Siggraph Invitation

Here's a posting for all computer graphics folks.

Siggraph sketches are a great, lightweight way to publicize/recognize new developments and ideas in graphics (plus you get a Conference Select uber pass!). Some folks mistakenly think of sketches as "papers lite" but they're much more. They cover all aspects of the Siggraph sphere, including workstation, education, entertainment, mobile, fine art, supercomputing... Last year's sketches ranged from image-based modeling; to innovative display paradigms; to real-time illumination; to letting police see around corners; to production of films like "Star Wars" and "Madagascar"; to spontaneously beaming romantic music from your phone to the cute stranger at the other end of Starbuck's.

Deadlines are in just a couple of weeks, but preparation is not difficult. Here's the "CFP":


Boston, Massachusetts USA, 30 July - 3 August, 2006

Call For Participation

The Sketches program is one of the most dynamic programs of the annual SIGGRAPH conference, which will be held this year 30 July - 3 August 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts USA. Sketches provide an opportunity for researchers, artists, and practitioner to share new results, show live demonstrations of their work, and participate in a unique forum for new and thought-provoking ideas, techniques, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques.

Accepted sketches will be archived in the ACM Digital Library as well as on the SIGGRAPH Conference DVD and Conference Abstracts and Applications CD-Rom. During the conference, the authors will be given 20 minutes to present their work. We are seeking submissions that provide a single page PDF summary of provocative speculations, nascent academic research, industrial development, practical tools, and behind-the-scenes explanations of commercial and artistic works. Submissions covering any topic which would excite the interest of a computer graphics audience are welcome.

Sketch summary PDF submissions must be written and presented in English. Paper length should not exceed one single-sided page in letter format, should include the collaborators names together with their affiliations and must be formatted according to the SIGGRAPH publication style. In addition, you MUST provide a .jpeg image which acts as a visual remainder of the sketch. The image can be any size, however, the submission system will resize it to a 150x150 pixels image. Supplementary material such as videos, images and/or further documentation may also be submitted electronically and will be made available to reviewers. Please, refer to the submission website for more details and keep in mind that the total size of all uploaded files must not exceed 40 MB.

Important Dates

Submissions deadline (5 pm PST)April 12, 2006
Notifications to authorsMay 9, 2006
Camera ready sketchesMay 15, 2006
Sketches Presentations at SIGGRAPHJuly 30 - August 3, 2006

Program Chair

Hanspeter Pfister, MERL

International Sketches Jury

  • Marc Alexa, TU Berlin
  • Kevin Bjorke, Nvidia
  • Robert Bridson, UBC
  • Steve Derrick, Vicarious Visions / ActiVision
  • Margaret Dolinsky, Indiana Univ.
  • Francois Guimbretiere, UMD
  • Diego Gutierrez, Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Wendy Ju, Stanford Univ.
  • Joe Kniss, Univ. Utah
  • Caroline Larboulette, Univ. Vienna
  • Daniel Maskit, Digital Domain
  • Mike McGuffin, Univ. Toronto
  • Bonnie Mitchell, Bowlin-Green
  • Ken Perlin, NYU
  • Steve Schkolne, CalArt
  • Apurva Shah, Pixar
  • Karan Singh, U. Toronto
  • Mark Vande Wettering, Pixar
  • Daniel Wexler, Nvidia
Posted March 30, 2006 | Comments (0)

Benevolent Inventor

Time for the latest personality quiz!

Does this match my experience at GDC?

I had a great time, though it was a tad wearying — I worked in the NVIDIA booth, in the Playstation 3 portion of Sony's booth, spoke at a sponsored session on FXComposer 2.0 in game production pipelines, and then on Friday gave a art track lecture on texture and shading interactions. The last one surprised me — I expected a last-day meager turnout, but instead the long double-sized conference room was filled to capacity with people sitting on the floor 15 minutes before the talk even began! I felt really excited and glad to be able to speak with all those game artists and programmers.

The slides representing my talks will be available in PPT/PDF form on the NVIDIA Developer Website.

(Hey, wait a minute... "slightly imaginative"? Aww, who pays attention to these lame-assed personality quizzes, anyway?)

Posted March 28, 2006 | Comments (3)

Durned Robots

I know, I know. Inbox Zero is a great plan. But for some of us it's not practical to be continuously at zero, and especially when there are numerous input channels.

