A Pen-Based Interactive Animation Environment for Effective Communication using a Tablet PC
Holman Jr, Jerome Thomas
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The human mind is a churning engine, processing all forms of sensory input. Information that reaches these senses is powerful, facilitating and deepening understanding. Animations access sight. They provide a rich visual model that portrays not only information about the system graphically, but they also present information about the relationships and interactions in that model over time. However, the complexity of today's software for constructing animations limits their use and isolates animations to a small set of scenarios. One such eliminated scenario is being able to create and manipulate animations in real time, while a conversation takes place. The human mind comprehends from manipulation, trial, and error. Animations are productions. Instructors cannot manipulate and recreate animations within the time constraints of a classroom. Developers cannot recreate animations within the time constraints of a meeting. This thesis explores the engineering of a modeling environment prototype for creating animated models. By building an environment designed to leverage the capabilities of Microsoft's Tablet PC operating system, this thesis contributes a new approach to creating animations and visualizations. This prototype demonstrates a pen-based user interface that decreases the time and effort required to create an animation by enabling users to create an animation by simply drawing a model and animating it. The Tablet PC hardware and software provide developers with the capabilities necessary to create software that works as naturally as the pen and paper. With the Tablet PC's Ink technology, users can draw models and simply draw the paths where the objects in that model should follow. This thesis explores the design of the environment, the research prototype named Model Pad, and explores its importance, its contribution, and its unique design based on the capabilities of the Tablet PC. As mobile computers become increasingly central to the workplace, the ability to create animations quickly and easily while talking with others, while presenting in front of an audience or a class, or while working with a team of engineers allows animation to become a natural part of the way we visually communicate information. The Model Pad environment is merely a first step in the direction of creating fully pen-based modeling and animation tools. The concepts it builds form the foundation of understanding how to express animations that are more complex. This thesis and the Model Pad environment provide the initial framework for building pen-based animation tools on the Tablet PC, allowing simple models to be expressed in methods as simple as using a pen and paper. This solution enables people to construct simple models in real time, enabling a rebirth of the power of animation for education and engineering design.
- Masters Theses