Representing information using parametric visual effects on groupware avatars
Parametric visual effects such as texture generation and shape grammars can be controlled to produce visually perceptible variation. This variation can be rendered on avatars in groupware systems in real time to represent user information in online environments. This type of extra information has been shown to enrich recognition and characterization, but has previously been limited to iconic representations. Modern, highly graphical virtual worlds require more naturalistic and stylistically consistent techniques to represent information. A number of different parametric texture generation techniques are considered and a set of texture characteristics are developed. The variations of these texture characteristics are examined in a study to determine how well users can recognize the visual changes in each. Another study is done to determine how much screen space is required for users to recognize these visual changes in a subset of these texture characteristics. Additionally, an example shape generation system is developed as an example of how shape grammars and L-systems can be used to represent information using a space ship metaphor. These different parametric visual effects are implemented in an example prototype system using space ships. This prototype is a complete functioning groupware application developed in XNA that utilizes many parametric texture and shape effects.
avatar, rich embodiment, texture, information visualization, L-system, shape grammar, groupware
Master of Science (M.Sc.)