A Butterfly Takes Flight at UCSD Computer Graphics Competition

By Daniel Kane, dbkane@ucsd.edu

San Diego, CA, June 9, 2007 -- A pink and black butterfly and its reflections within drops of water has edged out an intentionally bad photograph (too much flash) of a kitchen: Welcome to the Spring 2007 edition of UC San Diego’s “rendering algorithms” graphics contest. In place of paints and brushes or cameras, computer science students in the Jacobs School of Engineering created realistic, 3D graphics by leveraging number-crunching algorithms with the art and science of computer programming under deadline pressure.

Grand Prize Butterflly
The Grand Prize was awarded to Iman Sadeghi, a first-year Ph.D. student in the computer science and engineering department of the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering. What the judges said: "Inspiring artistic quality. Portraying nature is very hard, and Iman did a great job at that."

The class, “CSE 168: Rendering Algorithms” is taught by Henrik Wann Jensen, UCSD’s Academy Award winning computer scientist, well known for his contributions to photo-realistic, computer-generated humans in the movies. Jensen is an academic paritcipant in Calit2 at UCSD, and the judges included Calit2 staff researcher Jurgen Schulze, Per Christensen from Pixar, and Wojciech Jarosz, the course teaching assistant.

Iman Sadeghi, a first-year Ph.D. student in the computer science and engineering department of the Jacobs School, won the grand prize for his efforts to render a colorful snapshot of the natural world with algorithms.

The runner-up First Prize  went to Toshiya Hachisuka, who portrayed the suburban kitchen with what the judges considered "the most technical content", i.e., the most complicated algorithms and techniques from the field of computer graphics.

First Prize
First Prize in the CSE 168 Rendering Algorithms competition went to Toshiya Hachisuka. What the judges said:  "Impressive. By far, the project with the most technical content."

Each contestant had 4 minutes to describe how his or her realistic image was rendered using software that each student developed as part of the class.

“I’m very impressed. You all definitely learned a lot in this class,” said Jensen after the presentations, while the three judges deliberated. 

Diner by Joey Hammer
One of five Honorable Mentions went to former Calit2 undergraduate scholar Joey Hammer, who is now a member of the CRCA Experimental Game Lab in Atkinson Hall. What the judges said: "The wear and tear added to features like the stools and booths was a nice touch. Liked the reflective models."

The grand prize: admission to SIGGRAPH 2007, the premier computer graphics and interactive techniques conference.

To see other recipients of Honorable Mentions in the competition, click here .