Described as an “As-natural-as-possible sketching system for creating 3D curve models,” three students at the University of Toronto have developed the most interesting 3D design interface I have seen in a long time. They call it “I Love Sketch.” One of the things that makes this application so compelling is the way the software behaves just as a designer would expect it to; anticipating things such as intended sketch planes, gesture recognition, auto-generating symmetric curves.
They are presenting their paper (pdf) on day 2 of the 2008 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology.
A 3D curve sketching system that captures some of the affordances of pen and paper for professional designers, allowing them to iterate directly on concept 3D curve models. The system coherently integrates existing techniques of sketch-based interaction with a number of novel and enhanced features. Novel contributions of the system include automatic view rotation to improve curve sketchability, an axis widget for sketch surface selection, and implicitly inferred changes between sketching techniques. We also improve on a number of existing ideas such as a virtual sketchbook, simplified 2D and 3D view navigation, multi-stroke NURBS curve creation, and a cohesive gesture vocabulary.