SIGGRAPH enjoys an MTSU energy infusion

MTSU’s College of Mass Communication is a hub for digital animation, teaching students how to bring their ideas to life in motion pictures, video games, motion graphics and more.

SIGGRAPH logoThis versatile concentration within the Department of Electronic Media Communication also offers faculty and students the opportunity to be involved in the global ACM SIGGRAPH organization. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) formed in 1947 and its Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) organized in 1974. MTSU boasts an active ACM SIGGRAPH student chapter.

SIGGRAPH held its first conference in Boulder, Colo., in 1974, and the annual gathering has exploded in popularity since then. Often held in luxurious convention centers along the West Coast, the 2014 conference is in Vancouver, British Columbia, Aug. 10-14. Along for the ride are about a dozen MTSU students, whose registration fees are covered under the SIGGRAPH Community Outreach program.

Marc Barr

Marc Barr

EMC Professor Marc Barr first became involved with the SIGGRAPH conference in 1993 and has served on various conference committees. In 2015, he will serve as conference chair when the international organization meets in Los Angeles. “Just imagine anything where you see a computer-generated image,” he says, giving an ultra-condensed explanation of SIGGRAPH’s focus. As the 2015 conference chair, two of Barr’s responsibilities have been assembling his team and coming up with a conference theme. He chose “Crossroads of Discovery.”

“Because of diversity of interests and expertise, you have an intersection of different ideas and thoughts,” Barr says. The technologies used in IMAX, virtual reality programs, mobile games and theme park rides require a wide variety of skills from an assortment of industries. Barr understands the importance of integrating these industries, especially as they pertain to people’s everyday lives. “There was a time when we thought everything would be connected by wires. We don’t have any need for that any longer,” he says. “Everything is getting faster and smaller and more connected.” The faster, smaller and more connected everything gets, the more relevant the SIGGRAPH conference becomes.

Every year, the conference provides a fresh, innovative look at computer graphics and interactive techniques. It offers a wide variety of eye-opening experiences from the Film and Games Concept Art Lounge and special panels to the student research competition and “Appy Hour,” when application developers gather to discuss their creations and demo their work. Roughly 300 students from around the globe will volunteer at the SIGGRAPH conference, gaining invaluable experience participating in special sessions and networking with professionals from around the globe. Digital imaging, animation, interactive techniques, mobile entertainment and all the other areas explored by the conference could serve as topics for endless classroom discussion.

To sum up the SIGGRAPH conference, this testimonial from the website speak for itself: “Think of everything that has ever made you geek out and feel so passionate about something in your whole life and put it into one feeling. That, my friend, is the feeling you get when being at SIGGRAPH.”

This story was written by Seth Caldwell, a 2014 public relations graduate.

SIGGRAPH officers 2014-15

The officers for MTSU’s ACM SIGGRAPH student chapter are (left to right): Raphael Williams, secretary; Megan Steadman, public relations director; Zack Wells, president; Ryan Allred, treasurer; James Rucker, historian; Quin Smith, vice president; Caleb Hoskins, web administrator; Victor Chavez, advertising director; Kelsey Hoggard, advertising director.

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Categories: Events, Faculty, News, Students

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