Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Compositing Visualization Tools for Improving Design Decisions: These New Modes of Visualization Allow for a Greater Understanding of the Product, Provide Another Platform for Discussion between All Participants, and Attempt to Portray the Intended Design or Idea in the Closest-to-Reality Manner as Possible

Academic journal article The Technology Teacher

Compositing Visualization Tools for Improving Design Decisions: These New Modes of Visualization Allow for a Greater Understanding of the Product, Provide Another Platform for Discussion between All Participants, and Attempt to Portray the Intended Design or Idea in the Closest-to-Reality Manner as Possible

Article excerpt

Today's designers deal with a range of communication modes. These modes vary from hand gestures to sketches, physical models, and computer-generated images. It has been the norm to use these mediums throughout the process to visualize the intended design so that the potential users, designers, team members, and clients can understand the end result.

However, each of these mediums has its own affordances. Depending upon the scale of the object, the level of resolution, and many other aesthetic factors, there exist possible visualization opportunities to realistically portray a final result. The field of industrial design is seeing great potential in green-screen compositing and QuickTime VR.

Though these computer techniques are somewhat common in the movie and animation profession, in-depth use and application has not yet been fully realized in industrial design. Our initial discoveries have proven to be extremely successful. Computer animated compositing provides highly efficient methods of presenting large-scale products and environments. QuickTime VR has enormous potential for representing a 3-D object from inside or out--and from various axial perspectives. We have found that these new modes of visualization and communication have a medium barrier to entry--an essential component to any resource-limited institution or company. Beyond this, the potential and the extent of each visualization mode are extremely effective on several practical levels.

This paper will discuss the techniques we've used for specific product and project applications. It will also address how these methods can be used to enhance and complement traditional design mediums and processes. More importantly, we're hoping others will have more contributions and research in relation to these techniques. Without recognizing new methods for communicating and visualizing, we cannot improve on our own ideas, decisions, products, or environment.

Rationale

Our experimentation for new visualization techniques surface much like a design problem. For various large-scale products and different projects, we found traditional mediums (such as 2-D sketches, 3-D mockups, and basic computer presentations) lacked the ability to communicate our original design intent. In addition to this primary reason, we lack appropriate resources, time, space, material, and funds for many of the grand and complex project tasks. To address these issues, industrial design students and faculty have made these challenges a part of our research and methodology to find solutions that meet our design and resource requirements. The two major visualization techniques the paper will discuss are: computer green-screen compositing and QuickTimeVR. Each of these technological techniques is common within other industries, such as the entertainment industry and VRML/3-D Web publishing.

However, as industrial designers, we are finding this particular technology to be useful for communication and visualization between team members, clients, and the end users. These new modes of visualization allow for a greater understanding of the product, provide another platform for discussion between all participants, and attempt to portray the intended design or idea in the closest-to-reality manner possible. Along with these attributes, the techniques are not expert-based systems. As mentioned earlier, industrial design is concerned with efficiency. Efficiency translates to being able to plan, execute, and present without the need of programming, technical expertise, and unique or expensive equipment. The barrier-to-entry on both of these visualization methods is attainable to all designers without much specialized equipment or training.

Our Stories

The use of virtual computer-animated compositing was initiated in the industrial design department for a collaborative project to design and build a functioning medical magnetic resonance imaging machine (MRI), (Figure 1; reference (1) for specific project details). …

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