Continuous Levels-of-Detail and Visual Abstraction for Seamless Molecular Visualization

Julius Parulek, Daniel Jönsson, Timo Ropinski, Stefan Bruckner, Anders Ynnerman, Ivan Viola
Computer Graphics Forum, Volume 33, Number 6, page 276--287 - sep 2014
Molecular visualization is often challenged with rendering of large molecular structures in real time. We introduce a novel approach that enables us to show even large protein complexes. Our method is based on the level-of-detail concept, where we exploit three different abstractions combined in one visualization. Firstly, molecular surface abstraction exploits three different surfaces, solvent excluded surface (SES), Gaussian kernels and van der Waals spheres, combined as one surface by linear interpolation. Secondly, we introduce three shading abstraction levels and a method for creating seamless transitions between these representations. The SES representation with full shading and added contours stands in focus while on the other side a sphere representation of a cluster of atoms with constant shading and without contours provide the context. Thirdly, we propose a hierarchical abstraction based on a set of clusters formed on molecular atoms. All three abstraction models are driven by one importance function classifying the scene into the near-, mid- and far-field. Moreover, we introduce a methodology to render the entire molecule directly using the A-buffer technique, which further improves the performance. The rendering performance is evaluated on series of molecules of varying atom counts.

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BibTex references

  author       = {Parulek, Julius and J{\"o}nsson, Daniel and Ropinski, Timo and Bruckner, Stefan and Ynnerman, Anders and Viola, Ivan},
  title        = {{Continuous Levels-of-Detail and Visual Abstraction for Seamless Molecular Visualization}},
  journal      = {Computer Graphics Forum},
  number       = {6},
  volume       = {33},
  pages        = {276--287},
  year         = {2014}

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