Representation of molecular surfaces is a well established way to study the interaction of molecules. The state-of-theart molecular representation is the SES model, which provides a detailed surface visualization. Nevertheless, it is computationally expensive, so the less accurate Gaussian model is traditionally preferred. We introduce a novel surface representation that resembles the SES and approaches the rendering performance of the Gaussian model. Our technique is based on the iterative blending of implicit functions and avoids any pre-computation. Additionally, we propose a GPU-based ray-casting algorithm that efficiently visualize our molecular representation. A qualitative and quantitative comparison of our model with respect to the Gaussian and SES models is presented. As showcased in the paper, our technique is a valid and appealing alternative to the Gaussian representation. This is especially relevant in all the applications where the cost of the SES is prohibitive.
Visualizing symmetric patterns in the data often helps the domain scientists make important observations and gain insights about the underlying experiment. Detecting symmetry in scalar fields is a nascent area of research and existing methods that detect symmetry are either not robust in the presence of noise or computationally costly. We propose a data structure called the augmented extremum graph and use it to design a novel symmetry detection method based on robust estimation of distances. The augmented extremum graph captures both topological and geometric information of the scalar field and enables robust and computationally efficient detection of symmetry. We apply the proposed method to detect symmetries in cryo-electron microscopy datasets and the experiments demonstrate that the algorithm is capable of detecting symmetry even in the presence of significant noise. We describe novel applications that use the detected symmetry to enhance visualization of scalar field data and facilitate their exploration.
We propose a novel GPU-based approach to render virtual X-ray projections of deformable tetrahedral meshes. These meshes represent the shape and the internal density distribution of a particular anatomical structure and are derived from statistical shape and intensity models (SSIMs). We apply our method to improve the geometric reconstruction of 3D anatomy (e.g. pelvic bone) from 2D X-ray images. For that purpose, shape and density of a tetrahedral mesh are varied and virtual X-ray projections are generated within an optimization process until the similarity between the computed virtual X-ray and the respective anatomy depicted in a given clinical X-ray is maximized. The OpenGL implementation presented in this work deforms and projects tetrahedral meshes of high resolution (200.000+ tetrahedra) at interactive rates. It generates virtual X-rays that accurately depict the density distribution of an anatomy of interest. Compared to existing methods that accumulate X-ray attenuation in deformable meshes, our novel approach significantly boosts the deformation/projection performance. The proposed projection algorithm scales better with respect to mesh resolution and complexity of the density distribution, and the combined deformation and projection on the GPU scales better with respect to the number of deformation parameters. The gain in performance allows for a larger number of cycles in the optimization process. Consequently, it reduces the risk of being stuck in a local optimum. We believe that our approach will improve treatments in orthopedics, where 3D anatomical information is essential.
Information theory provides a theoretical framework for measuring information content for an observed variable, and has attracted much attention from visualization researchers for its ability to quantify saliency and similarity among variables. In this paper, we present a new approach towards building an exploration framework based on information theory to guide the users through the multivariate data exploration process. In our framework, we compute the total entropy of the multivariate data set and identify the contribution of individual variables to the total entropy. The variables are classified into groups based on a novel graph model where a node represents a variable and the links encode the mutual information shared between the variables. The variables inside the groups are analyzed for their representativeness and an information based importance is assigned. We exploit specific information metrics to analyze the relationship between the variables and use the metrics to choose isocontours of selected variables. For a chosen group of points, parallel coordinates plots (PCP) are used to show the states of the variables and provide an interface for the user to select values of interest. Experiments with different data sets reveal the effectiveness of our proposed framework in depicting the interesting regions of the data sets taking into account the interaction among the variables.
Histograms computed from local regions are commonly used in many visualization applications, and allowing the user to query histograms interactively in regions of arbitrary locations and sizes plays an important role in feature identification and tracking. Computing histograms in regions with arbitrary location and size, nevertheless, can be time consuming for large data sets since it involves expensive I/O and scan of data elements. To achieve both performance- and storage-efficient query of local histograms, we present a new algorithm called WaveletSAT, which utilizes integral histograms, an extension of the summed area tables (SAT), and discrete wavelet transform (DWT). Similar to SAT, an integral histogram is the histogram computed from the area between each grid point and the grid origin, which can be be pre-computed to support fast query. Nevertheless, because one histogram contains multiple bins, it will be very expensive to store one integral histogram at each grid point. To reduce the storage cost for large integral histograms, WaveletSAT treats the integral histograms of all grid points as multiple SATs, each of which can be converted into a sparse representation via DWT, allowing the reconstruction of axis-aligned region histograms of arbitrary sizes from a limited number of wavelet coefficients. Besides, we present an efficient wavelet transform algorithm for SATs that can operate on each grid point separately in logarithmic time complexity, which can be extended to parallel GPU-based implementation. With theoretical and empirical demonstration, we show that WaveletSAT can achieve fast preprocessing and smaller storage overhead than the conventional integral histogram approach with close query performance.
