Direct volume rendering with shading via three-dimensional textures

  • Van Gelder A
  • Kim K
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A new and easy-to-implement method for direct volume rendering that uses 3D texture maps for acceleration, and incorporates directional lighting, is described. The implementation, called Voltx, produces high-quality images at nearly interactive speeds on workstations with hardware support for three-dimensional texture maps. Previously reported methods did not incorporate a light model, and did not address issues of multiple texture maps for large volumes. Our research shows that these extensions impact performance by about a factor of ten. Voltx supports orthographic, perspective, and stereo views. This paper describes the theory and implementation of this technique, and compares it to the shear-warp factorization approach. A rectilinear data set is converted into a three-dimensional texture map containing color and opacity information. Quantized normal vectors and a lookup table provide efficiency. A new tesselation of the sphere is described, which serves as the basis for normal-vector quantization. A new gradient-based shading criterion is described, in which the gradient magnitude is interpreted in the context of the field-data value and the material classification parameters, and not in isolation. In the rendering phase, the texture map is applied to a stack of parallel planes, which effectively cut the texture into many slabs. The slabs are composited to form an image

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  • A. Van Gelder

  • K. Kim

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