3D Modeling Tool Enhancements for Polyphenism Study
Larry QuantzOral Defence Date:
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - 11:00Location:
Professors Yoon and Okada
3D models are a foundation of modern computer graphics. Combined with appropriate lighting, colors and textures, a 3D model conveys information that assists in the perception of figures and shapes. Medical imaging, animated movies and special effects, architecture and mechanical engineering are a few fields that rely heavily on the concept. While some branches of science (chemical studies and medical imaging for example) have a lengthy history involving 3D graphics, the life sciences have recently developed new demands for 3D graphics as core research tools. One of the bottlenecks in the development in these tools is the difficulty in creating and manipulating scientifically accurate 3D models using conventional modeling tools such as Maya or 3D Studio MAX. This paper will focus on the extension of a previously designed 3D modeling toolkit that was built with scientists and those not trained in conventional computer modeling in mind. The toolkit employs a trace & sketch-based paradigm whereby a generic 3D model is traced by the user (as would be done with paper and pencil on a sketch pad) in conjunction with two dimensional orthographic images, and resized to match the traced outline. Through sequential iterations of the sketch-resize action, a final 3D model matching the user’s specification is achieved. In this way, domain experts on the subject being modeled can focus their attention on their work instead of learning a complicated modeling package. The toolkit has been extended by this author to provide additional features for a specific audience: the Biology department at San Francisco State and their Polyphenism in Bioinformatics study. Whereas the original toolkit was built with proof-of-concept and academic considerations in mind, this extension focuses on ease of use improvements and calculations and analysis tools useful for researchers. These modifications form the bulk of this project.