A hierarchical splitting scheme to reveal insight into highly self-occluded integral surfaces

Andrea Brambilla*, Ivan Viola, Helwig Hauser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of WSCG
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Flow visualization
  • Illustrative visualization
  • Occlusion management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computational Mathematics


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