Numerical ensemble forecasting is a powerful tool that drives many risk analysis efforts and decision making tasks. These ensembles are composed of individual simulations that each uniquely model a possible outcome for a common event of interest: e.g., the direction and force of a hurricane, or the path of travel and mortality rate of a pandemic. This paper presents a new visual strategy to help quantify and characterize a numerical ensembleﾕs predictive uncertainty: i.e., the ability for ensemble constituents to accurately and consistently predict an event of interest based on ground truth observations. Our strategy employs a Bayesian framework to first construct a statistical aggregate from the ensemble. We extend the information obtained from the aggregate with a visualization strategy that characterizes predictive uncertainty at two levels: at a global level, which assesses the ensemble as a whole, as well as a local level, which examines each of the ensembleﾕs constituents. Through this approach, modelers are able to better assess the predictive strengths and weaknesses of the ensemble as a whole, as well as individual models. We apply our method to two datasets to demonstrate its broad applicability.
Ensembles of numerical simulations are used in a variety of applications, such as meteorology or computational solid mechanics, in order to quantify the uncertainty or possible error in a model or simulation. Deriving robust statistics and visualizing the variability of an ensemble is a challenging task and is usually accomplished through direct visualization of ensemble members or by providing aggregate representations such as an average or pointwise probabilities. In many cases, the interesting quantities in a simulation are not dense fields, but are sets of features that are often represented as thresholds on physical or derived quantities. In this paper, we introduce a generalization of boxplots, called contour boxplots, for visualization and exploration of ensembles of contours or level sets of functions. Conventional boxplots have been widely used as an exploratory or communicative tool for data analysis, and they typically show the median, mean, confidence intervals, and outliers of a population. The proposed contour boxplots are a generalization of functional boxplots, which build on the notion of data depth. Data depth approximates the extent to which a particular sample is centrally located within its density function. This produces a center-outward ordering that gives rise to the statistical quantities that are essential to boxplots. Here we present a generalization of functional data depth to contours and demonstrate methods for displaying the resulting boxplots for two-dimensional simulation data in weather forecasting and computational fluid dynamics.
We present a study of linear interpolation when applied to uncertain data. Linear interpolation is a key step for isosurface extraction algorithms, and the uncertainties in the data lead to non-linear variations in the geometry of the extracted isosurface. We present an approach for deriving the probability density function of a random variable modeling the positional uncertainty in the isosurface extraction. When the uncertainty is quantified by a uniform distribution, our approach provides a closed-form characterization of the mentioned random variable. This allows us to derive, in closed form, the expected value as well as the variance of the level-crossing position. While the former quantity is used for constructing a stable isosurface for uncertain data, the latter is used for visualizing the positional uncertainties in the expected isosurface level crossings on the underlying grid.
Ensemble run simulations are becoming increasingly widespread. In this work, we couple particle advection with pathline analysis to visualize and reveal the differences among the flow fields of ensemble runs. Our method first constructs a variation field using a Lagrangian-based distance metric. The variation field characterizes the variation between vector fields of the ensemble runs, by extracting and visualizing the variation of pathlines within ensemble. Parallelism in a MapReduce style is leveraged to handle data processing and computing at scale. Using our prototype system, we demonstrate how scientists can effectively explore and investigate differences within ensemble simulations.
Sets of simulation runs based on parameter and model variation, so-called ensembles, are increasingly used to model physical behaviors whose parameter space is too large or complex to be explored automatically. Visualization plays a key role in conveying important properties in ensembles, such as the degree to which members of the ensemble agree or disagree in their behavior. For ensembles of time-varying vector fields, there are numerous challenges for providing an expressive comparative visualization, among which is the requirement to relate the effect of individual flow divergence to joint transport characteristics of the ensemble. Yet, techniques developed for scalar ensembles are of little use in this context, as the notion of transport induced by a vector field cannot be modeled using such tools. We develop a Lagrangian framework for the comparison of flow fields in an ensemble. Our techniques evaluate individual and joint transport variance and introduce a classification space that facilitates incorporation of these properties into a common ensemble visualization. Variances of Lagrangian neighborhoods are computed using pathline integration and Principal Components Analysis. This allows for an inclusion of uncertainty measurements into the visualization and analysis approach. Our results demonstrate the usefulness and expressiveness of the presented method on several practical examples.
