Virtual Sculpting: An Investigation of Directly Manipulated Free-Form Deformation in a Virtual Environment

This thesis presents a Virtual Sculpting system, which addresses the problem of Free-Form Solid Modelling. The disparate elements of a Polygon-Mesh representation, a Directly Manipulated Free-Form Deformation sculpting tool, and a Virtual Environment are drawn into a cohesive whole under the mantle of a clay-sculpting metaphor. This enables a user to mould and manipulate a synthetic solid interactively as if it were composed of malleable clay. The focus of this study is on the interactivity, intuitivity and versatility of such a system. To this end, a range of improvements is investigated which significantly enhances the efficiency and correctness of Directly Manipulated Free-Form Deformation, both separately and as a seamless component of the Virtual Sculpting system.