Microsoft Research Displays Latest Innovations at SIGGRAPH ’96

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 6, 1996 — Just five years after its creation, Microsoft® Research and its world-class graphics group are making a significant impact at the graphics industry’s pre-eminent annual conference, the Special Interest Group on Graphics, or

Of the 52 academic papers accepted by SIGGRAPH this year, 10 were written by Microsoft authors, a record number from any single organization. In addition, a 3-D animated short film, produced entirely by Microsoft, is being featured as part of SIGGRAPH’s Electronic Theater, a compilation of the graphics industry’s breakthrough work for the year.

“To participate at SIGGRAPH in this fashion is a source of great pride for Microsoft Research and indicative of the level of work that our graphics group is producing,”
said Dan Ling, director of Microsoft Research.
“It’s very gratifying to be recognized both for our academic achievement with the papers as well as our technical expertise in producing this extraordinary animation.”

One paper, titled
“The Lumigraph,”
explores a new method for capturing the complete appearance of both synthetic and real-world objects and scenes and then rendering images from new camera positions. While a photograph of a toy lion would provide only a single view, the Lumigraph’s 4-D process allows a user to view the same lion quickly from any angle.

Another paper,
“The Virtual Cinematographer,”
describes technology that automatically acts as the director and camera operator in a virtual world such as a 3-D chat room. Instead of limiting the user to a first-person view of the virtual landscape, Virtual Cinematographer automatically adopts different camera angles depending on the situation. For instance, if another user approaches the user in the chat room, Virtual Cinematographer will adjust its view accordingly, much like a director in a motion picture. The goal of the Virtual Cinematographer is to enliven these types of virtual experiences and make them more informative.

Other papers with Microsoft authors to be presented at SIGGRAPH include these:

  • “Blue Screen Matting”

  • “Progressive Meshes”

  • “Comic Chat”

  • “Automatic Reconstruction of B-Spline Surfaces of Arbitrary Topological Type”

  • “Talisman: Commodity Real-Time 3-D Graphics for the PC”

  • “Hierarchical Image Caching for Accelerated Walk-Throughs of Complex Environments”

  • “Consequences of Stratified Sampling in Graphics”

  • “Efficient Generation of Motion Transitions Using Space-Time Constraints”

In addition to the technical papers, Microsoft will premiere a short animated film titled
“Chicken Crossing”
as an example of a new 3-D graphics and multimedia hardware architecture, code-named
The technology behind Talisman is designed to facilitate performance rivaling that of today’s high-end 3-D-graphics workstations but in less time and at a much lower cost.

“We believe the technology contained within our 3-D animated short represents a breakthrough that will ultimately deliver high-end, real-time graphics to users’ desktop computers,”
said Jim Kajiya, senior researcher and head of the graphics team at Microsoft Research.

“Chicken Crossing”
is a whimsical portrayal of an optimistic but doomed chicken and his search for happiness. The film, produced and directed by Microsoft researcher Andrew Glassner, premieres at the Lucy Saenger Theater in New Orleans as part of the SIGGRAPH ’96 Electronic Theater.

Started in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. In addition to graphics, the group is exploring cutting-edge research in speech and vision technology, future user interfaces, natural languages, intentional programming and decision theory.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft is either a registered trademarks or a trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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