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Kitty: Sketching Dynamic and Interactive Illustrations

Rubaiat Habib, Fanny Chevalier, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice

ACM Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology
2014

I believe that dynamic pictures will someday be the primary medium for visual art and visual explanations.

Kitty is a sketch-based tool for authoring dynamic and interactive illustrations. Artists can sketch animated drawings and textures to convey the living phenomena, and specify the functional relationship between its entities to characterize the dynamic behavior of systems and environments. As the viewer interacts with the resulting dynamic interactive illustration, the parameters of the drawing change accordingly, depicting the dynamics and chain of causal effects within a scene.

This children book illustration captures the dynamics of the scene and changes as a child interacts with it. (Art: Rubaiat Habib)

I believe that dynamic pictures will someday be the primary medium for visual art and visual explanations.

<a href="http://worrydream.com/DynamicPicturesMotivation/">Bret Victor</a>, ,

A dynamic comic strip (authored with Kitty) illustrates the changes in the scene as the viewer interacts with the plant and clock.


Design

To specify the interactive behavior of entities, Kitty relies on an underlying relational graph structure, where nodes correspond to the entities and edges represent the functional correspondence between the entities' parameters. Kitty displays this graph in the context of the illustration, and authors can specify edges and their associated functions through freeform sketching. This enables an intuitive interaction, without requiring any programming or scripting.

Sketching a path between the source object node (the egg) and the target emitting texture node (soup splash), creates a relation between the two visual entities. Upon creation, the relation control widget (radial menus and mapping function widget) are made visible. The artist selects the parameters for the relation, then directly sketches the mapping function. The splash then occurs only when the egg hits the surface. The cat is drawn in likeliness of Simon't Cat, used with permission.

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Abstract

We present Kitty, a sketch-based tool for authoring dynamic and interactive illustrations. Artists can sketch animated drawings and textures to convey the living phenomena, and specify the functional relationship between its entities to characterize the dynamic behavior of systems and environments. An underlying graph model, customizable through sketching, captures the functional relationships between the visual, spatial, temporal or quantitative parameters of its entities. As the viewer interacts with the resulting dynamic interactive illustration, the parameters of the drawing change accordingly, depicting the dynamics and chain of causal effects within a scene. The generality of this framework makes our tool applicable for a variety of purposes, including technical illustrations, scientific explanation, infographics, medical illustrations, children‟s e-books, cartoon strips and beyond. A user study demonstrates the ease of usage, variety of applications, artistic expressiveness and creative possibilities of our tool.

File downloads

  • Additional files

    Datasets and sample images. Python source code.

  • Media kit files

    Paper, Video, Images and Datasets

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