Acceleration Techniques for Volume Rendering

M. W. Jones


Volume rendering offers an alternative method for the investigation of three dimensional data to that of surface tiling as described by Jones [1], Lorensen and Cline [2], Wilhelms and Van Gelder [3], Wyvill et. al. [4] and Payne and Toga [5]. Surface tiling can be regarded as giving one particular view of the data set, one which just presents all instances of one value ֠the threshold value. All other values within the data are ignored and do not contribute to the final image. This is acceptable when the data being visualised contains a surface that is readily understandable, as is the case when viewing objects contained within the data produced by CT scans. In certain circumstances this view alone is not enough to reveal the subtle variations in the data, and for such data sets volume rendering was developed [6, 7, 8, 9]. In this paper the underlying technique employed by volume rendering is given in Section 14.2 presented with the aid of a volume rendering model introduced by Levoy [6]. Section 14.3 examines various other volume rendering models and the differing representations they give of the same data. A more efficient method for sampling volume data is presented in Section 14.4 and acceleration techniques are covered in Section 14.5. In Section 14.6 a thorough comparison is made of many of the more popular acceleration techniques with the more efficient method of Section 14.4. It is shown that the new method offers a 30%-50% improvement in speed over current techniques, with very little image degradation and in most cases no visible degradation. A review of existing methods, systems and techniques is given in Section 14.7.

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M. W. Jones, Acceleration Techniques for Volume Rendering, In Earnshaw, Jones and Vince (eds.), Visualization and Modeling, (London : Academic Press, 1997), 253-286


  author = {M. W. Jones},
  title = {Acceleration Techniques for Volume Rendering},
  booktitle = {Visualization and Modeling},
  publisher = {London : Academic Press},
  year = {1997},
  editor = {Earnshaw, Jones and Vince},
  pages = {253-286},
  isbn = {0-12-2277384},
  owner = {Mark},
  url = {},