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High-Quality Splatting on Rectilinear Grids with Efficient Culling of Occluded Voxels
April-June 1999 (vol. 5 no. 2)
pp. 116-134

Abstract—Splatting is a popular volume rendering algorithm that pairs good image quality with an efficient volume projection scheme. The current axis-aligned sheet-buffer approach, however, bears certain inaccuracies. The effect of these is less noticeable in still images, but clearly revealed in animated viewing, where disturbing popping of object brightness occurs at certain view angle transitions. In previous work, we presented a new variant of sheet-buffered splatting in which the compositing sheets are oriented parallel to the image plane. This scheme not only eliminates the condition for popping, but also produces images of higher quality. In this paper, we summarize this new paradigm and extend it in a number of ways. We devise a new solution to render rectilinear grids of equivalent cost to the traditional approach that treats the anisotropic volume as being warped into a cubic grid. This enables us to use the usual radially symmetric kernels, which can be projected without inaccuracies. Next, current splatting approaches necessitate the projection of all voxels in the iso-interval(s), although only a subset of these voxels may eventually be visible in the final image. To eliminate these wasteful computations we propose a novel front-to-back approach that employs an occlusion map to determine if a splat contributes to the image before it is projected, thus skipping occluded splats. Additional measures are presented for further speedups. In addition, we present an efficient list-based volume traversal scheme that facilitates the quick modification of transfer functions and iso-values.

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Index Terms:
Splatting, volume rendering, visualization, rectilinear grids.
Klaus Mueller, Naeem Shareef, Jian Huang, Roger Crawfis, "High-Quality Splatting on Rectilinear Grids with Efficient Culling of Occluded Voxels," IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 116-134, April-June 1999, doi:10.1109/2945.773804
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