BalloonProbe: Reducing Occlusion in 3D using Interactive Space Distortion
Paper in proceedings, 2005
Using a 3D virtual environment for information visualization is a promising approach, but can in many cases be plagued by a phenomenon of literally not being able to see the forest for the trees. Some parts of the 3D visualization will inevitably occlude other parts, leading both to loss of efficiency and, more seriously, correctness; users may have to change their viewpoint in a non-trivial way to be able to access hidden objects, and, worse, they may not even discover some of the objects in the visualization due to this inter-object occlusion. In this paper, we present a space distortion interaction technique called the BalloonProbe which, on the users command, inflates a spherical force field that repels objects around the 3D cursor to the surface of the sphere, separating occluding objects from each other. Inflating and deflating the sphere is performed through smooth animation, ghosted traces showing the displacement of each repelled object. Our prototype implementation uses a 3D cursor for positioning as well as for inflating and deflating the force field balloon. Informal testing suggests that the BalloonProbe is a powerful way of giving users interactive control over occlusion in 3D visualizations.
3D space distortion