Interactive Visualization of Volumetric Vector Fields Using Texture Based Particles

Stefan Guthe, Stefan Gumhold, Wolfgang Strasser

WSI/GRIS University of Tuebingen

This paper introduces a new approach to the visualization of volumetric vector fields with an adaptive distribution of animated particles that show properties of the underlying steady flow. The shape of the particles illustrates the direction of the vector field in a natural way. The particles are transported along streamlines and their velocity reflects the local magnitude of the vector field. Further physical quantities of the underlying flow can be mapped to the emissive color, the transparency and the length of the particles. A major effort has been made to achieve interactive frame rates for the animation of a large number of particles while minimizing the error of the computed streamlines.

There are three main advantages of the new method. Firstly, the animation of the particles diminishes the inherent occlusion problem of volumetric vector field visualization, as the human eye can trace an animated particle even if it is highly occluded. The second advantage is the variable resolution of the visualization method. More particles are distributed in regions of interest. We present a method to automatically adjust the resolution to features of the vector field. Finally, our method is scalable to the computational and rasterization power of the visualization system by simply adjusting the number of visualized particles.