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Educational impact of digital visualization tools on digital character production computer science courses

, The University of Utah, United States

The University of Utah . Awarded


Digital character production courses have traditionally been taught in art departments. The digital character production course at the University of Utah is centered, drawing uniformly from art and engineering disciplines. Its design has evolved to include a synergy of computer science, functional art and human anatomy. It gives students an applied experience in three-dimensional (3D) graphics and the computer science that helps to produce 3D graphics. Physical visualization tools are a part of most digital character production courses.

In the context of the digital character production courses' curriculum design and evaluation, presented in this dissertation are three experimental comparisons between traditional visualization tools used in similar courses and newly designed digital visualization tools, which are typically less expensive, easier to distribute, easier to procure and easier to transport than the traditional tools. Traditional visualization tools include lifelike skeleton reproductions, wooden or plastic body mass structures, actual human models, and anatomy drawing books. They are used in conjunction with lectures, demonstrations and one-on-one lab instruction. The digital visualization tools that are contrasted in this dissertation are a layered anatomically correct, digital human model of skin, muscles, masses and bones adapted from several sources, and a VisTrails' MAYA version of a properly produced human figure that can be watched as an interactive animation of production steps. The digital tools are employed to replace the traditional visualization tools that are used in the same educational curriculum, which teaches students to design, model and produce digital characters for games, machinima, and animation.

This study found evidence that the digital visualization tools were an improvement to the traditional visualization tools for training students to understand complex 3D graphics systems, 3D contour design and manipulation, 3D form description, and overall character production. The study also found evidence that the difference in visualization tools did not distinguish differences in the students' abilities to translate 3D anatomical form into two-dimensional (2D) drawings; however, there was evidence found that anatomical drawings significantly improved over the course for both study groups.


van Langeveld, M.C. Educational impact of digital visualization tools on digital character production computer science courses. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Utah. Retrieved November 29, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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