SIGGRAPH Spotlight: Episode 67 – Bunny, Teapot, and Legends Unveiled: A Journey Through Computer Graphics History

by | 10 July 2023 | Conferences, Graphics, Industry Leaders

From left to right: Dylan Sisson, Bonnie L. Mitchell, Marc Levoy

As SIGGRAPH prepares to set sail on its magnificent 50th conference, embark on an extraordinary journey down memory lane filled with reflections and anecdotes from distinguished thought leaders. In this special episode, hear from Marc Levoy and Dylan Sisson as they discuss the creation and evolution of two iconic symbols in computer graphics history — the Stanford Bunny and the Utah Teapot. Resident time-traveling expert Bonnie Mitchell, SIGGRAPH 2023 History Chair, moderates this exciting conversation with special surprise guest … Jim Blinn! Together, let’s honor the past, embrace the present, and envision the future of this extraordinary community.

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Look forward to more information about SIGGRAPH 2023 coming soon. Can’t wait to experience what’s next in computer graphics and interactive techniques? Visit our website and explore the full program.

Special thank you to SIGGRAPH 2023 Media Partner, befores & afters.

Jim Blinn is best known for his computer animations done at JPL for the NASA Voyager fly-bys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, for Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV series, and for the telecourses The Mechanical Universe (Physics), and Mathematics!. He did early work on lighting and texturing, has written books on the mathematics of Computer Graphics and is working on a book on Real Projective Algebraic Geometry. His awards include the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Siggraph Computer Graphics Achievement Award and Steven A. Coons award, the Ub Iwerks award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Marc Levoy is the VMware Founders Professor of Computer Science (Emeritus) at Stanford University and a Vice President and Fellow at Adobe. In previous lives he worked on computer-assisted cartoon animation (1970s), volume rendering (1980s), 3D scanning (1990s), light field imaging (2000s), and computational photography (2010s). At Stanford he taught computer graphics, digital photography, and the science of art. At Google he launched Street View, co-designed the library book scanner, and led the team that created HDR+, Portrait Mode, and Night Sight for Pixel smartphones. These phones won DPReview’s Innovation of the Year (2017 and 2018) and Smartphone Camera of the Year (2019), and Mobile World Congress’s Disruptive Innovation Award (2019). Levoy’s awards include Cornell University’s Charles Goodwin Sands Medal for best undergraduate thesis (1976) and the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award (1996). He is an ACM Fellow (2007) and member of the National Academy of Engineering (2022).

Dylan Sisson is an accomplished digital artist with over two and a half decades of experience in the field of visual effects and animation. He began his career animating CGI commercials, creating game cinematics, and honing his skills with his own award-winning independent animated shorts. In 1999, Dylan joined Pixar Animation Studios and has since been instrumental in the development and promotion of Pixar’s core rendering technology, RenderMan. As the designer and creator of the RenderMan Walking Teapot, Dylan has made a name for himself as a creative innovator in the industry. Aside from his work at Pixar, Dylan is constantly pushing the boundaries of digital art by exploring new frontiers in VR, AI, and 3D printing. He is dedicated to exploring the potential of new technologies and inspiring others to do the same.

Bonnie Mitchell is a new media artist, online archive developer, and a professor at Bowling Green State University in Digital Arts, in Bowling Green, Ohio. Mitchell is a member of the ISEA International Advisory Committee and ACM SIGGRAPH History and Digital Arts Committee where she focuses on the development of their online archives. Her current creative practice focuses on development of physically immersive data visualization environments that showcase climate change over time. Mitchell’s artworks explore spatial and experiential relationships to our physical, social, cultural, and psychological environment through interaction, abstraction and audio. She often collaborates with Elainie Lillios, a composer, to create abstract visual music installations and animations that have been shown in hundreds of venues world-wide. Mitchell was also an early net-artist producing numerous large-scope international internet art projects that were shown at ISEA, SIGGRAPH and online starting in 1992, garnered an Honorable Mention from ARS Electronica in 1995. Collectively, Mitchell’s presentations and artworks have been included in festivals, exhibitions, conferences, and symposia in six continents and at numerous prestigious events including Ars Electronica, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, Punto y Raya, Visual Music Marathon, Melbourne and London International Animation Festivals, AnimaFest Croatia, iDMAa IDEAS Festival, Society for Electro-acoustic Music, Les Sommets du Cinema d’Animation at the Cinémathèque Québécoise, and many more. She is the SIGGRAPH 2023 History Liaison.

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