We present a new efficient and scalable method for the high quality reconstruction of the flow map from sparse samples. The flow map describes the transport of massless particles along the flow. As such, it is a fundamental concept in the analysis of transient flow phenomena and all so-called Lagrangian flow visualization techniques require its approximation. The flow map is generally obtained by integrating a dense 1D, 2D, or 3D set of particles across the domain of definition of the flow. Despite its embarrassingly parallel nature, this computation creates a performance bottleneck in the analysis of large-scale datasets that existing adaptive techniques alleviate only partially. Our iterative approximation method significantly improves upon the state of the art by precisely modeling the flow behavior around automatically detected geometric structures embedded in the flow, thus effectively restricting the sampling effort to interesting regions. Our data reconstruction is based on a modified version of Sibsonﾕs scattered data interpolation and allows us at each step to offer an intermediate dense approximation of the flow map and to seamlessly integrate regions that will be further refined in subsequent steps. We present a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of our method on different types of flow datasets and offer a detailed comparison with existing techniques.
Recent advances in vector field topologymake it possible to compute its multi-scale graph representations for autonomous 2D vector fields in a robust and efficient manner. One of these representations is a Morse Connection Graph (MCG), a directed graph whose nodes correspond to Morse sets, generalizing stationary points and periodic trajectories, and arcs - to trajectories connecting them. While being useful for simple vector fields, the MCG can be hard to comprehend for topologically rich vector fields, containing a large number of features. This paper describes a visual representation of the MCG, inspired by previous work on graph visualization. Our approach aims to preserve the spatial relationships between the MCG arcs and nodes and highlight the coherent behavior of connecting trajectories. Using simulations of ocean flow, we show that it can provide useful information on the flow structure. This paper focuses specifically on MCGs computed for piecewise constant (PC) vector fields. In particular, we describe extensions of the PC framework that make it more flexible and better suited for analysis of data on complex shaped domains with a boundary. We also describe a topology simplification scheme that makes our MCG visualizations less ambiguous. Despite the focus on the PC framework, our approach could also be applied to graph representations or topological skeletons computed using different methods.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death worldwide. Their initiation and evolution depends strongly on the blood flow characteristics. In recent years, advances in 4D PC-MRI acquisition enable reliable and time-resolved 3D flow measuring, which allows a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the patient-specific hemodynamics. Currently, medical researchers investigate the relation between characteristic flow patterns like vortices and different pathologies. The manual extraction and evaluation is tedious and requires expert knowledge. Standardized, (semi-)automatic and reliable techniques are necessary to make the analysis of 4D PC-MRI applicable for the clinical routine. In this work, we present an approach for the extraction of vortex flow in the aorta and pulmonary artery incorporating line predicates. We provide an extensive comparison of existent vortex extraction methods to determine the most suitable vortex criterion for cardiac blood flow and apply our approach to ten datasets with different pathologies like coarctations, Tetralogy of Fallot and aneurysms. For two cases we provide a detailed discussion how our results are capable to complement existent diagnosis information. To ensure real-time feedback for the domain experts we implement our method completely on the GPU.
We present an interface for exploring large design spaces as encountered in simulation-based engineering, design of visual effects, and other tasks that require tuning parameters of computationally-intensive simulations and visually evaluating results. The goal is to enable a style of design with simulations that feels as-direct-as-possible so users can concentrate on creative design tasks. The approach integrates forward design via direct manipulation of simulation inputs (e.g., geometric properties, applied forces) in the same visual space with inverse design via ﾒtuggingﾓ and reshaping simulation outputs (e.g., scalar fields from finite element analysis (FEA) or computational fluid dynamics (CFD)). The interface includes algorithms for interpreting the intent of usersﾕ drag operations relative to parameterized models, morphing arbitrary scalar fields output from FEA and CFD simulations, and in-place interactive ensemble visualization. The inverse design strategy can be extended to use multi-touch input in combination with an as-rigid-as-possible shape manipulation to support rich visual queries. The potential of this new design approach is confirmed via two applications: medical device engineering of a vacuum-assisted biopsy device and visual effects design using a physically based flame simulation.
