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Scientific Sketching for Collaborative VR Visualization Design

Journal Article

Scientific Sketching for Collaborative VR Visualization Design. Daniel F. Keefe, Daniel Acevedo, Jadrian Miles, Fritz Drury, Sharon M. Swartz, David H. Laidlaw. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (2008) Volume 14, Number 4 pp. 835–847


We present four studies investigating tools and methodologies for artist-scientist-technologist collaboration in designing multivariate, virtual reality (VR) visualizations. Design study 1 identifies the promise of 3D interfaces for rapid VR design and also establishes limitations of the particular tools tested with respect to precision and support for animation. Design study 2 explores animating artist-created visualization designs with scientific 3D fluid flow data. While results captured an accurate sense of flow that was advantageous as compared to the results of study 1, potential for visual exploration using the design tools tested was limited. Design study 3 reveals the importance of a new 3D interface that overcomes the precision limitation found in study 1 while remaining accessible to artist collaborators. Drawing upon previous results, design study 4 engages collaborative teams in a design process that begins with traditional paper sketching and moves to animated, interactive, VR prototypes “sketched” by designers in VR using interactive 3D tools. Conclusions from these four studies identify important characteristics of effective artist-accessible VR visualization design tools and lead to a proposed, formalized methodology for successful collaborative design that we expect to be useful in guiding future collaborations. We call this proposed methodology Scientific Sketching.