Making @ SIGGRAPH: Q&A with Eric Haines

by | 18 June 2015 | Conferences, Design, Real-Time

This Q&A is part of a series where we sat down with innovative makers across disciplines to both celebrate the launch of the conference’s brand-new Making program and to highlight the impressive work of the making community. Making @ SIGGRAPH 2015 is for all those who seek to be inspired and those who want to inspire. Featured work within this program was submitted in response to a Tinker. Make. Innovate. challenge that will show off inventions that could change the world.

Eric Haines is a Computer Graphics Programmer at Autodesk, Inc. and co-authored the book Real-Time Rendering. He also created this massive open online course.

SIGGRAPH 2015 (S2015): Tell us about the moment you got involved in Making and what that has meant for both your personal and professional growth.

Eric Haines (EH): My face-to-face introduction with the Maker movement started on October 13, 2012. We has just moved to the Boston area from Ithaca, a small college town in upstate New York. I saw there was going to be a mini-maker faire, so signed up to show my Mineways project for the first time. The booth was mobbed with kids! At the same time, I learned there was a huge makerspace a few blocks away, Artisan’s Asylum. I have a membership through Autodesk, and it’s a great place: lots of interesting people and classes. It’s lovely to get out of my head as a programmer now and then and work more with my hands. Better still, I’ve met many other makers and have been able to connect with them in a variety of ways.

S2015: How do you see Making fitting into the “Xroads of Discovery” that SIGGRAPH conferences are known for?

EH: Right now is a great time to be alive. There are fascinating areas where cheap hardware and software combine to make fun and surprising things. Using what I’ve learned about color science from computer graphics in a practical, physical fashion, and gathering spectra from paint and LED companies, I have been able to develop little art projects here and there which might not have been possible without connections formed at SIGGRAPH.

S2015: What are your top three tips to being successful at the “think with your hands” approach to learning that is Making?

EH: Three tips? Well, I don’t want to go craft-specific, e.g., don’t put your hand in front of the flame (learned the hard way). So, slogans: You can’t break anything that’s already broken. Everything you touch is an adventure. The effort itself is the reward.


S2015: In 140 characters or less, convince someone to attend the Making @ SIGGRAPH program during SIGGRAPH 2015.

EH: How about…

“Get out of your head, you know you want to. You’ve been learning to control bits and photons; Making @ SIGGRAPH will let you master atoms.”

S2015: Share 2-3 of your favorite Making tools/resources.

EH: The Maker Map shows what’s near you. My own modest 3D printing page gathers the basics for beginners. The last page of the Tinkerer’s Handbook, which is satirical but captures the spirit and has more tips than three.

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