We present an integrated camera motion design and path generation system for building volume data animations. Creating animations is an essential task in presenting complex scientific visualizations. Existing visualization systems use an established animation function based on keyframes selected by the user. This approach is limited in providing the optimal in-between views of the data. Alternatively, computer graphics and virtual reality camera motion planning is frequently focused on collision free movement in a virtual walkthrough. For semi-transparent, fuzzy, or blobby volume data the collision free objective becomes insufficient. Here, we provide a set of essential criteria focused on computing camera paths to establish effective animations of volume data. Our dynamic multi-criteria solver coupled with a force-directed routing algorithm enables rapid generation of camera paths. Once users review the resulting animation and evaluate the camera motion, they are able to determine how each criterion impacts path generation. In this paper, we demonstrate how incorporating this animation approach with an interactive volume visualization system reduces the effort in creating context-aware and coherent animations. This frees the user to focus on visualization tasks with the objective of gaining additional insight from the volume data.
We present a prop-based, tangible interface for 3D interactive visualization of thin fiber structures. These data are commonly found in current bioimaging datasets, for example second-harmonic generation microscopy of collagen fibers in tissue. Our approach uses commodity visualization technologies such as a depth sensing camera and low-cost 3D display. Unlike most current uses of these emerging technologies in the games and graphics communities, we employ the depth sensing camera to create a fish-tank stereoscopic virtual reality system at the scientistﾕs desk that supports tracking of small-scale gestures with objects already found in the work space. We apply the new interface to the problem of interactive exploratory visualization of three-dimensional thin fiber data. A critical task for the visual analysis of these data is understanding patterns in fiber orientation throughout a volume.The interface enables a new, fluid style of data exploration and fiber orientation analysis by using props to provide needed passive-haptic feedback, making 3D interactions with these fiber structures more controlled. We also contribute a low-level algorithm for extracting fiber centerlines from volumetric imaging. The system was designed and evaluated with two biophotonic experts who currently use it in their lab. As compared to typical practice within their field, the new visualization system provides a more effective way to examine and understand the 3D bioimaging datasets they collect.
Conflicting results are reported in the literature on whether dynamic visualizations are more effective than static visualizations for learning and mastering 3-D tasks, and only a few investigations have considered the influence of the spatial abilities of the learners. In a study with 117 participants, we compared the benefit of static vs. dynamic visualization training tools on learners with different spatial abilities performing a typical 3-D task (specifically, creating orthographic projections of a 3-D object). We measured the spatial abilities of the participants using the Mental Rotation Test (MRT) and classified participants into two groups (high and low abilities) to examine how the participantsﾕ abilities predicted change in performance after training with static versus dynamic training tools. Our results indicate that: 1) visualization training programs can help learners to improve 3-D task performance, 2) dynamic visualizations provide no advantages over static visualizations that show intermediate steps, 3) training programs are more beneficial for individuals with low spatial abilities than for individuals with high spatial abilities, and 4) training individuals with high spatial abilities using dynamic visualizations provides little benefit.
We present an assessment of the state and historic development of evaluation practices as reported in papers published at the IEEE Visualization conference. Our goal is to reflect on a meta-level about evaluation in our community through a systematic understanding of the characteristics and goals of presented evaluations. For this purpose we conducted a systematic review of ten years of evaluations in the published papers using and extending a coding scheme previously established by Lam et al. . The results of our review include an overview of the most common evaluation goals in the community, how they evolved over time, and how they contrast or align to those of the IEEE Information Visualization conference. In particular, we found that evaluations specific to assessing resulting images and algorithm performance are the most prevalent (with consistently 80ﾐ90% of all papers since 1997). However, especially over the last six years there is a steady increase in evaluation methods that include participants, either by evaluating their performances and subjective feedback or by evaluating their work practices and their improved analysis and reasoning capabilities using visual tools. Up to 2010, this trend in the IEEE Visualization conference was much more pronounced than in the IEEE Information Visualization conference which only showed an increasing percentage of evaluation through user performance and experience testing. Since 2011, however, also papers in IEEE Information Visualization show such an increase of evaluations of work practices and analysis as well as reasoning using visual tools. Further, we found that generally the studies reporting requirements analyses and domain-specific work practices are too informally reported which hinders cross-comparison and lowers external validity.
