Conveying and Analyzing Shapes: From Art to Science

Alla Sheffer
University of British Columbia

Humans have developed multiple ways to communicate about both tangible and abstract shape properties. Artists and designers can quickly and effectively convey complex shapes to a broad audience using traditional mediums such as paper, while both experts and the general public can analyze and agree on intangible shape properties such as style or aesthetics. While perception research provides some clues as to the mental processes involved, concrete and quantifiable explanations of this process are still lacking.

Our recent line of research aims to quantify the geometric properties and tools involved in shape communication and analysis, and to develop algorithms that successfully replicate human abilities in this domain. In my talk I will survey our efforts in this domain - describing methods for creation of 3D looking shaded production drawings from concept sketches; sketch based modeling algorithms that automatically create complex 3D shapes from artist-generated line drawings in a range of domains, including industrial design, character modeling, and garment design; and methods for style analysis and transfer for both engineered shapes and garments. The common thread in these approaches is the use of insights derived from perception and design literature combined with subsequent perceptual validation via a range of user studies.

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