Rob @ TED

Presenting a glimpse of Imageworks’ recent lighting innovations to the TED2009 audience was quite an experience.


My presentation was a small part of session #4 entitled, “SEE”.  I showed how light is handled in computer graphics and how it’s changed in the past 10 years.  Since the days of Stuart Little, we’ve progressed from a crude, layer-based approach to a more refined and accurate model which accurately captures area lights and global illumination–and we’ve made it hundreds of times faster at the same time.  To illustrate our progress, I  got to unveil a 45 second clip from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  It was warmly received.

I left the conference challenged and inspired.  A few things I took away:

  1. At TED, it seems you’re on a first name basis with everyone who attends.  Introductions are easy (facilitated by the large first names on the conference badges) and connections seem mutual.  A truly inviting community.
  2. That said, TED has a very intimidating stage!
  3. I expected to meet earth-shaking CEO’s (and plenty attend TED) but I met an equal number in charge of earth-changing non-profits.  From digging wells in Africa, to educators from around the world, it’s an amazing slice of some of the best the world has to offer.
  4. I felt pretty good about giving a 3 minute presentation when Al Gore squeezed his environmental update into a 5 minute slot.
  5. It’s legit.  TED isn’t just about people giving inspiring presentations, but about people making real connections to make a positive impact in the world.  Cool.

For a taste of one of the best presentations at this year’s TED, watch Elizabeth Gilbert on “genius” for 19 minutes.  The author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about the source of creative inspiration.  Although I’m not sure if her view of God is the same as mine, it seems her life experiences have pointed her towards truth.  I was inspired.

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