Microsoft Research Brings Graphics to Life

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, July 23, 2002 — Today at SIGGRAPH 2002, the leading industry conference on computer graphics, Microsoft Research (MSR) will begin presentation of seven technical papers in graphics research that detail innovative tools and algorithms that enable game developers and interactive artists to render even more realistic and accurate graphics in real time. Each research project was explored and developed in collaboration with graduate students from leading computer science universities around the globe.

“A dream for computer graphics is to create images on the screen in real time that are as clear, detailed and lifelike as what you see when looking out your window,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research. “Much of Microsoft’s research in the field of computer graphics is being done in collaboration with top students and researchers from around the world to create technologies that will play a role in creating future interfaces for business, consumer and entertainment applications.”

Researchers are presenting graphics technologies they have developed in the areas of motion capture, texture synthesis, images and video, lighting and appearance, and human and animal rendering. Such technologies have the potential to greatly enhance gaming, animation, movie special effects, and industrial design and prototyping applications. Many of these tools and algorithms address primary challenges to producing high-quality graphics, including computational costs, transmitting, and displaying complex geometric models.

Some of the papers being presented this week are described below:

  • “Video Matting of Complex Scenes.” A new kind of rotoscoping tool that builds upon Bayesian Matting can extract complex mattes, such as wisps of hair and smoke. Session: Images and Video, Tuesday, July 23, 8:10–10:15 a.m., Ballroom C1 and C2

  • “Motion Textures: A Two-Level Statistical Model for Character Motion Synthesis.” Motion capture technology uses captured motion to create new but similar motion, so a virtual character can dance in a nonrepeating way after only a modest amount of motion-capture data has been recorded. Session: Animation From Motion Capture, Wednesday, July 24, 3:30–5:30 p.m., Ballroom C1 and C2

  • “Precomputed Radiance Transfer for Real-Time Rendering in Dynamic, Low-Frequency Lighting Environments.” A new, real-time method for rendering diffuse and glossy objects in any lighting environment captures soft shadows, interreflections and caustics. Session: Lighting and Appearance, Thursday, July 25, 8:10–10:15 a.m., Ballroom C1 and C2

  • “Synthesis of Bidirectional Texture Functions on Arbitrary Surfaces.” A six-dimensional texture mapping technology can be used for developing games that re-create artificial surfaces on any object. Session: Texture Synthesis, Friday, July 26, 8:10–10:15 a.m., Ballroom C1 and C2

This year at SIGGRAPH, Microsoft Research collaborator and Harvard professor Steven Gortler, who has written several papers on image-based rendering, photo-realistic rendering and geometric modeling with Microsoft researchers, will receive the Significant New Researcher Award. The award recognizes researchers who have made a notable contribution very early in their career and are likely to make more.

Over the years, in addition to having several researchers serve as chairs of SIGGRAPH papers, Microsoft Research has had six researchers receive the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, which is given each year to recognize an individual for an outstanding achievement in computer graphics and interactive techniques. MSR Graphics Fellow Jim Blinn received the award in its inaugural year (1983) for his work in lighting and surface modeling techniques. Other recipients include University of Washington professor and senior researcher David Salesin (in 2000), senior researcher Michael F. Cohen (in 1998), Microsoft Research director Jim Kajiya (in 1991), former researcher Alvy-Ray Smith (in 1990), and Microsoft Research graphics group manager Turner Whitted (in 1986).

The annual SIGGRAPH conference and its year-round initiatives provide a unique crossroads for a diverse community of researchers, developers, creators, educators and practitioners. It is the premier annual conference on leading-edge theory and practice of computer graphics and interactive techniques, inspiring progress through education, excellence and interaction. The technical conference runs through Friday, July 26 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.

About Microsoft Research

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goal is to develop new technologies that simplify and enhance the user’s computing experience, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and facilitate the creation of new types of software. Microsoft Research employs more than 600 people, focusing on more than 40 areas of computing. Researchers in five facilities on three continents collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to simplify and enhance technology in such areas as speech recognition, user-interface research, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, graphics, natural language processing, and mathematical sciences. More information can be found at

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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