The Metaphors

World in the Hand

When move the viewpoint around the centre of your Local node, looking always towards the centre of the basis, and more precisely towards an object placed in that centre.

This way to move around the Viewpoint is usually known as the "world in the hand" Metaphor.


A Metaphor is a way to explain to users of a program how to use its interface. You say "Do it as if you where doing something else that you already know". The most well-known ones are of course the "Desktop" 2D Metaphor invented by Xerox, developed and popularised by Apple. It says that to access the information available in a computer, you should have the same behaviour as in front of a real desktop. You could open a "folder"  from which you get a "file" that you could "open", "write" into and "close"...

As 3D world is more difficult to work with than 2D one, there are lots of metaphors around to represent the way to deal with that sort of world.

The Flying metaphor

Flying Plane

Can roll, pitch and yaw the view and can move forwards (along the negative z' axis).

Flying Saucer

Can move up, down, left, right, forward and backwards relative to local heading (i.e. along the x', y' and z' axes).

Flying Superman

Other Metaphors

On the Ground metaphor

The Walking metaphor
The Driving metaphor

The be yourself and move around metaphor

... the virtual reality metaphor (Pure schema)

What about interaction (required for the implementation of certain metaphors)?

Mouse Picking

A ray between the mouse and your eye

The magic wand

A ray between the "avatar" of your hand and the object. A Laser pointer which need a 3D mouse.

The long Arm

This was just about selection ... what about manipulation of objects in the scene ...


the object in a cylinder

the object in a sphere


along well known planes