SandCanvas: A Multi-touch Art Medium Inspired by Sand Animation

SandCanvas: A Multi-touch Art Medium Inspired by Sand Animation


Rubaiat Habib Kazi, Kien Chuan Chua, Shengdong Zhao, Richard Davis, Kok-Lim Low (2011)



CHI 2011 Honorable Mentioned Award

CHI 2011 Golden Mouse Awards for Best Video Design

Apple Application




Sand animation is a performance art technique in which an artist tells stories by creating animated images with sand. Inspired by this medium, we have developed a new multi-touch digital artistic medium named SandCanvas that simplifies the creation of sand animations. SandCanvas also goes beyond traditional sand animation with tools for mixing sand animation with video and replicating recorded free-form hand gestures. In this paper, we analyze common sand animation hand gestures, present SandCanvas’s intuitive UI, and describe implementation challenges we encountered. We also present an evaluation with professional and novice artists that shows the importance and unique affordances of this new medium.

Author Keywords

Sand animation, multi-touch, tabletop computing, creativity

ACM Classification Keywords

H5.m. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): Miscellaneous.


Shen is an HCI professor at the National University of Singapore working on realizing his vision of HeadsUp Computing, a new Interaction paradigm that can transform the way we live and interact with computers. In his free time, Shen loves to read, run, spend time with family and friends, and explore nature.

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