Multi-Scale Procedural Animations of Microtubule Dynamics Based on Measured Data

Tobias Klein, Ivan Viola, Eduard Groller, Peter Mindek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Biologists often use computer graphics to visualize structures, which due to physical limitations are not possible to image with a microscope. One example for such structures are microtubules, which are present in every eukaryotic cell. They are part of the cytoskeleton maintaining the shape of the cell and playing a key role in the cell division. In this paper, we propose a scientificallyaccurate multi-scale procedural model of microtubule dynamics as a novel application scenario for procedural animation, which can generate visualizations of their overall shape, molecular structure, as well as animations of the dynamic behaviour of their growth and disassembly. The model is spanning from tens of micrometers down to atomic resolution. All the aspects of the model are driven by scientific data. The advantage over a traditional, manual animation approach is that when the underlying data change, for instance due to new evidence, the model can be recreated immediately. The procedural animation concept is presented in its generic form, with several novel extensions, facilitating an easy translation to other domains with emergent multi-scale behavior.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-1
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 22 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1680-01-01
Acknowledgements: This work was funded under the ILLVISATION grant by WWTF (VRG11-010). It is based upon work supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No. OSR-2019-CPF-4108 and
BAS/1/1680-01-01. The paper was partly written in collaboration with the VRVis Competence Center in the scope of COMET (854174).
Authors would like to thank Nanographics GmbH ( for providing the Marion Software Framework. Additionally, the authors wish to thank Graham Johnson and David Kouˇril for the help with the implementation of the static microtubule model, and Theresia Gschwandtner for the feedback on the design of the microtubule graphics.


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