Illustrative Hybrid Visualization and Exploration of Anatomical and Functional Brain Data

TitleIllustrative Hybrid Visualization and Exploration of Anatomical and Functional Brain Data
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsJainek, Werner, Born Silvia, Bartz Dirk, Straßer Wolfgang, and Fischer Jan
JournalComput Graph Forum
AbstractCommon practice in brain research and brain surgery involves the multi-modal acquisition of brain anatomy and brain activation data. These highly complex three-dimensional data have to be displayed simultaneously in order to convey spatial relationships. Unique challenges in information and interaction design have to be solved in order to keep the visualization sufficiently complete and uncluttered at the same time. The visualization method presented in this paper addresses these issues by using a hybrid combination of polygonal rendering of brain structures and direct volume rendering of activation data. Advanced rendering techniques including illustrative display styles and ambient occlusion calculations enhance the clarity of the visual output. The presented rendering pipeline produces real-time frame rates and offers a high degree of configurability. Newly designed interaction and measurement tools are provided, which enable the user to explore the data at large, but also to inspect specific features closely. We demonstrate the system in the context of a cognitive neurosciences dataset. An initial informal evaluation shows that our visualization method is deemed useful for clinical research.