Roberts, Jonathan C.
An Overview of Rendering from Volume Data --- including Surface and Volume Rendering.
University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
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Volume rendering is a title often ambiguously used in science. One meaning often quoted is: `to render any three volume dimensional data set'; however, within this categorisation `surface rendering'' is contained. Surface rendering is a technique for visualising a geometric representation of a surface from a three dimensional volume data set. A more correct definition of Volume Rendering would only incorporate the direct visualisation of volumes, without the use of intermediate surface geometry representations. Hence we state: `Volume Rendering is the Direct Visualisation of any three dimensional Volume data set; without the use of an intermediate geometric representation for isosurfaces'; `Surface Rendering is the Visualisation of a surface, from a geometric approximation of an isosurface, within a Volume data set'; where an isosurface is a surface formed from a cross connection of data points, within a volume, of equal value or density. This paper is an overview of both Surface Rendering and Volume Rendering techniques. Surface Rendering mainly consists of contouring lines over data points and triangulations between contours. Volume rendering methods consist of ray casting techniques that allow the ray to be cast from the viewing plane into the object and the transparency, opacity and colour calculated for each cell; the rays are often cast until an opaque object is `hit' or the ray exits the volume.
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