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Published April 30, 2001 | Submitted
Report Open

Surface Drawing


We present Surface Drawing, a medium which provides direct control over the creation of a wide range of intricate shapes. Surface Drawing addresses several key issues in creative expression and perceptual thinking by providing a direct link between the motions of the hand and the forging of shapes. Surfaces are created by moving a hand, instrumented with a special glove, through space in a semi-immersive 3D display and interaction environment (the Responsive Workbench). This technique allows both novices and experts to create intricate forms without the perceptual constraints of a rigid mathematical structure, large toolset, or a reduction of modeling to editing. In Surface Drawing the design space can be freely explored during the modeling process without the need to plan the construction of the final shape. In particular it supports unconstrained erasing and buildup of new geometry. This is achieved through the use of a novel incremental construction method for triangulated meshes, the Cookie Cutter algorithm. It allows the user to freely grow, join, and erase surfaces based on hand motions. We report on our experiences with the system and present results created by artists and designers exploring problems in industrial design, character design, and fine art.

Additional Information

This work would not have been possible without many members of the Caltech community, most notably David Kremers, who drew the gestures in Figure 11, the iris in Figure 12, the leaves in Figure 13 and the torso and soaring bird in Figure 16. Kremers also provided many suggestions, including the use of the finger to add detail. Khrysaundt Koenig was an invaluable aid in the preparation of this document, most notably in the lighting and rendering of the gestures, iris, leaves, chair and sofa in Figures 11- 15. She also drew all of the human hands which appear throughout this report. Everett Kane, of Art Center College of Design, produced suggestions and constructive criticism in the early stages of the work. Mathieu Desbrun, Dan Fain, Zoë Wood, Al Barr, and Jim Barry graciously provided long conversations which guided the development of this project. Support for this work was provided by generous industrial gifts of Design Works/USA and Alias|Wavefront, and research funding from NSF (ACI-9721349), AFOSR (F49620-96-1-0471), ONR (N00014-97-1-0387), and DOE (W-7405-ENG-48).

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Submitted - CSTR99.pdf

Submitted - postscript.ps


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