An Extensible System For Physically-based Virtual Camera Control Using Rotational Motion Capture
Huebel, Robert Shelby
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An important characteristic of any well-designed system is user interface design. Even in extremely complex systems with high learning curves, a designer?s goal is to create an interface that is simple to use and that feels natural, while at the same time allowing the user full access to all of the system?s functionality. In the field of visual effects and computer animation, effective manipulation of the virtual camera is essential to any successful production. In most cases, the virtual camera is manipulated with standard input devices such as the mouse and keyboard. This thesis presents an alternative user interface design for virtual cameras using physical controls. This thesis describes an extensible system which offers physically-based, real-time virtual camera control in a commercial 3D software package by means of rotational motion capture. The system described is composed of both programmed physical hardware and a software application. The physical hardware consists of multiple analog sensors programmed to work in conjunction to detect rotation about the de- vice?s three axes. The software application interprets the data sent from the physical hardware into a form a 3D software package can use to manipulate a virtual cam- era, while also providing additional functionality for the motion capture and camera manipulation processes. This thesis constructs the physical motion-sensing device using only affordable, commercially-available parts. The software components of the system use freely available programming languages and development environments. The system possesses the ability to be expanded upon to add additional functionality or modify existing components, in order for it to be flexible enough for numerous applications. The result of this research is a working prototype system that captures pitch, roll, and yaw motions that mimic actual physical motions performed by the user. The workflow provided by the system allows for quick iterations and facilitates an inter- active control scheme for the virtual camera that traditional mouse-and-keyboard techniques cannot.