8 Creative Books to Inspire a Career in Computer Graphics

photo by Jim Hagarty © 2019 ACM SIGGRAPH

Although the start of the holiday season brings busy times at work, fast-approaching deadlines, and many obligations to family and friends, it also is a time to reflect on the past year, as well as on where you are, how you got here, and where you are going.

To celebrate the reflective spirit of this time of year, members of the SIGGRAPH 2020 Committee are sharing books that have both influenced and inspired their careers to date. Whether you prefer to crack open a paperback or swipe through your e-reader, we hope these suggestions and personal stories spark inspiration.


All About Animation

“The Visual Story” by Bruce Block and “Acting for Animators” by Ed Hooks

These authors helped Larry Bafia (Creative Development Director) think about the nuances of performance and visual portrayal in order to advance a compelling narrative in animation.
Get “The Visual Story” | Get “Acting for Animators”


Habits, Color, and Light

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

This book made Monica Cappiello (VR Theater Director) realize how powerful habits are. “Our lives revolve around habits, both good and bad. If we can change these habits for the better, we can each become stronger individuals,” Cappiello says. “From exercise to career, ‘The Power of Habit’ is eye opening and influenced my life in a powerful way.”
Get “The Power of Habit”

“Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter” by James Gurney

For Cappiello, a passionate lighting artist where color is key to the emotion and aesthetic of a scene, the book “Color and Light” breaks down color in a simple and creative way. “Even though the methods are focused on traditional arts,” Cappiello says, “Gurney’s explanation of color and light transcends all mediums, including [computer graphics].” From children to dinosaurs, from modern towns to fantastical realms, “Color and Light” is a must for any artist.
Get “Color and Light”


Courage and Confidence

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and “Creative Confidence” by Tom and David Kelley

Munkhtsetseg Nandigjav (Electronic Theater Director) loves “The Alchemist” because it inspires courage and offers invaluable lessons of life, and “Creative Confidence” is a wonderful book that demonstrates different ways of thinking and proactive, solution-based approaches.
Get “The Alchemist” | Get “Creative Confidence”


Own the Day

“Manage Your Day-to-Day” by Jocelyn K. Glei

This short, aesthetically pleasing, and pleasant-feeling book is a continual source of professional inspiration and focus for Derrick Nau (Production Sessions Chair). “Manage Your Day-to-Day” is a collection of anecdotes from successful creatives and thinkers regarding their daily habits. Nau says, “These stories provide varied considerations for your practice as an artist or creative person, but I believe it would be valuable for anyone interested in personal development. Although some of the advice is obvious, sometimes it takes someone to point out the obvious thing before it sinks in — at least that is how it is for me.”

The short format and concise language of this book make it easy to pick up and set down, as well as providing simple, actionable steps for your daily life. Nau tries to read it in full at least once a year. “Sometimes when going for a run, I’ll listen to the audio book to get energized about a problem or a personal project. I noticed the other day that I have bought nearly a dozen copies for friends as gifts over the last couple of years. I can’t recommend it enough,” Nau says.
Get “Manage Your Day-to-Day”


Tap Into Your Imagination

“The Imagineering Way” by The Imagineers

Kristy Pron (Conference Chair) says, “I read this book a long time ago, and it helped me think about how Imagineers foster and adapt creativity for different environments. It taught me to think more creatively in everyday life. It also let me know that Imagineers will do anything for a free lunch … which I can now say is true.”
Get “The Imagineering Way”


Looking for more inspiration? Share your innovative content at SIGGRAPH 2020, and gather with other artists, researchers, educators, students, and pioneers from around the world to think beyond,19–23 July 2020 in Washington, D.C.

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