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Easy integral surfaces

TitleEasy integral surfaces
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMcLoughlin, T., R. S. Laramee, and E. Zhang
Conference NameComputer Graphics International - CGI '09
Pagination73 - 82
Date Published05/2009
PublisherACM Press
Conference LocationVictoria, British Columbia, Canada
ISBN Number9781605586878

Despite the clear benefits that stream and path surfaces bring when visualizing 3D vector fields, their use in both industry and for research has not proliferated. This is due, in part, to the complexity of previous construction algorithms. We introduce a novel algorithm for the construction of stream and path surfaces that is fast, simple and does not rely on any complicated data structures or surface parameterization, thus making it suitable for inclusion into any visualization application. We demonstrate the technique on a series of simulation data sets and show that a number of benefits stem naturally from this approach including: easy timelines and timeribbons, easy stream arrows and easy evenly-spaced flow lines. We also introduce a novel interaction tool called a surface painter in order to address the perceptual challenges associated with visualizing 3D flow. The key to our integral surface generation algorithm's simplicity is performing local computations on quad primitives.