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There are surprisingly few empirical investigations into the contributions of rendering model parameters to the effectiveness of communication in 3D computer graphic displays. We conducted a series of perceptual experiments to assess the contributions of rendering parameters to the perception of the shape of 3D objects. Observers viewed displays consisting of pairs of rotating objects and judged whether their shapes were the same or different. We found that contour information by itself functions as a powerful cue for perceiving details of 3D shape and that diffuse shading adds measurably to the apprehension of object shape. However, our data provided no evidence that the inclusion of specular highlights increases the viewer's ability to understand the depicted shape.
shape perception, human factors, visualization, rendering parameters
James C. Rodger, Roger A. Browse, "Choosing Rendering Parameters for Effective Communication of 3D Shape", IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 20, no. , pp. 20-28, March/April 2000, doi:10.1109/38.824528
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