A Hierarchical Splitting Scheme to Reveal Insight into Highly Self-Occluded Integral Surfaces
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In flow visualization, integral surfaces are of particular interest for their ability to describe trajectories of massless particles. In areas of swirling motion, integral surfaces can become very complex and difficult to understand. Taking inspiration from traditional illustration techniques, such as cut-aways and exploded views, we propose a surface analysis tool based on surface splitting and focus+context visualization. Our surface splitting scheme is hierarchical and at every level of the hierarchy the best cut is chosen according to a surface complexity metric. In order to make the interpretation of the resulting pieces straightforward, cuts are always made along isocurves of specific flow attributes. Moreover, a degree of interest can be specified, so that the splitting procedure attempts to unveil the occluded interesting areas. Through practical examples, we show that our approach is able to overcome the lack of understanding originating from structural occlusion.