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Visual Effects to Increase Comprehension of Complex Scenes

We are using particular visual effects that have been used in the past to make complex scenes more understandable. By demonstrating visually that something complex is happening, a user can have a greater understanding of the scene.

The work of Brenda Laurel  [4] focuses on this approach. Other work, such as John Lasseter  [3], demonstrates the use of traditional animation techniques in order to explain a scene as clearly as possible. This has been applied in a programming environment by the Self Project  [2]. Objects in the Self environment draw attention to themselves with animated wiggles and expressive paths. When they move fast, they motion-blur to indicate a continuous motion, not a discrete change of location.

Other work has developed techniques for producing the effects of motion blur  [11] and defocusing  [6] in a fully three-dimensional, real-time environment, such as virtual reality. This work showed that rich visual effects could be achieved with relatively little cost in computation time or rendering performance.

We use the effects and the concepts developed by these researchers to address a new problem, high latency. As explained above, high latency can produce many effects that a user does not expect. With these techniques, we can show the user that latency-induced effects are occurring, and that as a result object behavior might be somewhat different from what was anticipated.

Loring Holden
Tue Dec 17 17:11:50 EST 1996