Designers work from example. They surround themselves with inspirational artifacts and material
samples; blocks of marble, wood and metal, swatches of paint and fabrics, photographs
and magazine clippings, anything that could inspire creativity or be a building block in a new
product. Digital representations of these artifacts would enhance the design experience and facilitate
the development of computerized collections of materials and novel appearance design
In this thesis we explore techniques for capturing and rendering these material samples.
We employ both the traditional rendering pipeline and the emerging body of work in image
based rendering for digitizing and developing these materials. We build interactive programs
for selecting paint samples and interpolating metallic paint colors and we develop a new approach
to morphing surface light fields to meld these materials together into novel shapes and
The first tool allows interaction with a large set of household paint colors. It affords easy
viewing of the colors on 3D objects and a novel interface for traversing and searching the large
collection. Our searching tool employs the science of color perception as well as a unique 3D
user interface to enable easy navigation of the large collection. We evaluate this interface with
a user study and report the results.
The second tool allows for the creation of new metallic paint colors. Given two input colors
it can generate an interpolated sequence of metallic colors that smoothy fit between them. This
tool was used by an architect to design and exhibit a wall prototype and we detail his experience
as a case study. We were able to enlist a commercial paint manufacturer to help us formulate
the designed paints and construct this prototype.
The last tool provides a novel morphing algorithm for surface light fields represented as
unstructured lumigraphs. The use of surface light fields allows for nearly arbitrary complexity
of material appearance properties and affords scanning of real material samples into a digital
representation. The morphing algorithm provides a new way of computing a 3D shape morph
using shape-from-silhouette techniques. It also simultaneously morphs the appearance of the
object giving a full surface light field at every point in-between.
The surface light field morphing algorithm represents a novel contribution to the field. It
approaches 3D shape morphing in a new way and calculates a morph for a type of surface light
field that has not been previously undertaken. Unlike other surface light field morphing algorithms,
it explicitly computes light field samples at every in-between point providing detailed
and physically plausible reflection data. The interface for searching color collections also represents
a unique contribution that melds the science of perceptual color spaces with a unique interface that is useful for designers in their day-to-day color selection tasks.