The precise modeling of vascular structures plays a key role in medical imaging applications, such as diagnosis, therapy planning and blood flow simulations. For the simulation of blood flow in particular, high-precision models are required to produce accurate results. It is thus common practice to perform extensive manual data polishing on vascular segmentations prior to simulation. This usually involves a complex tool chain which is highly impractical for clinical on-site application. To close this gap in current blood flow simulation pipelines, we present a novel technique for interactive vascular modeling which is based on implicit sweep surfaces. Our method is able to generate and correct smooth high-quality models based on geometric centerline descriptions on the fly. It supports complex vascular free-form contours and consequently allows for an accurate and fast modeling of pathological structures such as aneurysms or stenoses. We extend the concept of implicit sweep surfaces to achieve increased robustness and applicability as required in the medical field. We finally compare our method to existing techniques and provide case studies that confirm its contribution to current simulation pipelines.
We present a novel area-preservation mapping/flattening method using the optimal mass transport technique, based on the Monge-Brenier theory. Our optimal transport map approach is rigorous and solid in theory, efficient and parallel in computation, yet general for various applications. By comparison with the conventional Monge-Kantorovich approach, our method reduces the number of variables from O(n2) to O(n), and converts the optimal mass transport problem to a convex optimization problem, which can now be efficiently carried out by Newtonﾕs method. Furthermore, our framework includes the area weighting strategy that enables users to completely control and adjust the size of areas everywhere in an accurate and quantitative way. Our method significantly reduces the complexity of the problem, and improves the efficiency, flexibility and scalability during visualization. Our framework, by combining conformal mapping and optimal mass transport mapping, serves as a powerful tool for a broad range of applications in visualization and graphics, especially for medical imaging. We provide a variety of experimental results to demonstrate the efficiency, robustness and efficacy of our novel framework.
We propose a new colon flattening algorithm that is efficient, shape-preserving, and robust to topological noise. Unlike previous approaches, which require a mandatory topological denoising to remove fake handles, our algorithm directly flattens the colon surface without any denoising. In our method, we replace the original Euclidean metric of the colon surface with a heat diffusion metric that is insensitive to topological noise. Using this heat diffusion metric, we then solve a Laplacian equation followed by an integration step to compute the final flattening. We demonstrate that our method is shape-preserving and the shape of the polyps are well preserved. The flattened colon also provides an efficient way to enhance the navigation and inspection in virtual colonoscopy. We further show how the existing colon registration pipeline is made more robust by using our colon flattening. We have tested our method on several colon wall surfaces and the experimental results demonstrate the robustness and the efficiency of our method.
Visualizations of vascular structures are frequently used in radiological investigations to detect and analyze vascular diseases. Obstructions of the blood flow through a vessel are one of the main interests of physicians, and several methods have been proposed to aid the visual assessment of calcifications on vessel walls. Curved Planar Reformation (CPR) is a wide-spread method that is designed for peripheral arteries which exhibit one dominant direction. To analyze the lumen of arbitrarily oriented vessels, Centerline Reformation (CR) has been proposed. Both methods project the vascular structures into 2D image space in order to reconstruct the vessel lumen. In this paper, we propose Curved Surface Reformation (CSR), a technique that computes the vessel lumen fully in 3D. This offers high-quality interactive visualizations of vessel lumina and does not suffer from problems of earlier methods such as ambiguous visibility cues or premature discretization of centerline data. Our method maintains exact visibility information until the final query of the 3D lumina data. We also present feedback from several domain experts.
This paper presents ConnectomeExplorer, an application for the interactive exploration and query-guided visual analysis of large volumetric electron microscopy (EM) data sets in connectomics research. Our system incorporates a knowledge-based query algebra that supports the interactive specification of dynamically evaluated queries, which enable neuroscientists to pose and answer domain-specific questions in an intuitive manner. Queries are built step by step in a visual query builder, building more complex queries from combinations of simpler queries. Our application is based on a scalable volume visualization framework that scales to multiple volumes of several teravoxels each, enabling the concurrent visualization and querying of the original EM volume, additional segmentation volumes, neuronal connectivity, and additional meta data comprising a variety of neuronal data attributes. We evaluate our application on a data set of roughly one terabyte of EM data and 750 GB of segmentation data, containing over 4,000 segmented structures and 1,000 synapses. We demonstrate typical use-case scenarios of our collaborators in neuroscience, where our system has enabled them to answer specific scientific questions using interactive querying and analysis on the full-size data for the first time.
