Interactive Illustrations for Visualizing Complex 3D Models

Wilmot Li

Adobe Research

David Salesin

Adobe Research &University of Washington

Lincoln Ritter

TalentSpring & University of Washington

Maneesh Agrawala

University of California, Berkeley

Brian Curless

University of Washington


Complex 3D models with many internal parts arise in several important domains, including industrial manufacturing, architecture, and medicine. Illustrations of such models are often essential for conveying the spatial relationships between the constituent parts that make up these datasets. We present techniques for authoring and viewing interactive illustrations of such models that incorporate conventions from traditional scientific and technical illustration. We have incorporated these techniques into two prototype illustration systems: the 3D cutaway views system generates dynamic, browsable cutaway illustrations from 3D input models, and the 3D exploded views system generates interactive exploded views from 3D models. The contributions of this work include a formal survey of illustration conventions for creating effective cutaways and exploded views, as well as new algorithmic encodings of these conventions that enable interactive tools for cutting and exploding 3D objects. We have tested our systems on a variety of CAD and anatomical models, and our results demonstrate that our approach can be used to create and view effective interactive illustrations for a variety of complex objects with little user effort.

Project Publications

Automated Generation of Interactive 3D Exploded View Diagrams

Wi, L., Agrawala, M., Curless, B., Salesin, D. (Aug. 15, 2008)
ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH) , 27(3), 101:1-101:7

Interactive Cutaway Illustrations of Complex 3D Models

Li, W., Ritter, L., Agrawala, M., Curless, B., Salesin, D. (Aug. 28, 2007)
ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH) , 26(3), 31:1–31:11