Thin-Volume Visualization on Curved Domains

Felix Herter, Hans-Christian Hege, Markus Hadwiger, Verena Lepper and Daniel Baum

Thin-Volume Visualization on Curved Domains
Computer Graphics Forum, Vol.40, No.3 (Proceedings Eurographics/IEEE Symposium on Visualization, Eurovis 2021), pp. 147-157 , 2021

Thin, curved structures occur in many volumetric datasets. Their analysis using classical volume rendering is difficult because parts of such structures can bend away or hide behind occluding elements. This problem cannot be fully compensated by effective navigation alone, because structure-adapted navigation in the volume is cumbersome and only parts of the structure are visible in each view. We solve this problem by rendering a spatially transformed view into the volume so that an unobscured visualization of the entire curved structure is obtained. As a result, simple and intuitive navigation becomes possible. The domain of the spatial transform is defined by a triangle mesh that is topologically equivalent to an open disc and that approximates the structure of interest. The rendering is based on ray-casting in which the rays traverse the original curved sub-volume. In order to carve out volumes of varying thickness, the lengths of the rays as well as the position of the mesh vertices can be easily modified in a view-controlled manner by interactive painting. We describe a prototypical implementation and demonstrate the interactive visual inspection of complex structures from digital humanities, biology, medicine, and materials science. Displaying the structure as a whole enables simple inspection of interesting substructures in their original spatial context. Overall, we show that transformed views utilizing ray-casting-based volume rendering supported by guiding surface meshes and supplemented by local, interactive modifications of ray lengths and vertex positions, represent a simple but versatile approach to effectively visualize thin, curved structures in volumetric data.

  title = {Thin-Volume Visualization on Curved Domains},
  author = {Herter, Felix and Hege, Hans-Christian and Hadwiger, Markus and Lepper, Verena and Baum, Daniel},
  journal = {Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings Eurographics/IEEE Symposium on Visualization, Eurovis 2021},
  year = {2021},
  volume = {40},
  number = {3},
  pages = {147-157}