Initial inspiration for this project comes from the world of moving sculptures called mobiles. Artists such as Alexander Calder have pioneered the way by showing the world that mobiles can do more than entertain infants. This project brings the world of moving scultures to the computer and extends the artistic role mobiles can play for the average person. The primary objective of this project was to design and implement a tool to create and visualize simple mobiles. The application was to be flexible and easy to use. So easy in fact that a child should be able to construct a mobile with this software, view it, and perhaps even construct it with real materials guided by a plan printed on an ordinary printer. Of course, as a requirement for this thesis project emphasis was placed on obtaining a realistic 3-D representational view of the finished mobile. The 3-D view was to include real-time animation of the rotating finished mobile. Additional features included phong shading, a directional light source, positional controls for zoom in/zoom out, and rotational adjustment about the x-axis. (providing views from above and below) In addition, a great amount of effort was placed in developing an easy to use 2-D design environment. The design environment is, in a sense, the antithesis of the classic CAD package. Instead of allowing for a large amount of drawing possibilities, with an even larger learning curve, I constructed an environment that limits what can be drawn but more importantly reduces the learning curve dramatically. The program takes only minutes to learn and is ideally suited to people within a wide range of age and ability.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Mobiles (Sculpture)--Design--Data processing; Mobiles (Sculpture)--Design--Computer simulation; Computer animation
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CIAS)
Axelrod, Michael Wulf, "A Question of balance: Constructing a mobile software simulator" (1995). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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