Metaphors for visualization

  • Alex Pang
  • Michael Clifton
Part of the Eurographics book series (EUROGRAPH)


This paper investigates the use of several common objects such as spray cans, flashlights, carving knives, and others as metaphors for visualization. The motivation behind this work is to provide an intuitive and natural 3D interface such that users will view these objects as tools during the visualization process. To help achieve this goal, the selection of the object tools are derived from expressions commonly used during visualization. For example, “let’s paint this (iso)surface red”; “cut away the front part of that volume”; “look at it from this angle”; “you get similar effects from an x-ray photo”; and “let’s explore this data set”. In this paper, we also extend the metaphor of cutting planes to allow users to carve non-planar cross-sectional cuts through their data sets. This extension will directly benefit applications such as medical visualization where one might want to generate curved coronal cross-sections of lumbar spines; and in oceanography where one might want to compare numerical model output against data obtained along non-planar ship tracks.


Index Finger Computer Graphic Hand Posture Hand Gesture Finger Flexion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Pang
    • 1
  • Michael Clifton
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer and Information Sciences BoardUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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