SketchBio: A Scientist's 3D Interface for Molecular Modeling and Animation

07/11/2014 ∙ by Shawn M. Waldon, et al. ∙ 0

Background: Because of the difficulties involved in learning and using 3D modeling and rendering software, many scientists hire programmers or animators to create models and animations. This both slows the discovery process and provides opportunities for miscommunication. Working with multiple collaborators, we developed a set of design goals for a tool that would enable them to directly construct models and animations. Results: We present SketchBio, a tool that incorporates state-of-the-art bimanual interaction and drop shadows to enable rapid construction of molecular structures and animations. It includes three novel features: crystal by example, pose-mode physics, and spring-based layout that accelerate operations common in the formation of molecular models. We present design decisions and their consequences, including cases where iterative design was required to produce effective approaches. Conclusions: The design decisions, novel features, and inclusion of state-of-the-art techniques enabled SketchBio to meet all of its design goals. These features and decisions can be incorporated into existing and new tools to improve their effectiveness

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