PhD candidate Greg Philbrick receives Faculty of Mathematics Graduate Research Excellence Award

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Greg Philbrick

Greg Philbrick is a PhD candidate at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, advised by Professor Craig Kaplan. He has a master's degree in computer science from Brigham Young University and he has worked as a software engineer at Stellar Science, a software company that provides scientific analysis software.

PhD candidate Greg Philbrick has been awarded a Faculty of Mathematics Graduate Research Excellence Award. The prestigious recognition comes with a cash prize of $5,000 and is conferred annually to a master’s or PhD student who has authored or co-authored an outstanding research paper.

Greg’s paper, titled “A Primitive for Manual Hatching” and co-authored with his advisor Professor Craig Kaplan, was published in ACM Transactions on Graphics, the premier venue for research in computer graphics.

Hatching is a technique in art used to create tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines or curves. Hatching has been used for centuries in diverse media; however, even skilled artists find hatching patterns difficult to draw and more challenging still to edit.

To make hatching illustration easier, Greg developed the hatching shape, a drawing primitive for use in digital art and illustration software. Hatching shapes automate the placement of the many fine lines that constitute hatching, while giving the artist control over the direction, width and spacing of the lines. 

“I enjoy making art and I wanted to develop a tool that helps artists,” Greg said. 

To this end, he built an interactive illustration tool in C++ that takes input from a drawing tablet and uses OpenGL to render a virtual canvas. It has many of the features of digital drawing tools along with the ability to create and edit hatching shapes.

“Greg’s research paper is a significant contribution at the intersection of computer graphics and art,” said Kaplan. “His own artistic practice was key in generating new research ideas relevant in real-world digital art, and his technical skills allowed him to develop a fully featured software prototype to demonstrate those ideas."

Read more in the feature article on the Cheriton School of Computer Science website.