3D models are at the core of many important applications from industry, science, and also entertainment. The creation of 3D models is a complex and time consuming process. Current modeling tools are hard to learn and require a deep understanding of the underlying mathematical models. Furthermore, established input devices like the mouse and keyboard do not utilize the full interaction potential – especially regarding bimanual control – of the human hand. The growing interest and the commercial breakthrough of multi-touch displays and interactive surfaces raises questions about their potential in the context of 3d modeling, which are thoroughly discussed and evaluated in this work.
The presented approach is closely aligned to the whole processing chain for multi-touch applications, starting with the hardware and tracking issues, continuing with fundamental design discussions and operations like selection and 3D manipulation of objects and finishing with complex modeling techniques and metaphors.
In regard to hardware and tracking, a robust illumination setup for the diffuse illumination technique is presented along with two extensions of this approach, i.e., hover detection and hand distinction. The design space is organized into specific design dimensions characterized by extremal positions to allow a better overview of design choices and a classification of existing and future systems. Fundamental techniques for selection and integrated 3D manipulation with six degrees of freedom are presented and empirically evaluated. Finally, two established modeling techniques – implicit surfaces and virtual sculpting – are extended and evaluated for multi-touch input.
Keywords: 3d modeling, multi-touch, selection, interaction, implicit surfaces, virtual sculpting