[SIGGRAPH ASIA 2011 Course]How to write a siggraph paper
How to write a SIGGRAPH paper
Reconstructed from SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 Course
Writing a paper is like
• What SIGGRAPH wants • What we have
• Right problem • Do what you love
• Novel idea • Do the best
• Solid algorithms • Randomness
• Good apps & results • Objectivity
• Clear writing • Discipline
• Engaging talk • Practice
What SIGGRAPH wants
• Right problem
• What people care right now
• Novel ideas
• Do not do incremental stuff
• Think big, be creative (not easy)
• Solid algorithms
• aka technical contribution
• Knowledge is power; study hard, be evil
• Good applications
• Give people what they need
• Good results/effects
• Work hard (in demos)
• Good writing
• You can’t sell what you can’t tell
• It is all about bullshit
• Do what people care
• Do what people don’t hate
• Many interesting/cute problems in graphics
• Pick what you love
• Don’t be afraid of difficult problems
• Less competition
• Be brave
• Don’t do incremental stuff
• You are wasting your time
• Aim for the best
• Read as many as possible(SIGGRAPH, geometry,
• Results/demos are important! Technically awesome.
• Something the state-of-the-art cannot do
• Comparison are often unavoidable
• Most algorithms are modified from others
• Read a lot of papers
• Don’t expect to get everything right on 1st try
• Expect failures
• Blog, love letters, etc
• Good writing takes time; don’t wait until the end
• Have others read your drafts
• It is hard to see what you know while others
• From areas you know into other areas you don’t know.
• Detailed deformation Image warping
• Captcha Image emerging
• Adopt from other field into your expertise
• L1 median Image enhancing, filtering and surface
• Machine learning 3D analysis
• Mean-value coordinate Image editing, cloning
• Expansion of an existing area
• Seam carving for image For video
• 2D vector texture 3D vector volume texture
• Identify new phenomena recently appeared, and employ
• Photo explosion on web Scene completing using
web searching, ``Sketch2photo”, photo tourism
• Popularity of Wii Kinect
techniques and apply
• Internet Image completion Surface completion
• Computational photography Kinect
• High-performance Computing Mechanical Turk
a Known Problem
• Synthesis large texture from small texture Abstract from
large texture to small texture (Inversed texture synthesis!)
• Detect an object in the image Hide classified information
in the image
• Image Colorization Image Grayization
Practical Tips for
• Clear and neat notation
• Always define all symbols
• Give equation numbers
• Assume nothing, explain everything
How to get away
• Make sure you speak the language of the community
• Do your homework-learn previous work
• Use common terminology
Writing: get help
and learn from experienced people
• Contribution/page radio
• Single idea: 4 pages
• 1.5 ideas: 6 pages
• 2 ideas: >8 pages
• Schedule your projects as early as possible
• The best of luck && Take care of your health~~
If you are not highly experienced, you’d group with other 2~6
Live as Baining
• 1986: firstly heard CG
• 1988: live with Eric Haines
• 1989: met Dani Lischinski
• 1990: attended D.Greenberg’s Graphics course
• 1996: firstly attend SIGGRAPH conference
• 1998: first SIGGRAPH paper
• 1999 ~ now: more SIGGRAPH papers,
• And much more rejected ones.
• Advance in each field we do research
• Transfer new technologies into products
• Ensure your lab a future!
• Good ideas grow from killing bad ideas
• Kill false or mediocre projects
• Be ruthless
• Focus on one high-quality work
• Walk the fine line of greatness and stupidity
• “Fail fast” you should!
• If you feel trapped in your idea, usually it would be a
As you start
• Break writer’s block, start with the body
• From text to structures:
• Relentlessly focus on what you’ve done and never try
to impress everyone
• Structure, structure, structure…
• Be concise: “Appendix test”!
• One section for one person if you are working as a
group (hope you’re not writing alone!)
• Have you provided references or justification for
whatever you stated?
• For things difficult to evaluate mathematically, have
you provided a user study?
• Does your method have a lot of practical
applications? Are they surprisingly fresh or just
• Can’t your results be more pleasing?
• Don’t copy conclusion from abstract.
• Here you’d have some more deeper view!
• Never praise your own work!
• Not “we present an elegant algorithm…”
• Don’t (intentionally or unintentionally) hide problems!
• Realize the problem and try to fix that (either in your
paper or in your future work), not elude from that.
What if Rejected?
• Never forget the long term review
• Building a career is a long process.
• Your physical and mental health come first.
• Sustained good performance comes next.
• Always act professionally.
• Drastic local events are not big deals in long term.
What if Rejected?
• So have a good rest!
• Don’t bet your career on a SIGGRAPH paper!
• Inspired by the reviews?
• Mature work?
• Find your champions and get the work out ASAP.
• Again anchor your decision on analysis of your work
Live with rejections
• Do what you love, so that you won’t mind
• Treat rejections as normal and routine
• Life is not as fun without failures (I mean it)
Learn from your
• You CAN learn from rejections
• Learn to listen to your reviews, and filter out their outliers.
