HDR volvis: High dynamic range volume visualization

Xiaoru Yuan, Minh X. Nguyen, Baoquan Chen, David H. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present an interactive high dynamic range volume visualization framework (HDR VolVis) for visualizing volumetric data with both high spatial and intensity resolutions. Volumes with high dynamic range values require high precision computing during the rendering process to preserve data precision. Furthermore, it is desirable to render high resolution volumes with low opacity values to reveal detailed internal structures, which also requires high precision compositing. High precision rendering will result in a high precision intermediate image (also known as high dynamic range image). Simply rounding up pixel values to regular display scales will result in loss of computed details. Our method performs high precision compositing followed by dynamic tone mapping to preserve details on regular display devices. Rendering high precision volume data requires corresponding resolution in the transfer function. To assist the users in designing a high resolution transfer function on a limited resolution display device, we propose a novel transfer function specification interface with nonlinear magnification of the density range and logarithmic scaling of the color/opacity range. By leveraging modern commodity graphics hardware, multiresolution rendering techniques and out-of-core acceleration, our system can effectively produce an interactive visualization of large volume data, such as 2,048 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-445
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this work includes the University of Minnesota Computer Science Department Start-up funds, University of Minnesota Digital Technology Center Seed Grants 2002-4, US National Science Foundation (NSF) ACI-0238486 (CAREER), NSF EIA-0324864 (ITR), and the Army High Performance Computing Research Center under the auspices of the Department of the Army, Army Research Laboratory cooperative agreement number DAAD19-01-2-0014. Its content does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of this agency, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The last author would like to acknowledge the following support: DoE grant Nos. DE-FG02-87ER25035 and DE-FG02-94ER25207, NSF PACI at NCSA grant, CDA-950297, and UNISYS Corp hardware gift. The authors would like to thank Paul Woodward for his support. They also thank Michael Knox for his technical support and Amit Shesh and Nathan Gossett for proof reading. Finally, the authors would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive reviews.


  • High dynamic range
  • Nonlinear magnification
  • Transfer function design
  • User interfaces
  • Volume visualization


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