Eurographics UK Chapter 15th Annual Conference : Detailed Guide

University of East Anglia 24-26 March 1997

Conference Themes:

Eurographics UK Conference

This annual conference is being held at the University of East Anglia.

There is increasing use of Virtual Reality for simulation and entertainment. An exciting development of these trends is to bring the simulation and entertainment together and allow VR to be used in tourist attractions to bring to life the historic environment. Work related to this is being undertaken in Virtual Set building, Character Animation, Immersive VR, Motion Simulation and the related areas of VR in computer games. Other developments in the use of WWW and the Internet are attempting to make downloadable machine independent graphics programmes available over the Internet.

The conference will be held at UEA, Norwich which is situated three miles west of the city centre. UEA is one of the purpose built Universities founded in the 60's and is based on the idea of interdisciplinary Schools of study. Computer Graphics and its applications have been a theme of research in the School of Information Systems for over 20 years, with the themes of this conference reflecting some of the current interests.

Social Events

The social events are an important part of any conference as they enable delegates to discuss issues and to build contacts. Delegates arriving on Sunday evening are invited to a buffet supper. On the Monday night delegates will dine in the Restaurant of the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts. On the Tuesday evening there will be a demonstration and reception in the Motion Capture Studio followed by a move to an adjacent pub for buffet meal and music by the MOJOs.

Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation is available to delegates in the University Guest Suite which offers en suite rooms of a high standard. Accommodation is part of the conference package. For each day booked, the conference fee includes coffee, lunch, tea and the precedings night's social and accommodation. Considerable reductions result if you book more than one day at the event. We have such a good programme that we hope to attract people for all 3 days!

Please enquire at the Conference Office if you wish to stay extra nights or require guest accommodation, social event tickets or meals.


Applications should be sent to the conference office as soon as possible. Bookings may be accompanied by the full payment, credit card details or by purchase order (but please note that this method is subject to an administration surcharge). You can also book via WWW.

Discounts & Offers

Discounted attendance is available for members of Eurographics. A student discount is also available.


If you are unable to attend but would like a copy of the proceedings, they are available for 30 pounds.


The conference will include an exhibition. Anyone wishing to receive further information on participating in this or taking advantage of other promotion possibilities should contact the local organiser.

Tutorial Programme - 24th March

The tutorial programme enables delegates to gain some in depth knowledge of an area of relevance to some of the issues relating to today's technology.

Tutorials are half day events and are being held on the first day of the conference.

Morning Tutorials

Afternoon Tutorials

Stop Press: VRML User Group

The inaugural Meeting of the UK VRML User Group is scheduled to take place 17.00 - 18.00 on 25th March. See the WWW pages for details.

Tutorials in Detail

VRML 2.0: Primitives to Animation
Chris Thornborrow (Silicon Graphics)

VRML 2.0 is the industry standard for transmitting 3D graphics across an intranet or the internet in a device independent fashion. With its origins in Open Inventor, VRML 2.0 is a high level, flexible, easy to write graphics format.

This tutorial aims to teach beginners, familiar with simple concepts of computer graphics, how to author VRML 2.0 worlds. The tutorial will cover concepts such as viewing models, transform, interpolators etc., and will then move into authoring. Authoring will cover all aspects of the VRML standard including primitives, transforms, interpolators, sensors, events, prototyping, viewing models, level of detail, audio, textures, URNs and routing.

Note that due to time constraints, scripting will be covered only briefly. All course materials will be available on the EG-UK web site including all examples, slides and a detailed guide including URL references to further study material.

Pre-requisites: Basic computer graphics knowledge, internet concepts such as URLs.

Chris Thornborrow is a graphics analyst with Silicon Graphics. His specialities are real-time graphics for simulation, entertainment and the web. He is a member of the Eurographics UK committee and heavily involved in all aspects of VRML. In his spare time Chris likes to pontificate on computer graphics over a malt whisky.

The Possible Pitfalls of DIY DTP
Terry Symonds and Geoff Sumner (Accent Graphics)

The advent of affordable and readily available DTP systems has, in recent years encouraged many people to attempt to produce their own literature. This approach has highlighted three major problem areas:

1) Illegible poorly designed literature. 2) Expensive print production mistakes. 3) Poor knowledge of applications and their specific functions (horses for courses).

Accepting the fact that many people will do the job themselves rather than approaching a professional, we have tried to address many of the common mistakes that occur.

This presentation's aim is to outline the role of photo- manipulation, graphics and layout software and provide some basic design and typographic "rules of thumb", that when applied will improve the average layout. Common pitfalls in design are highlighted and an awareness of production problems is given. The lecture will show how an actual job is put together, from design to print. Various software will be demonstrated with the emphasis on showing the capabilities of the computer and its applications, rather than tuition in specific software. The art of graphic design cannot be taught in one session, but this tutorial should leave delegates with an overview of the processes involved, and enough knowledge to make informed decisions on what can be achieved 'at home' and when professional help should be sought.

