While Virtual Reality is a young technology, XR designers are making great strides–developing the medium at the speed of innovation. Dedicated to our work, we pursue solutions through trial and error, relying on our team’s assorted skill sets. We asked ourselves how XR designers can help in spatial color picking.
We identified issues(early assumptions) with the color picking procedure in Microsoft Maquette Beta through research and discussions with industry professionals. Our target issues became:
1. Improving Color Picker efficiency by up-dimensioning the color space.
2. Improving Gesture Control accuracy in a design aspect.
3. Implementing more 3D interaction.
Since Microsoft Maquette Beta targets the design industry, research was much more manageable. Interviewing design experts and student designers supported many of our original hypotheses. When artists select colors, we found that product/automobile designers prefer accuracy, while fine artists/illustrators prefer intuition. We've captured clusters in the circled area from our findings. Interviewees were asked about their preferences and habits in color selection and their current experiences and concerns.
A few reports from HubPages have shown between RGB & HSV color space, that HSV is capable of separating pure colors from their lightness, which allows people to perform different operations on either the color itself (Hue) or its intensity (Value).
For example, in computer vision applications, people are more interested in the color of the image but less interested in its lightness. In HSV, lightness is considered noise, because it doesn’t change the surfaces. Only the light. This explains why HSV usually makes the color algorithm more robust and less sensitive to image lightness.
Using the HSV color form, we would only maintain one color wheel to remove the interference while making prototypes. (See image indication)
We would also apply the axis lock vertically and horizontally to help users independently reduce saturation/brightness ranges. Once the axis is locked, they can directly find the color number without worrying about errors brought by body movement.
We've sketched some possible systematic interface layouts as low-fidelity prototypes. With an easily triggered joystick, default and preset color swatches can be kept to a large extent with preset materials available as well once we assign the color space to the right-hand controller.
We expedite the flow state from color-selecting to color-applying with scenarios that may appear in the 3D color picking process. Most likely, users would go with two significant flows defined below.
1. To trigger the 3D color picker, users stick down the wheel of the right-hand controller. When the cursor moves left and right with the side button(default grab button) held, the X-Axis is locked where colors are in the same saturation. When the cursor moves up and down with the side button held, the Y-Axis locks colors in the same tone/grayscale.
2. The selected color would also be displayed in the geometry panel where users tap the button on the back of the right-hand controller(default click button) and assign it directly to an existing form.
With the flow state finalized, we actualized the prototype in Unity. We chose Unity for its accessibility in VR development that supports the programming framework with C#.