As the visualization field matures, an increasing number of general toolkits are developed to cover a broad range of applications. However, no general tool can incorporate the latest capabilities for all possible applications, nor can the user interfaces and workflows be easily adjusted to accommodate all user communities. As a result, users will often chose either substandard solutions presented in familiar, customized tools or assemble a patchwork of individual applications glued through ad-hoc scripts and extensive, manual intervention. Instead, we need the ability to easily and rapidly assemble the best-in-task tools into custom interfaces and workflows to optimally serve any given application community. Unfortunately, creating such meta-applications at the API or SDK level is difficult, time consuming, and often infeasible due to the sheer variety of data models, design philosophies, limits in functionality, and the use of closed commercial systems. In this paper, we present the ManyVis framework which enables custom solutions to be built both rapidly and simply by allowing coordination and communication across existing unrelated applications. ManyVis allows users to combine software tools with complementary characteristics into one virtual application driven by a single, custom-designed interface.
We present a framework for acuity-driven visualization of super-high resolution image data on gigapixel displays. Tiled display walls offer a large workspace that can be navigated physically by the user. Based on head tracking information, the physical characteristics of the tiled display and the formulation of visual acuity, we guide an out-of-core gigapixel rendering scheme by delivering high levels of detail only in places where it is perceivable to the user. We apply this principle to gigapixel image rendering through adaptive level of detail selection. Additionally, we have developed an acuity-driven tessellation scheme for high-quality Focus-and-Context (F+C) lenses that significantly reduces visual artifacts while accurately capturing the underlying lens function. We demonstrate this framework on the Reality Deck, an immersive gigapixel display. We present the results of a user study designed to quantify the impact of our acuity-driven rendering optimizations in the visual exploration process. We discovered no evidence suggesting a difference in search task performance between our framework and naive rendering of gigapixel resolution data, while realizing significant benefits in terms of data transfer overhead. Additionally, we show that our acuity-driven tessellation scheme offers substantially increased frame rates when compared to naive pre-tessellation, while providing indistinguishable image quality.
We describe a framework to explore and visualize the movement of cloud systems. Using techniques from computational topology and computer vision, our framework allows the user to study this movement at various scales in space and time. Such movements could have large temporal and spatial scales such as the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), which has a spatial scale ranging from 1000 km to 10000 km and time of oscillation of around 40 days. Embedded within these larger scale oscillations are a hierarchy of cloud clusters which could have smaller spatial and temporal scales such as the Nakazawa cloud clusters. These smaller cloud clusters, while being part of the equatorial MJO, sometimes move at speeds different from the larger scale and in a direction opposite to that of the MJO envelope. Hitherto, one could only speculate about such movements by selectively analysing data and a priori knowledge of such systems. Our framework automatically delineates such cloud clusters and does not depend on the prior experience of the user to define cloud clusters. Analysis using our framework also shows that most tropical systems such as cyclones also contain multi-scale interactions between clouds and cloud systems. We show the effectiveness of our framework to track organized cloud system during one such rainfall event which happened at Mumbai, India in July 2005 and for cyclone Aila which occurred in Bay of Bengal during May 2009.
This paper describes an advanced visualization method for the analysis of defects in industrial 3D X-Ray Computed Tomography (XCT) data. We present a novel way to explore a high number of individual objects in a dataset, e.g., pores, inclusions, particles, fibers, and cracks demonstrated on the special application area of pore extraction in carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP). After calculating the individual object properties volume, dimensions and shape factors, all objects are clustered into a mean object (MObject). The resulting MObject parameter space can be explored interactively. To do so, we introduce the visualization of mean object sets (MObject Sets) in a radial and a parallel arrangement. Each MObject may be split up into sub-classes by selecting a specific property, e.g., volume or shape factor, and the desired number of classes. Applying this interactive selection iteratively leads to the intended classifications and visualizations of MObjects along the selected analysis path. Hereby the given different scaling factors of the MObjects down the analysis path are visualized through a visual linking approach. Furthermore the representative MObjects are exported as volumetric datasets to serve as input for successive calculations and simulations. In the field of porosity determination in CFRP non-destructive testing practitioners use representative MObjects to improve ultrasonic calibration curves. Representative pores also serve as input for heat conduction simulations in active thermography. For a fast overview of the pore properties in a dataset we propose a local MObjects visualization in combination with a color-coded homogeneity visualization of cells. The advantages of our novel approach are demonstrated using real world CFRP specimens. The results were evaluated through a questionnaire in order to determine the practicality of the MObjects visualization as a supportive tool for domain specialists.
