called just Sketches this year. Can I still submit applications?
Yes, we still accept and encourage applications. But in reorganizing the submission categories, it made the most sense now to consider an application to be a type of sketch. Aside from that, they're no different than they were before.

Do you have any advice on how to write my sketch proposal so it'll be accepted?
The Sketches jury has a small amount of time to review a large number of sketches. (There are less than three weeks between the submission deadline and the jury meeting, and last year close to 400 sketches were submitted.) So it should be immediately obvious at the beginning of the sketch proposal what the new contribution is. Just one or two sentences such as: "We present a new method that's N times faster." Or: "We have conducted a new study comparing A and B." Or: "Effect X in feature film Y presented a new challenge." Or something similar.

Reference previous work if appropriate. One or two references will suffice. If you propose to present work that extends previous work of your own, cite the previous work in your proposal and explain what is different. For example: "We build on our previous work [1] by ..." If there has been previous work by several others, choose one major one to cite, and state why your work is different. For example: "Unlike previous work, such as [1] , we ..."

There are few graphics techniques and applications that result in absolutely no visuals. Submit supporting images or video to illustrate your work. The jury is more likely to approve of a sketch if they can examine the results. Be sure that your images are not compressed with a lossy method that renders them useless.

For research sketches, summarize test results, comparisons, experiments briefly in two or three sentences. Put detailed results in a supplementary document if there is no room in the one-page submission. The jury is more likely to approve of a sketch if they can examine the results.

For application and methods sketches, be sure to give evidence or report on successful use of the tool by others. The jury is more likely to approve of a tool if they are convinced it is useful in practice.

For art sketches, be sure to not only describe the art piece, but also make clear what you will discuss in the sketch (for example, the creative motivation or artistic, design, or technical challenges in producing the piece).

Why are sketches rejected?
For technical sketches, several phrases are commonly heard just before a sketch proposal is rejected: "Thereıs not enough new here." "It doesnıt contain enough detail to properly evaluate it." "Itıs not clear enough, I donıt understand it." "Thereıs not enough evidence to demonstrate the claims." "It still needs more work." "Iım not impressed by the results." "This has been done before."

For art sketches, these phrases are often heard: "I'd like to see the piece itself, but itıs not clear what the sketch would talk about." "It's technology-driven rather than concept-driven." "There are too many ideas/projects rolled into one." "The execution seems antithetical to the concept."

How do I decide whether to submit my work as a paper, a sketch, or a poster?
There's no cut-and-dried answer. Some works may well be acceptable as either a paper or a sketch; others as either a sketch or a poster. But in general, the three programs represent different levels of maturity and impact of work, and they provide different forms of disseminating the work, so they are reviewed based on different criteria. Papers contain the most highly polished works of broadest interest and impact to the field, and they are formal, peer-reviewed publications. Sketches can present smaller results, works in progress, specialized applications, and topical behind-the-scenes experiences. They are conference talks rather than formal publications. Posters are appropriate for late-breaking results and new projects that are just starting out, and the sessions provide a forum for personal interaction rather than presentation to an audience.

Can I submit a sketch about work I've published elsewhere?
No, sketches are dedicated to presenting new, unpublished work.

Can I submit a sketch about work I did for my thesis?
Yes, provided that work has not already been extracted from the thesis and formally published.

My paper got rejected. Can I submit a sketch about the work?
Certainly you may. Notification of papers acceptances will happen before the Sketches submission deadline. This will leave you some time (though unfortunately not a lot of time) to prepare an ordinary one-page sketch proposal about the work and submit it using the normal Sketches submission mechanism. The fact that you submitted a paper about the work in no way affects the sketch submission. It's treated like any other.

My company has a great new product that is of general interest to the SIGGRAPH community. Can I submit a sketch about it?
A simple product announcement would not be appropriate for the Sketches program. However, a methods/systems sketch that presents the engineering design and algorithms behind the product could be appropriate.

My sketch proposal is longer than one page. What do I do?
Rewrite it. The Sketches jury has a small amount of time to review a large number of submissions. Jurors do not take kindly to proposals that are overlong or otherwise ill-formatted. You may include up to three extra pages of supporting material, but this should be mostly figures showing results. The jury will not have time to read an extended paper. Your one page of text should stand on its own.

My video files are larger than 40Mb. What should I do?
Do everything possible to make them smaller. The total size of your uploads should be below 40Mb. The jurors in various locations around the world will need to download the submitted videos, and we need to keep the total size across all submissions reasonable.

First, remember that the total length of all animations mustn't exceed five minutes. The jurors won't have time to watch more than that. Also, remember that the sketch presentation itself is only 20 minutes long, and if you have more than five minutes of animation to show, there won't be much time left for your talk. So if your animations are longer than five minutes, you will probably want to edit or excerpt them for the talk in any case.

Next, try decreasing the image resolution and/or using a better compression technique and/or settling for higher compression at the cost of somewhat reduced image quality.

If you have tried very hard to do all this but still can't get the size down, contact us and explain the specifics of your situation in detail, and we'll see what we can work out.

If you can get the size down through compression, but the resulting compression artifacts obscure the results you're trying to demonstrate, contact us and explain the specifics of your situation in detail, and we'll see what we can work out.

