The creation of 3D models is a fundamental task in computer graphics. The task is required by professional artists working on movies, television, and games, and desired by casual users who wish to make their own models for use in virtual worlds or as a hobby.
In this thesis, we consider approaches to creating and editing 3D models that minimize the user's thinking in 3D. In particular, our approaches do not require the user to manipulate 3D positions in space or mentally invert complex 3D-to-2D mappings. We present interfaces and algorithms for the creation of 3D surfaces, for texturing, and for adding small-to-medium scale geometric detail.
First, we present a novel approach for texture placement and editing based on direct manipulation of textures on the surface. Compared to conventional tools for surface texturing, our system combines UV-coordinate specification and texture editing into one seamless process, reducing the need for careful initial design of parameterization and providing a natural interface for working with textures directly on 3D surfaces.
Second, we present a system for free-form surface modeling that allows a user to modify a shape by changing its rendered, shaded image using stroke-based drawing tools. A new shape, whose rendered image closely approximates user input, is c omputed using an efficient and stable surface optimization procedure. We demonstrate how several types of free-form surface edits which may be difficult to cast in terms of standard deformation approaches can be easily performed using our system.
Third, we present a single-view 2D interface for 3D modeling based on the idea of placing 2D primitives and annotations on an existing, pre-made sketch or image. Our interface frees users to create 2D sketches from arbitrary angles using their preferred tool---including pencil and paper---which they then "describe" using our tool to create a 3D model. Our primitives are manipulated with persistent, dynamic handles, and our annotations take the form of markings commonly used in geometry textbooks.