Interactive High-Quality Volume Rendering with Flexible Consumer Graphics Hardware


Eurographics 2002 State-of-the-Art (STAR) Report

Abstract:

Recently, the classic rendering pipeline in 3D graphics hardware has become flexible by means of the introduction of programmable geometry engines and rasterization units. This development is mainly driven by the mass market of computer games and entertainment software, whose demand for new special effects and more realistic scenes induced a reconsideration of the static rendering pipeline. Besides the impact on scene complexity in computer games, these advances in flexibility provide an enourmous potential for new volume rendering algorithms and allow yet unseen quality in texture-based volume rendering approaches as well as improved performance.

This STAR report covers the latest, advanced algorithms for volume rendering that employ new features and extensions of consumer graphics hardware to achieve both, high quality and interactive frame rates. Beginning with basic texture- based approaches,the algorithms are improved and expanded incrementally, covering pre- and post-classification, illumination, non- polygonal isosurfaces, multi-dimensional transfer functions, pre-integration and volumetric effects.

Especially technique like pre-integration and multi-dimensional or high-frequency transfer functions allow new insights into scientific volume data by allowing enhanced quality and by visualizing hidden features contained within the data. Additionally, due to reduced rasterization requirements and thereby increased performance, better interactivity in scientific volume visualization and new realistic volumetric effects in entertainment applications become possible.

Topics covered:

Physical Background:
      Transport theory of light and sampling theory, ray casting

Texture Based Volume Rendering:
      2D textures, 3D textures, 2D multi-textures, alpha blending and maximum intensity projection, OpenGL extensions

Illumination:
      non-polygonal shaded isosurfaces, per-pixel illumination, texture dot products, diffuse and specular light maps

Transfer Functions:
      Pre- and post-classification, texture color tables, dependent textures, multi-dimensional transfer functions

Advanced Techniques:
      Pre-integrated classification, pixel shader techniques, rasterization isosurfaces, Perlin noise techniques and volumetric FX

Proposed Length:

90 minutes

Prerequisites:

Participants should have basic programming skills and should be familiar with OpenGL. Basic knowledge of graphics hardware is helpful but not required.

Name of speaker:

Klaus Engel, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Organizer Contact Information:

Klaus Engel
Visualization and Interactive Systems Group (VIS), Faculty of Computer Science
University of Stuttgart
Breitwiesenstraße 20-22
70565 Stuttgart
Email: Klaus.Engel@informatik.uni-stuttgart.de
Research Web-Page: http://wwwvis.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/~engel/
Phone: +49-(0)711-7816 208
Fax: +49-(0)711-7816 340

Speaker Information:

Klaus Engel
Visualization and Interactive Systems Group (VIS), Faculty of Computer Science
University of Stuttgart
Breitwiesenstraße 20-22
70565 Stuttgart
Email: Klaus.Engel@informatik.uni-stuttgart.de
Research Web-Page: http://wwwvis.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/~engel/
Phone: +49-(0)711-7816 208
Fax: +49-(0)711-7816 340

Klaus Engel is a PhD candidate at the Visualization and Interactive SystemsGroup at the University of Stuttgart. He received a Diplom (Masters) of computer science from the University of Erlangen in 1997. From January 1998 to December 2000, he was a research assistant at the Computer Graphics Group at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Since 2000, he is a research assistant at the Visualization and Interactive Systems Group of Prof. Thomas Ertl at the University of Stuttgart. He has presented the results of his research at international conferences, including IEEE Visualization, Visualization Symposium and Graphics Hardware. In 2000 and 2001, his papers "Interactive Volume Rendering on Interactive Volume Rendering on Standard PC Graphics Hardware" and "High-Quality Pre-Integrated Volume Rendering Using Hardware- Accelerated Pixel Shading" have won the best paper awards at the SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Workshop on Graphics Hardware. He has regularly taught courses and seminars on computer graphics, visualization and computer games algorithms. His PhD thesis with the title "Strategies and Algorithms for Distributed Volume- Visualization on Different Graphics-Hardware Architectures" is currently under review.
Detailed information about this research projects are available online at:
http://wwwvis.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/~engel/
http://wwwvis.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/~engel/pre-integrated/

Selected Slides and Images