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Durham e-Theses
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Stereoscopic Sketchpad: 3D Digital Ink

CORLETT, SIMON,CHRISTIAN (2011) Stereoscopic Sketchpad: 3D Digital Ink. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This project looked at the development of a stereoscopic 3D environment in which a user is able to draw freely in all three dimensions. The main focus was on the storage and manipulation of the ‘digital ink’ with which the user draws. For a drawing and sketching package to be effective it must not only have an easy to use user interface, it must be able to handle all input data quickly and efficiently so that the user is able to focus fully on their drawing.

When it comes to sketching in three dimensions the majority of applications currently available rely on vector based drawing methods. This is primarily because the applications are designed to take a users two dimensional input and transform this into a three dimensional model. Having the sketch represented as vectors makes it simpler for
the program to act upon its geometry and thus convert it to a model. There are a number of methods to achieve this aim including Gesture Based Modelling, Reconstruction and Blobby Inflation. Other vector based applications focus on the creation of curves allowing the user to draw within or on existing 3D models. They also allow the user to create wire frame type models. These stroke based applications bring the user closer to traditional sketching rather than the more structured modelling methods detailed.

While at present the field is inundated with vector based applications mainly focused upon sketch-based modelling there are significantly less voxel based applications. The majority of these applications focus on the deformation and sculpting of voxmaps, almost the opposite of drawing and sketching, and the creation of three dimensional voxmaps from standard two dimensional pixmaps. How to actually sketch freely within a scene represented by a voxmap has rarely been explored. This comes as a surprise when so many of the standard 2D drawing programs in use today are pixel based.

As part of this project a simple three dimensional drawing program was designed and implemented using C and C++. This tool is known as Sketch3D and was created using a Model View Controller (MVC) architecture. Due to the modular nature of Sketch3Ds system architecture it is possible to plug a range of different data structures into the program to represent the ink in a variety of ways. A series of data structures have been implemented and were tested for efficiency. These structures were a simple list, a 3D array, and an octree. They have been tested for: the time it takes to insert or remove points from the structure; how easy it is to manipulate points once they are stored; and also how the number of points stored effects the draw and rendering times.

One of the key issues brought up by this project was devising a means by which a user is able to draw in three dimensions while using only two dimensional input devices. The method settled upon and implemented involves using the mouse or a digital pen to sketch as one would in a standard 2D drawing package but also linking the up and down keyboard keys to the current depth. This allows the user to move in and out of the scene as they draw. A couple of user interface tools were also developed to assist the user. A 3D cursor was implemented and also a toggle, which when on, highlights all of the points intersecting the depth plane on which the cursor currently resides. These tools allow the user to see exactly where they are drawing in relation to previously drawn lines.

The tests conducted on the data structures clearly revealed that the octree was the most effective data structure. While not the most efficient in every area, it manages to avoid the major pitfalls of the other structures. The list was extremely quick to render and draw to the screen but suffered severely when it comes to finding and manipulating points already stored. In contrast the three dimensional array was able to erase or manipulate points effectively while the draw time rendered the structure effectively useless, taking huge amounts of time to draw each frame.

The focus of this research was on how a 3D sketching package would go about storing
and accessing the digital ink. This is just a basis for further research in this area and many
issues touched upon in this paper will require a more in depth analysis. The primary area of
this future research would be the creation of an effective user interface and the introduction
of regular sketching package features such as the saving and loading of images.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:stereoscopic; 3D; sketch; octree
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of (2008-2017)
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Aug 2017 11:19

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