Hardware Accelerated Point Rendering of Isosurfaces

J. Andreas Bærentzen and Niels Jørgen Christensen
Technical University of Denmark
Informatics and Mathematical Modelling
DK-2800 Lyngby

e-mail: jab@imm.dtu.dk



Keywords: point rendering, isosurfaces, volume, OpenGL


Interactive volume sculpting and volume editing often employ surface based visualization techniques, and interactive applications require fast generation and rendering of surface primitives. In this paper, we revisit point primitives as an alternative to triangle primitives. We propose an approximate technique for point scaling using distance attenuation which makes it possible to render points stored in display lists or vertex arrays. This enables us to render points quickly using OpenGL. Our comparisons show that point generation is significantly faster than triangle generation and that the advantage of rendering points as opposed to triangles increases with the size and complexity of the volumes. To gauge the visual quality of future hardware accelerated point rendering schemes, we have implemented a software based point rendering method and compare the quality to both MC and our OpenGL based technique.