the first week of August I spent in los angeles at the 23rd annual ACM SIGGRAPH conference, otherwise known as the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. a few observations of conferences: from the outside, it looks like its about going to the industry talks, and the show floor to see the latest commercial products. for me, I spend a lot more time in hallway conversations and random run-ins in hotel lobbies discussing industry and career passions than I do in the presentations. this is not to say I don’t spend time in the sessions or the show floor because there is plenty of that, but, especially at SIGGRAPH, there are many, many people to talk to about lots of issues. many of those folks are friends of mine from grad school, most of which are still in the industry to the point that we have an annual reunion at the conference.
siggraph observations at 30,000 ft: quieter than previous years, smaller show floor, felt a bit more serious than in the past. while the proceedings have grown in thickness over the years, I feel the quality of papers are still very high. the quality of the presentations also attest to that fact. one of the best was Michael deering’s paper in which he literally is trying to simulate the lower level visual system. the title of the paper is 'A Photon Accurate Model of the Human Eye' to do this, he grew an eye using some previously published work and showed the results of the simulation which grew all of the rods and cones in the proper distribution in the eye. fascinating stuff. far too much cool stuff and not enough time to read it, research it, or implement it.
the VR work is gone from SIGGRAPH, and it appears for the most part the game developers are going to GDC. for a short period of time in the last 90's, early 2000's, their was a larger crossover.
going to SIGGRAPH is always like a recharge for me, seeing just how big the universe of graphics is and how much there is left to explore!