• Learn to listen to your friends.
The review Form
• Did the reviewer understand what the paper is about?
• Contribution scope: How important is your work? Is widely applicable?
Is there abundant analysis?
• Contribution magnitude: amount of novelty, originality.
• If the paper is poorly written, it always get rejection no matter how
good the idea is.
• It’s your responsibility to ensure the reviewers understand your paper,
make their job easier!
• Be kind/fair, avoid insulting previous methods!
• Completeness, mention important implementation details, constant
• Make sure you demonstrate/discuss any drawbacks or limitations
The importance of
the Introduction cannot be more estimated
• “Uneducated guess”: in over 90% the reviewers will have
made up his mind while reading Introduction.
• What the paper is about?
• What problems does it address?
• Why should the reader care?
• Demonstrate the problem solving
• Show the shortcomings of existing methods
• Visual aids to help explain
• Demonstrate the quality
• The reviewers should understand just from figures &
• Always keeping promises
• Never over/understate
• Make a balance between your and previous work
• Be through, be fair, and support your claim about
their shortcomings, never write a laundry list for
• In your results, you’d point out benefit. Don’t assume the
• In your conclusions, re-iterate limitations for future work
and summarize what you’ve achieved.
Start trying when you are 22-25 years old
Failure with first couple of tries
Your first happiest day of your life!
Afterwards, life settling into a routine …
ROAD TO 1ST SIG PAPER
Like your first love
• Idealistic: beautiful, even sexy, pretty name …
• The hardest to get few “love at first sight”
• Devote your passion and patience
Do not sue me …
• Be a little bit careful if you are married
• It helps to be single …
• or Chinese: new year always after deadline!
• Learn from and work with the experts
• They know
• What is a SIGGRAPH-able idea
• How to make a SIGGRAPH paper
• How to do that in an industrial lab
• How to write a SIGGRAPH paper
• One who can finish
• Smart and hard-working
• No genius needs execution
• One who can pay attention to details
• One who has the sense of aesthetics
• One One who write,notleast the technical week!
who can does at wait until the last parts
• Not an exact match with your expertise
• Those who complement you
• Machine learning, statistics, optimization
• Differential geometry
• Those who brings you surprising problems
• Architects, artists, designers …
• Engineers or manufacturers from all industries …
Mindset: love it!
• Enjoy the thrill of getting a SIGGRAPH paper
• Even a bit of an addition
• Show joy, not bitterness
• Be optimistic
• Which is harder?
• Beautiful and polished images/results/videos
• Brilliant presentation
• A cool and new idea
• Comprehensive evaluation
• Luck can lead you to an idea, but not the others!
• For those, you need A LOT of patience
Mindset: have fun
• “Fun with shapes”
• Have your family enjoy it
• Buy more time on your submission
• Make SIGGRAPH papers your love
• Find the right people, mindset, and problem
• Keep exploring the more unknown
• Shape understanding
• Creative modeling and design
• When writing, try really hard to make your point
But really …
• There is no single recipe
To think there is a single type of problem that will
make SIGGRAPH is like thinking there is one type of
people who is going to be the love of your life!
my quote imitated from Edgar Dijkstra
• It is about you …
Do only what only you can do! Edgar Dijkstra
Do what you love
• All other factors are ephemeral
• Trend, popularity, hotness, …
• More likely to be productive and successful
• You will spend a lot of time on your stuff
• Less likely regret in the worst case (e.g. reject)
• At least you have fun
• Start your own stuff
• It is like investing; followers are already late
• Life is too short
Do the best
• Graphics → SIGGRAPH
• Vision → CVPR, ICCV
• Hard work anyway; so go for the jugular
• Happier if succeed, less sad if fail
• Life is too short
Randomness in accept/reject
deterministic quality bar stochastic quality zone
Monte Carlo Sampling
• Life long intrinsic acceptance rate r = x%
• r seems 0 if the first paper got rejected
• r seems 1 if the first paper got accepted
• Need more samples!
• (be patient, and try more.)
• Humans are biased Score by others
Score by you
• Optimistic → self
• Pessimistic → others
• Get feedbacks
• Early & frequent
• Self criticism Paper by you Paper by others
Don’t get mad
• (a few) nasty reviewers might exist
• Useless to get upset
• Get even!
• Assume reviewers are going to kill your paper
• Humans are lazy
• Research is a craft; learn through practice
write experi- create
• A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
• Practice the weakest link
Cause of rejection
• Long term productivity depends on happiness
• Live healthy and happy
• Sleep, exercise, eat, social life, …
• Creativity depends on happiness
• I got all my ideas outside office
• Be nice and positive to others
• Especially in conferences & reviews
WELCOME TO SIGGRAPH 2013
You won’t be in time if you haven’t written your paper for
Danny Cohen-Or SIGGRAPH/Asia 2012…
Baining Guo Liyi Wei Olga Sorkine Kun Zhou Hao Zhang