Interactive Diagrams of Complex 3D Objects

   Scott Jenson    Maneesh Agrawala, UC Berkeley Computer Science

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University March 9, 2007

Diagrams are essential for communicating the structure of complex 3D objects such as mechanical assemblies, architectural environments and biological organisms.  Yet, creating illustrations that clearly depict the structural relationships between the parts of such objects is not an easy task. The primary problem is occlusion -- important interior structures are often hidden by opaque exterior surfaces. Therefore, illustrators use conventions such as exploded views, cutaways, ghosting (i.e. varying the transparency of the occluder), and hidden-object stylization (i.e. varying the rendering style of the hidden object) to reduce or eliminate occlusions and reveal internal parts. In this talk I'll present several interactive systems that are based on these design conventions and make it easy to generate illustrative diagrams of complex 3D objects.  

Maneesh Agrawala is Assistant Professor in the Visualization Lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests are visualization, human computer interaction and computer graphics. For the last several years he has been investigating the techniques and principles graphic designers use to improve the effectiveness of visualizations. The goals of this work are to discover the cognitive design principles and then instantiate them in automated design tools. This approach was demonstrated LineDrive, an automated system that uses visual abstraction techniques to create highly effective route maps. LineDrive maps are currently available at Mappoint Driving Directions.

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