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Topology-controlled volume rendering


Topology provides a foundation for the development of mathematically sound tools for processing and exploration of scalar fields. Existing topology-based methods can be used to identify interesting features in volumetric data sets, to find seed sets for accelerated isosurface extraction, or to treat individual connected components as distinct entities for isosurfacing or interval volume rendering. We describe a framework for direct volume rendering based on segmenting a volume into regions of equivalent contour topology and applying separate transfer functions to each region. Each region corresponds to a branch of a hierarchical contour tree decomposition, and a separate transfer function can be defined for it. The novel contributions of our work are 1) a volume rendering framework and interface where a unique transfer function can be assigned to each subvolume corresponding to a branch of the contour tree, 2) a runtime method for adjusting data values to reflect contour tree simplifications, 3) an efficient way of mapping a spatial location into the contour tree to determine the applicable transfer function, and 4) an algorithm for hardware-accelerated direct volume rendering that visualizes the contour tree-based segmentation at interactive frame rates using graphics processing units (GPUs) that support loops and conditional branches in fragment programs.

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