We present the design of a novel framework for the visual integration, comparison, and exploration of correlations in spatial and non-spatial geriatric research data. These data are in general high-dimensional and span both the spatial, volumetric domain ﾐ through magnetic resonance imaging volumes ﾐ and the non-spatial domain, through variables such as age, gender, or walking speed. The visual analysis framework blends medical imaging, mathematical analysis and interactive visualization techniques, and includes the adaptation of Sparse Partial Least Squares and iterated Tikhonov Regularization algorithms to quantify potential neurologymobility connections. A linked-view design geared specifically at interactive visual comparison integrates spatial and abstract visual representations to enable the users to effectively generate and refine hypotheses in a large, multidimensional, and fragmented space. In addition to the domain analysis and design description, we demonstrate the usefulness of this approach on two case studies. Last, we report the lessons learned through the iterative design and evaluation of our approach, in particular those relevant to the design of comparative visualization of spatial and non-spatial data.
Analysis of multivariate data is of great importance in many scientific disciplines. However, visualization of 3D spatially-fixed multivariate volumetric data is a very challenging task. In this paper we present a method that allows simultaneous real-time visualization of multivariate data. We redistribute the opacity within a voxel to improve the readability of the color defined by a regular transfer function, and to maintain the see-through capabilities of volume rendering. We use predictable procedural noise ﾐ random-phase Gabor noise ﾐ to generate a high-frequency redistribution pattern and construct an opacity mapping function, which allows to partition the available space among the displayed data attributes. This mapping function is appropriately filtered to avoid aliasing, while maintaining transparent regions. We show the usefulness of our approach on various data sets and with different example applications. Furthermore, we evaluate our method by comparing it to other visualization techniques in a controlled user study. Overall, the results of our study indicate that users are much more accurate in determining exact data values with our novel 3D volume visualization method. Significantly lower error rates for reading data values and high subjective ranking of our method imply that it has a high chance of being adopted for the purpose of visualization of multivariate 3D data.
We present ambient scattering as a preintegration method for scattering on mesoscopic scales in direct volume rendering. Far-range scattering effects usually provide negligible contributions to a given location due to the exponential attenuation with increasing distance. This motivates our approach to preintegrating multiple scattering within a finite spherical region around any given sample point. To this end, we solve the full light transport with a Monte-Carlo simulation within a set of spherical regions, where each region may have different material parameters regarding anisotropy and extinction. This precomputation is independent of the data set and the transfer function, and results in a small preintegration table. During rendering, the look-up table is accessed for each ray sample point with respect to the viewing direction, phase function, and material properties in the spherical neighborhood of the sample. Our rendering technique is efficient and versatile because it readily fits in existing ray marching algorithms and can be combined with local illumination and volumetric ambient occlusion. It provides interactive volumetric scattering and soft shadows, with interactive control of the transfer function, anisotropy parameter of the phase function, lighting conditions, and viewpoint. A GPU implementation demonstrates the benefits of ambient scattering for the visualization of different types of data sets, with respect to spatial perception, high-quality illumination, translucency, and rendering speed.
With the evolution of graphics hardware, high quality global illumination becomes available for real-time volume rendering. Compared to local illumination, global illumination can produce realistic shading effects which are closer to real world scenes, and has proven useful for enhancing volume data visualization to enable better depth and shape perception. However, setting up optimal lighting could be a nontrivial task for average users. There were lighting design works for volume visualization but they did not consider global light transportation. In this paper, we present a lighting design method for volume visualization employing global illumination. The resulting system takes into account view and transfer-function dependent content of the volume data to automatically generate an optimized three-point lighting environment. Our method fully exploits the back light which is not used by previous volume visualization systems. By also including global shadow and multiple scattering, our lighting system can effectively enhance the depth and shape perception of volumetric features of interest. In addition, we propose an automatic tone mapping operator which recovers visual details from overexposed areas while maintaining sufficient contrast in the dark areas. We show that our method is effective for visualizing volume datasets with complex structures. The structural information is more clearly and correctly presented under the automatically generated light sources.