Vector Field-Based Tools for Virtual Sculpting


Virtual sculpting allows an artist or user to interactively shape and refine a three-dimensional computer model much the same way a sculptor would shape clay. Using this metaphor, a virtual sculptor would employ software tools such as a virtual knife or chisel to manipulate the model. Since the tools a virtual sculptor uses are the primary interface to the model, it is essential that those tools be effective, user-friendly, flexible, and extensible. We propose two sets of virtual sculpting tools that meet these criteria, both based on vector fields. It has been shown that vector fields can provide the basis for useful virtual sculpting tools. 1 Building on that previous work, our first set of tools utilizes a vector field algebra to combine simple vector fields into composite fields, which then drive composite tools for sculpting. Such composite tools are shown to be effective in the sculpting metaphor. The second set of tools give the sculptor a simple and efficient way to place a skin around a geometric skeleton of graphic primitives. These tools employ octrees to approximate a vector field “skinning ” function that is somewhat akin to shrink-wrapping. The octrees provide the sculptor real-time performance of the skinning action and permit access to intermediate polymorphisms of the skin. 1

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