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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dense Geometric Flow Visualization

  • Author(s): Park, Sung;
  • Budge, Brian C.;
  • Linsen, Lars;
  • Hamann, Bernd;
  • Joy, Ken
  • Editor(s): Brodlie, Ken;
  • Duke, David;
  • Joy, Ken
  • et al.

We present a flow visualization technique based on rendering geometry in a dense, uniform distribution. Flow is integrated using particle advection. By adopting ideas from texture-based techniques and taking advantage of parallelism and programmability of contemporary graphics hardware, we generate streamlines and pathlines addressing both steady and unsteady flow. Pipelining is used to manage seeding, advection, and expiration of streamlines/pathlines with constant lifetime. We achieve high numerical accuracy by enforcing short particle lifetimes and employing a fourth-order integration method. The occlusion problem inherent to dense volumetric representations is addressed by applying multi-dimensional transfer functions (MDTFs), restricting particle attenuation to regions of certain physical behavior, or features. Geometry is rendered in graphics hardware using techniques such as depth sorting, illumination, haloing, flow orientation, and depth-based color attenuation to enhance visual perception. We achieve dense geometric three-dimensional flow visualization with interactive frame rates.

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