If all else fails, we may be convinced to accept the video on physical media (CD-ROM, DVD, or NTSC VHS cassette). But remember to arrange this in advance, because we need to receive the physical materials by the submission deadline.

Can I submit a supporting videotape in PAL format?
Unfortunately, no. Our American reviewers will typically not have access to equipment that can play such tapes. In any case, we prefer that supporting videos be uploaded in digital form, to save everyone the effort of making and shipping multiple copies of videotapes. If uploading doesn't work, we will accept video on CD-ROM or DVD (region 0), which are also easier to handle than videotapes. However, if you must submit a videotape, it will need to be in NTSC VHS format. Remember that for all submission of physical media, you need to get prior agreement from the Sketches Chair.

Do I really have to submit a supporting video of my stuff?
You're not obliged to. But it's a really good idea. The power of a video during the jury process can not be stressed enough. The jury has a small amount of time to review a large number of submissions. Having the video can answers many questions that the members might ask on just reading the sketch. It is a shame if the phrase "I wish they had provided a video ..." is uttered during the jury meeting. In particular, the jury is unlikely to be convinced to accept a sketch about animation if they haven't seen the animation.

My sketch is about production effects, but the studio won't give permission to submit a supporting video because the movie hasn't been released yet. What should I do?
First, be certain that you will have permission to show the actual effects at the conference. If possible, submit a video that uses non-sensitive stand-in models or scenes to illustrate the techniques in question, with an explanation that the real thing will be shown at the conference. Contact the Sketches Chair to see if some special arrangement can be worked out. If all else fails, submit the sketch without a video, but with a supporting document listing in detail what the contents of the video will be, illustrated with still frames if possible.

Can I submit earlier papers or technical reports as supporting materials?
No, the jury already has its hands full and will not have time to read them. However, your can provide URLS to those works in your submission or supporting documentation. In that way, if a specific question arises, jurors can download the works themselves. And remember: the supporting documentation if any, should be limited to three pages max and should contain mostly captioned figures: images, graphs, charts, tables, and so forth.

What are the session titles for SIGGRAPH 2004?
We donıt know yet. The jury selects sketches without regard to sessions and titles. Only after the selection process is finished do we group the sketches into sessions related by topic. This means that unlike other conferences in which the session topics are set in advance, the Sketches jury never needs to accept or reject submissions in order to fill slots. (On the other hand, this also means that occasionally there are sessions that lack a strongly coherent theme.) You need not be concerned about sessions during the submission process.

Can my company have a dedicated session in which we present a collection of sketches about various aspects of a large project?
You are welcome to submit a collection of related sketch proposals. However, the jury will evaluate the submissions individually, and decide whether to accept each one individually, so each must stand on its own. For those that are accepted, we can't promise that they will be presented together in a single session; they may be grouped into sessions with other sketches that present similar techniques.

Why do you only accept electronic submissions?
The Sketches jury has a small amount of time to review a large number of proposals. By having the submissions submitted electronically, the jury members can start the review process almost immediately. It also saves the manpower and cost involved in shipping the submissions to the jury members.

Must I really submit my sketch proposal in final format?
Yes. Having all submissions in the same format makes it easier for the jury to review them. Also, the deadlines for preparing the conference publications are very tight, so summaries of accepted sketches need to be ready to go almost immediately. Having the submitted proposal be almost identical to the published summary streamlines the process immensely.

Should sketch submissions be prepared anonymously, like papers?
No. Unlike papers, sketch proposals are not sent to outside reviewers. They are reviewed entirely by jury members. And the jury knows who all the submissions are from. The submission should be in final format, including the names of all collaborators on the work.

Is a sketch a publication?
No. A sketch is considered an oral presentation, not a publication. The archived one-page summary acts as a record of conference activity. Presenting work in a sketch does not preclude formal publication of the work in a different venue.

How long will my presentation be?
Roughly 20 minutes, followed by roughly five minutes of Q&A. We don't know the exact length in advance. It depends on the number of sketches accepted (we don't have a target number; the jury accepts all it deems appropriate), how the sketches are sorted into sessions, and the final scheduling of the sessions.

When your sketch is accepted, and the schedule is finalized, you will be notified as to the scheduling and timing of your session.

What about credits? Who gets them and where?
Information about Sketches is presented in three locations:

1. The Conference Select CD-ROM and Full Conference DVD-ROM. All collaborators are listed here along with the one-page sketch summary.

2. The SIGGRAPH 2004 web site. All collaborators are listed here along with a short description of the presentation.

3. The SIGGRAPH 2004 Program & Buyer's Guide. All authors are listed in this publication along with a short summary of the presentation.

Can I show 3D (with 3D glasses) at my sketch? Or other unusual technology?
3D and other non-standard technologies are not normally available in the Sketches session rooms. If your sketch is accepted, and you will be able to provide the necessary equipment, we can discuss the possibilities. Contact the Sketches Chair.
7 April 2004, 5pm Pacific Time.
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upon acceptance
how to submit your work
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Conference 8-12 August, Exhibition 10-12 August.  In Los Angeles, CA