Designing a Professional Multitouch Tool for Constructing Virtual Organic Environments

Kenrick Kin,Tom Miller,Björn Bollensdorff,Tony DeRose,Björn Hartmann,Maneesh Agrawala
ACM Human Factors in Computing Systems (2011)


Set construction is the process of selecting and positioning virtual geometric objects to create a virtual environment used in a computer-animated film. Set construction artists often have a clear mental image of the set composition, but find it tedious to build their intended sets with current mouse and keyboard interfaces. We investigate whether multitouch input can ease the process of set construction. Working with a professional set construction artist at Pixar Animation Studios, we designed and developed Eden, a fully functional multitouch set construction application. In this paper, we describe our design process and how we balanced the advantages and disadvantages of multitouch input to develop usable gestures for set construction. Based on our design process and the user experiences of two set construction artists, we present a general set of lessons we learned regarding the design of a multitouch interface.