Interactive Illustration of Information Spaces:
Playful »Grasping« of Spatial and Functional Relations

Felix Ritter


Horiz Line


In many areas, understanding complex phenomena involves comprehending spatial and functional correlations. The use of 3D-visualizations has become increasingly popular for this task. Despite their visual qualities, however, the presented images often do not contain the information expected by the observer. This discrepancy can mainly be attributed to an insufficient individual adaptation. Most observers would like to have more influence on the selection of contents and their presentation.

This work concentrates on the development of methods and techniques for the communication of spatial and functional relations by means of interactive 3D-graphics. The process of Interactive Illustration focuses on the observer, her demand for information is given special attention. She individualizes the visualization of an artificially created information space, since by her interest-driven interaction with the information space illustrations are produced that meet her expectations. The Interactive Illustration system supports the observer in exploring the information and may refer to important aspects. The observer, however, always retains control. In this context, additional approaches are discussed, which facilitate a playful »grasping« of the presented information space. As a result of the active and direct involvement, the observer shall achieve a deeper understanding of the illustrated concepts.

Starting with an analysis of traditional illustrations, the process of illustrating is formalized and extended by influences of the observer. The demand for individualization forms the basis of the concept of »Grasping« Exploration. For this concept dedicated interaction techniques are developed and criteria are formulated, which enable an evaluation of the user’s interaction. Thus individual means to parameterize the illustration of the information space are provided. The visualization and accentuation of spatial as well as functional correlations are discussed and combined in the concept of Illustrative Shadows including an analysis of the integration and representation of textual elements. On the basis of a prototypical realization of the concept of Interactive Illustration with Implicit Guidance, the presented methodologies and procedures are finally evaluated in an empirical study.


Showing the effects of various depth distance encodings, as well as the combination of texture and color encoding.

Talking shadows integrating descriptions within the illustrative shadow

. printed / electronic publication
. video snippet 1 (avi)
. video snippet 2 (avi)