Conveying the 3D Shape of Transparent Surfaces Via Texture

Abstract

Transparency can be a useful device for depicting multiple overlapping surfaces in a single image. The challenge is to render the transparent surfaces in such a way that their three-dimensional shape can be readily understood and their depth distance from underlying structures clearly perceived. This paper describes our investigations into the use of sparsely-distributed discrete, opaque texture as an 'artistic device' for more explicitly indicating the relative depth of a transparent surface and for communicating the essential features of its 3D shape in an intuitively meaningful and minimally occluding way. The driving application for this work is the visualization of layered surfaces in radiation therapy treatment planning data, and the technique is illustrated on transparent isointensity surfaces of radiation dose. We describe the perceptual motivation and artistic inspiration for defining a stroke texture that is locally oriented in the direction of greatest normal curvature (and in which individual strokes are of a length proportional to the magnitude of the curvature in the direction they indicate), and discuss several alternative methods for applying this texture to isointensity surfaces defined in a volume. We propose an experimental paradigm for objectively measuring observers' ability to judge the shape and depth of a layered transparent surface, in the course of a task relevant to the needs of radiotherapy treatment planning, and use this paradigm to evaluate the practical effectiveness of our approach through a controlled observer experiment based on images generated from actual clinical data

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This paper was published in NASA Technical Reports Server.

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