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<p><b>Abstract</b>—In this paper, we present an algorithm that accelerates 3D texture-based volume rendering of large, sparse data sets, i.e., data sets where only a fraction of the voxels contain relevant information. In texture-based approaches, the rendering performance is affected by the fill-rate, the size of texture memory, and the texture I/O bandwidth. For sparse data, these limitations can be circumvented by restricting most of the rendering work to the relevant parts of the volume. In order to efficiently enclose the corresponding regions with axis-aligned boxes, we employ a hierarchical data structure, known as an AMR (Adaptive Mesh Refinement) tree. The hierarchy is generated utilizing a clustering algorithm. A good balance is thereby achieved between the size of the enclosed volume, i.e., the amount to render in graphics hardware and the number of axis-aligned regions, i.e., the number of texture coordinates to compute in software. The waste of texture memory by the power-of-two restriction is minimized by a 3D packing algorithm which arranges texture bricks economically in memory. Compared to an octree approach, the rendering performance is significantly increased and less parameter tuning is necessary.</p>
3D texture mapping, hierarchical space partitioning, AMR tree, octree, sparse volume data.

H. Hege, M. Simon and R. K?hler, "Interactive Volume Rendering of Large Sparse Data Sets Using Adaptive Mesh Refinement Hierarchies," in IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, vol. 9, no. , pp. 341-351, 2003.
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