Visualization of molecular machinery using agent-based animation

Daniel Gehrer, Ivan Viola

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

1 Scopus citations


This paper proposes an agent-based model for animating molecular machines. Usually molecular machines are visualized using key-frame animation. Creating large molecular assemblies with key-frame animation in standard 3D software can be a tedious task, because hundreds or thousands of molecular particles have to be animated by hand, considering various biological phenomena. To avoid repetitive animation of molecular particles, a prototypic framework is implemented, that employs an agent-based approach. Instead of animating the molecular particles directly, the framework utilizes a behavior description for each type of molecular particle. The animation results from the molecular particles interacting with each other as defined by their behavior. Interaction between molecular particles is enabled by an abstract model that is implemented by the framework. The methodology for creating the framework was driven through learning by example. Three molecular machines are visualized using the framework. During this process, the framework was iteratively improved and extended. The resulted animations demonstrate that agent-based animation is a viable option for molecular machines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - SCCG 2017
Subtitle of host publication33rd Spring Conference on Computer Graphics
EditorsStephen N. Spencer
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450351072
StatePublished - May 15 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd Spring Conference on Computer Graphics, SCCG 2017 - Mikulov, Czech Republic
Duration: May 15 2017May 17 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - SCCG 2017: 33rd Spring Conference on Computer Graphics


Conference33rd Spring Conference on Computer Graphics, SCCG 2017
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to Association for Computing Machinery.


  • Agent-based animation
  • Molecular machines
  • Molecular visualization
  • Unity
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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