Practical Aspects of Optical Motion Capture.
Marcus Tutt (Televirtual)

Motion capture is the simple answer to any animator's dream - isn't it? Mark-up a human actor, record the data of his or her moves, and there you have it: instant animation. But is that really all there is to it? Can a few dots moving on a screen solve all the animator's problems? After all, what is the animator looking for - movements or rotations? What is the final structure of the completed animation going to be? How will the moving points be attached to the character: will it have a skeleton or merely a surface? Will it be a sophisticated 3D model - or a series of animated sprites? How will the way in which the human actor is marked up bear upon all these issues?

And how will the eventual animation be executed? Will the animator use his own rendering system or a proprietary package? Will the image be built in 3D Studio, Lightwave, Alias Wavefront or Soft Image? And is the eventual application a high-end animation for TV or Cinema, or a speed-optimised routine for a home PC? What are the consequences of these production decisions? And if the desired image does not match the human actor's form? Can it be changed? Can the image be given properties not there when the recording was made?

Marcus Tutt is head computer scientist with Televirtual, operators of one of Europe's largest optical motion capture studios. In this seminar he will demonstrate studio technique, sharing his practical experience, warning of the pitfalls - and showing the undoubted advantages of properly executed motion capture.

The Why and How of CD-ROM Production
Peter Stibbons and Neil Rowbottom (Anglia Multimedia)

Anglia Multimedia, part of the United News and Media Group, is a Norwich based company producing CD-ROMs and on-line services for the UK education and retail markets. Anglia Multimedia grew from a department of Anglia Television. Discs are produced for the PC, Mac and Acorn platforms, using Anglia's proprietary authoring system.

There will be two presenters from Anglia. Peter Stibbons, Director of Development, will cover the topic "Why CD-ROM?", with some observations on both the state of the technology and the state of the market, and an overview of the development process for a disc. Neil Rowbottom, Graphic Designer, will speak to "How CD-ROM?", and will illustrate some of the techniques used at Anglia to take forward the quality of disc design, yet continuing to provide for a wide platform base. Both sessions will include illustrative material from Anglia's current projects.

Conference Papers - 25th & 26th March

Note that the ordering of papers within each stream represents the provisional running order and we will endeavour as far as possible to maintain this order, but the organisers reserve the right to make any minor changes that are necessitated by speaker indisposition or other unforseen problems. For full programme details with timings please watch the WWW pages.

25th March, Morning

Keynote: Visualization and Multimedia: Past, Present and Future
Terry Hewitt, University of Manchester


Virtual Campus

25th March, Afternoon

VR Techniques


VR in Entertainment


26th March, Morning

Keynote: Inhabited TV: Collaborative Virtual Environments for the Consumer
Chris Greenhalgh (University of Nottingham)


VR Technologies

Rendering Techniques

Visualisation/Virtual Environments

26th March, Afternoon

Keynote: I have seen the future, and it doesn't work!
Prof John A Vince (Bournemouth University)

Keynote Papers

Inhabited TV: Collaborative Virtual Environments for the Consumer
Chris Greenhalgh, University of Nottingham

The concept of Inhabited TV goes beyond interacting with content, to actually situate the "viewers" (who are now participants) in a shared virtual world in which they are also aware of and can interact with one another. The technology to allow this can be seen developing in the field of large-scale Collaborative Virtual Environments (CVEs). The state of the art is seen in military (DIS- based) distributed training environments, in emerging VRML- based on-line graphical chat systems, and in research systems. Our own experiences of this technology include the development of two generations of CVE system, and their use for public performance, tele-conferencing and visualisation. In the light of this experience a number of key issues and challenges are seen to face the development and successful use of Inhabited TV. These include: scalability, to support thousands or even millions of simultaneous users; rich interaction, combining graphics, video, audio and other media; structuring and managing content and interaction; embodying and representing users and other entities; creating rich and appropriate content; and breaking down the barriers between virtual and "real" (physical world) activities and events.

I have seen the future, and it doesn't work!
Professor John A Vince, Bournemouth University

It is hard to believe that just over one hundred years ago Thomas Edison discovered the thermionic effect, which eventually triggered the electronic revolution. Five years after this event came Hertz's discovery of radio waves in 1888, and in an avalanche of creative research, discovery and invention we find ourselves approaching the next millennium wondering what the future holds.

There is consensus that a future society will be based upon information, its control and its dissemination; a society where it will be possible to call up any historical fact and relate it to some current problem. Today we are literally bursting with technology and ideas, and not everything will survive. The future is not just about technology - it is about preserving what is great about today, and combining it with only the best technology has to offer. This talk will explore, with the solemnity it deserves, what the future has in store for us all.

Chris Thornborrow 12/2/97