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Thing: Introducing a Tablet-based Interaction Technique for Controlling 3D Hand Models

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Published on Mar 12, 2015

The hands of virtual characters are highly complex 3D models that can be tedious and time-consuming to animate with current methods. This paper introduces THING, a novel tablet-based approach that leverages multi-touch interaction for a quick and precise control of a 3D hand’s pose. The flexion/extension and abduction/adduction of the virtual fingers can be controlled for each finger individually or for several fingers in parallel through sliding motions on the tablet’s surface.

We designed two variants of THING: (1) MobileTHING, which maps the spatial location and orientation of the tablet to that of the virtual hand, and (2) DesktopTHING, which combines multi-touch controls of fingers with traditional mouse controls for the hand’s global position and orientation. We compared the usability of THING against mouse-only controls and a data glove in two controlled experiments. Results show that DesktopTHING was significantly preferred by users while providing performance similar to data gloves. Together, these results could pave the way to the introduction of novel hybrid user interfaces based on tablets and computer mice in future animation pipelines.

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