Many efforts in computer graphics focus on mimicking reality to generate images and 3D models that capture the same visual fidelity and realistic properties as the physical world. Traditionally, these efforts start with an empty canvas. A combination of algorithmic techniques and user input is then applied to synthesize each element and layer visual effects until the desired fidelity and expression are achieved.
Recent innovations with input devices promise to significantly alter this process from a start-from-scratch synthesis procedure to a sampling procedure. Elements from our physical environment are scanned to capture relevant 2D images or 3D content and then imported, manipulated, and merged with other imported artifacts or computer-generated elements. These “spatial sampling” approaches will drive some significant future trends in computer graphics.