Right now I have three primary email inputs, and one #1 email kvetch:

  1. Outlook is my corporate-mandated mechanism for receiving emails at and through NVIDIA. Which suits me fine, I have Outlook's calendar sync'd to my Treo's planner and they get along reasonably well, as do the Outlook task list and the Treo's To-Do lists. Some features don't overlap, like the To-Do categories and the Outlook task color labels — but this is a post about email. I let the I.T. department worry about archives and delete/mark-as-read liberally.
  2. I pump almost all truly personal email — email to people who I consider primarily as local friends or who are part of my family — through gmail and route that to my phone (Treo) via Snappermail. This is a pretty good setup considering that I can simply delete most everything after I've read it on the Treo, knowing that Google will keep a copy for later review as-needed (and naturally I keep all business-related confidential stuff completely away from gmail). A nice feature of Snappermail is that I can restrict the periods where it will sync, so I don't have to worry about automated email pings awakening me in the middle of the night (the phone is also my alarm clock).
  3. Apple's handles all the email streams for,, my Comcast email accounts, PhotoPermit, etc. That includes all my various Yahoo groups, forums, mailing lists, and other personally-related business emails like creditcard notifiers and so forth, for myself, Isaac, and Rebecca. I switched-over from Eudora some months ago during a particularly violent spam storm, which overwhelmed Eudora entirely. But I'm really tempted to switch again, just to get ahold of one crucial feature of Eudora that I've never been able to find in Apple's offering:
       I can't tell what the rules have been doing to my mail.
    In Eudora, when rules process mail, they leave a log, viewable continuously in a little window, that says that mail was received and shuffled to this mailbox or that mailbox. With Apple mail, I have no idea where the email went — or even if email has been received or not — unless I keep all the many email boxes in a known state (that is, 100% read at all times). The program hides information from me and puts the burden of organization onto me to keep in my head — the opposite of what "productivity software" is supposed to do. For someone like me who can receive huge amounts of mail daily, but only has limited opportunities to process it, this is a nightmare.
Posted March 27, 2006 | Comments (2)


Fringe Tulip, 369_6984

A little noisy @ ISO 400, but working okay.

Posted March 26, 2006 | Comments (0)

Aww Gee's

Aww Gee's

One glance at Craig's List and 20 minutes later I was in possesion of another G, from a fellow just a few blocks away and dirt-cheap. So now I've got a Canon G5 to replace the long-suffering, taped-together, and now deceased G1, and as a quiet digital companion to my Contax G2.

Dumb? Hmm, just last week I picked up an LX1 (aka Leica DLux2) for the wide lens and the 16:9 aspect ratio (looks cool displayed on the Sony PSP — a great way to carry a catolog of images, added to my other catalogs on the celphone and ipod)

I forgot to include my other G in this snap: the old Canonet G-III. Ah well.

First impressions of the G5 over the G1: manual use is incredibly improved, along with strobe handling. Sounds like it's time to revise some of the Botzilla Canon pages, now that the G5 has been out of production for months...

Posted March 25, 2006 | Comments (0)


Straight Out Of Nagoya<geek>So we're riding down the San Tomas & one of Y's kids asks: "Are Pokemon aliens?" a question which I knew had merit but I think I've figured out a better explanation to questions raised by the collision of several data points:

  • Throughout the series, all non-human animals are Pokemon, or at least are called Pokemon (even creatures that may have come from space, such as Clefairy and/or Unown).
  • Despite the lack of typical animals such as dogs, cats, and bears, many Pokemon are identified with reference to normal animals, such as "Ursaring: the bear Pokemon."
  • While the cities and countries in Pokemon do not correspond to any known locations, the characters have repeatedly made references to France, to French food, and even to images of the Eiffel Tower.
  • The phenomenon of Pokemon evolution does not carry over to the non-Pokemon animals (i.e., humans), indicating a radically different sort of underlying structure to the biology of both groups.
  • Pokemon are native to their environment, as witness by the repeated discoveries and prominence of Pokemon fossils.

My hypothesis, then: Pokemon are not aliens. Humans are aliens. The human characters in Pokemon are the descendants of human space travellers who have settled on the World of Pokemon, who have some memories or education about their original home but who now spend their energies exploring and taming this new world of unusual animals. In fact they may be only indirect descendants, perhaps the original humans of that world (if not everyone?) are clones, which would also then help explain the ongoing presence of identical Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny characters.

Happy now?

