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, as 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 of the volume so that an unobstructed 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 volume. In order to carve out volumes of varying thicknesses, the lengths of the rays as well as the positions of the mesh vertices can be easily modified by interactive painting under view control. We describe a prototypical implementation and demonstrate the interactive visual inspection of complex structures from digital humanities, biology, medicine, and material sciences. The visual representation of the structure as a whole allows for easy inspection of interesting substructures in their original spatial context. Overall, we show that thin, curved structures in volumetric data can be excellently visualized using ray-casting-based volume rendering of transformed views defined by guiding surface meshes, supplemented by interactive, local modifications of ray lengths and vertex positions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Networks and Communications