Computer graphics techniques for modeling page turning

  • Veronica LiesaputraEmail author
  • Ian H. Witten


Turning the page is a mechanical part of the cognitive act of reading that we do literally unthinkingly. Interest in realistic book models for digital libraries and other online documents is growing. Yet, actually producing a computer graphics implementation for modeling page turning is a challenging undertaking. There are many possible foundations: two-dimensional models that use reflection and rotation; geometrical models using cylinders or cones; mass-spring models that simulate the mechanical properties of paper at varying degrees of fidelity; and finite-element models that directly compute the actual forces within a piece of paper. Even the simplest methods are not trivial, and the more sophisticated ones involve detailed physical and mathematical models. The variety, intricacy, and complexity of possible ways of simulating this fundamental act of reading is virtually unknown. This article surveys computer graphics models for page turning. It combines a tutorial introduction that covers the range of possibilities and complexities with a mathematical synopsis of each model in sufficient detail to serve as a basis for implementation. Illustrations are included, which are generated through our implementations of each model. The techniques presented include geometric methods (both two- and three-dimensional), mass-spring models with varying degrees of accuracy and complexity, and finite-element models. We include a detailed comparison of experimentally determined computation time and subjective visual fidelity for all the methods discussed. The simpler techniques support convincing real-time implementations on ordinary workstations. We also address the question of whether such techniques are worthwhile in practice by describing results from a user study that compared the performance of a page-turning book model with HTML and PDF presentations of the same material—and with physical books. This demonstrates that the book model has many advantages over conventional document formats.


Electronic book User interface 3D books 

List of symbols

x, y, z

Global coordinate system

ξ, η, ζ

Local coordinate system

\({\hat{x}, \hat{y}, \hat{z}}\)

Normal-vector coordinate system


Point in global coordinate


Reference point i in global coordinate


Point in local coordinate


Reference point i in local coordinate


Vector normal to the shell


Vector normal to the shell at reference point i


Displacement vector


Displacement vector for reference point i

wi(ξ, η)

Interpolation function for reference point i


Element’s thickness


Young’s modulus


Poisson’s ratio


Shear correction factor


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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