(Next, I'll have to explain my more-elaborate theories about how the Flintstones and the Jetsons are not similar shows set in fanciful renditions of the past and future, but that they are both different parts of the same future — that the Jetsons are the rich sky dwellers and the Flintstones live a terrestrially-bound third-world existence that apes the lifestyle of the people up above the clouds..... or maybe my crypto-technical theory of why one can hear the sounds of movie ray guns and spaceship engines in a vacuum)</geek>

Posted March 14, 2006 | Comments (2)


When Rebecca was 12 we were especially bombarded with cute personality quizzes. But it seems that people just can't resist them, whether they're 12 or 30 or 60, whether it be Meyers-Briggs coding, the Cube, the Strawberry Field quiz, the Three Wishes, the Twin Brothers, the Synaesthesia ball,... and the internet makes them so, so, easy to propogate (and to mutate). Hi Mom!

  2. Square Pictures (Squaresoft)
  3. Pixar
  4. for Rolland Joffee
  1. The Third Man
  2. Donnie Darko
  3. Ikiru
  4. Magnolia
  1. Silicon Valley
  2. Windward Oahu
  3. Mill Valley
  4. Topanga Canyon
  1. Mosaic
  2. Scrubs
  3. Over There
  4. Egg (long gone, alas)
  1. Duluth
  2. Vegas
  3. Stockholm
  4. Tokyo
  1. Bacon
  2. Espresso
  3. Eggs
  4. Tiramisu
  1. My Bloglines
  2. Ape Huggers
  3. Streetshooters
  4. Happiness
Posted March 08, 2006 | Comments (0)

You Are What They Ate


Measured in "blog years" perhaps I haven't posted for a while, but it's good to keep it in perspective. Consider the timeline above, for instance, which describes part of our relationship to foods.

Each horizontal pixel in the timeline represents 162.5 years, and I've only run it back as far as the advent of modern humans — people who are physically the same as you or I. The timeline could have gone further — for example, to the beginnings of fire and cooking, which vary in estimation from 500,000 to 1.7 million years ago — anywhere from five to fifteen times as long as the current chart (or 2125 years per pixel, which would place the advent of agriculture a mere four pixels from the end of the timeline).

As you can see, the "classic staples" of our diets — breads, cultivated fruits, domesticated animals, imported foods and spices — didn't really show up until fairly recently, in that last portion of the timeline. Our bodies (including the brains), which have been evolving towards their own maximized ecological niche for a very long time, were developed and balanced for a well-defined and pretty consistent diet long before agriculture cropped up.

Almost everything we're familiar with today, eating-wise, fits into that very last pixel on the right. The past 162.5 years have seen the adoption of canned foods, refrigeration, aluminum foil, mechanized harvesting, supermarkets, plastic wrap, artificial flavors and preservatives, and — this one is key — corporate production and marketing of most everything we put in our mouths.

If we set aside questions of how to maximize convenience, or how to best-enrich the coffers of corporate food producers, what should we eat? The bodies that we have are still designed to make ther best use of the foods and environment in which they evolved. Primitive man may have had a life expectancy of 30 years, but when you remove the effects of predation (so far, none of my immediate relatives have been eaten by leopards) and severe infant mortality, the differences begin to dissolve. The human body was born eating simple foods, eating sweets only when in season, not being exposed to concocted flavors or near-infinite supplies of processed and addictive grains. The fossil record itself shows a shift when grains (which are relatively high in silicon and other minerals from the earth they've grown in) were added to the human diet — the teeth of the fossils at that point in prehistory suddenly become worn, ground-away.

Not all modern foods need to be harmful, of course. But it's good to be aware of what they are, and to always be aware that the interests of your health are only marginally connected to the (financial) interests of those who feed you.

For myself, I'm sticking to foods not far from early man's tree — at least 95% of the time anyway (exceptions mostly focus around social circumstances, such as always accepting hospitality — another core human trait is the ability to share!). The result is pretty-much a copy of modern low-carb fare: meat, eggs, veggies, only a small number of sweet foods, avoidance of refined flours and sugars. I don't need to run from predators, but I give my elliptical machine a regular spin and inflict painful crunches on my abs. I take some modern advice by using cholesterol-free egg products, and keep just a few lingering industrialized vices: coffee, wine, and diet coke.

The net results after the past year or two of this eating philosophy: my doctor says I'm healthy, I feel great and energized, and I'm back to the clothing sizes I enjoyed in my youth — quite literally, I've recently found my best source of bluejeans is Gap Kids. Thank you, Alley Oop.

Posted March 06, 2006 | Comments (2)


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