MagicalHands: Mid-Air Hand Gestures for Animating in VR     UIST 2019

Rahul Arora1, Rubaiat Habib Kazi2, Danny Kaufman2, Wilmot Li2, Karan Singh1,

1University of Toronto
2Adobe Research

Teaser figure


We explore the use of hand gestures for authoring animations in virtual reality (VR). We first perform a gesture elicitation study to understand user preferences for a spatiotemporal, bare-handed interaction system in VR. Specifically, we focus on creating and editing dynamic, physical phenomena (e.g., particle systems, deformations, coupling), where the mapping from gestures to animation is ambiguous and indirect. We present commonly observed mid-air gestures from the study that cover a wide range of interaction techniques, from direct manipulation to abstract demonstrations. To this end, we extend existing gesture taxonomies to the rich spatiotemporal interaction space of the target domain and distill our findings into a set of guidelines that inform the design of natural user interfaces for VR animation.
Finally, based on our guidelines, we develop a proof-of-concept gesture-based VR animation system, MagicalHands. Our results, as well as feedback from user evaluation, suggest that the expressive qualities of hand gestures help users animate more effectively in VR.




 author = {Arora, Rahul and Kazi, Rubaiat Habib and Kaufman, Danny and Li, Wilmot and Singh, Karan},
 title = {MagicalHands: Mid-Air Hand Gestures for Animating in VR},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology},
 series = {UIST '19},
 year = {2019},
 location = {New Orleans, LA, USA},
 numpages = {12},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {gestures, virtual reality, animation},


We thank Seth Walker for illuminating discussions which helped shaped our prototype, our study participants for their patience, and the anonymous reviewers for helping improve this paper. We are also immensely thankful to these amazing artists for their CC-BY artwork: Taylor Wilson (Alien), Fernando Dominguez (Wizard), Drifting Nitro (Drone), Andrew Julian (Ghost), Ben Mitchell (Lego astronaut), Danny Bittman (Pine tree), Anonymous (Purple paper plane), Junior IT (Sad ball), Jerard Bitner (Bathtub), and Google (Campfire, Dead tree, Earth, Rubber duck and Toy airplane). Rahul Arora was partially supported by an Adobe Research Fellowship.