Cuttlefish: Color Mapping for Dynamic Multi-Scale Visualizations

N. Waldin, M. Waldner, M. Le Muzic, E. Gröller, D. S. Goodsell, L. Autin, A. J. Olson, I. Viola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Visualizations of hierarchical data can often be explored interactively. For example, in geographic visualization, there are continents, which can be subdivided into countries, states, counties and cities. Similarly, in models of viruses or bacteria at the highest level are the compartments, and below that are macromolecules, secondary structures (such as α-helices), amino-acids, and on the finest level atoms. Distinguishing between items can be assisted through the use of color at all levels. However, currently, there are no hierarchical and adaptive color mapping techniques for very large multi-scale visualizations that can be explored interactively. We present a novel, multi-scale, color-mapping technique for adaptively adjusting the color scheme to the current view and scale. Color is treated as a resource and is smoothly redistributed. The distribution adjusts to the scale of the currently observed detail and maximizes the color range utilization given current viewing requirements. Thus, we ensure that the user is able to distinguish items on any level, even if the color is not constant for a particular feature. The coloring technique is demonstrated for a political map and a mesoscale structural model of HIV. The technique has been tested by users with expertise in structural biology and was overall well received.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-164
Number of pages15
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Computer Graphics Forum published by Eurographics - The European Association for Computer Graphics and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • I.3.3 [Computer Graphics]: Picture/Image Generation
  • I.3.7 [Computer Graphics]: Three-dimensional Graphics and Realism; Color, Shading, Shadowing, and Texture
  • illustrative visualization
  • molecular visualization
  • multiscale visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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