Illustrative Timelapse: A technique for illustrative visualization of particle-based simulations

Mathieu Le Muzic, Manuela Waldner, Julius Parulek, Ivan Viola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Animated movies are a popular way to communicate complex phenomena in cell biology to the broad audience. Animation artists apply sophisticated illustration techniques to communicate a story, while trying to maintain a realistic representation of a complex dynamic environment. Since such hand-crafted animations are time-consuming and cost-intensive to create, our goal is to formalize illustration techniques used by artists to facilitate the automatic creation of visualizations generated from mesoscale particle-based molecular simulations. Our technique Illustrative Timelapse supports visual exploration of complex biochemical processes in dynamic environments by (1) seamless temporal zooming to observe phenomena in different temporal resolutions, (2) visual abstraction of molecular trajectories to ensure that observers are able to visually follow the main actors, (3) increased visual focus on events of interest, and (4) lens effects to preserve a realistic representation of the environment in the context. Results from a first user study indicate that visual abstraction of trajectories improves the ability to follow a story and is also appreciated by users. Lens effects increased the perceived amount of molecular motion in the environment while trading off traceability of individual molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium, PacificVis 2015 - Proceedings
EditorsShixia Liu, Gerik Scheuermann, Shigeo Takahashi
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781467368797
StatePublished - Jul 14 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event2015 8th IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium, PacificVis 2015 - Hangzhou, China
Duration: Apr 14 2015Apr 17 2015

Publication series

NameIEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium
ISSN (Print)2165-8765
ISSN (Electronic)2165-8773


Conference2015 8th IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium, PacificVis 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.


  • I.3.7 [COMPUTER GRAPHICS]: Three-Dimensional Graphics and Realism - Animation
  • I.6.3 [SIMULATION AND MODELING]: Applications -

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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