Motion Visualization of Large Particle Simulations

Roland Fraedrich, Rüdiger Westermann

Computer Graphics and Visualization Group, Technische Universität München


Interactive visualization of large particle sets is required to analyze the complicated structures and formation processes in astrophysical particle simulations. While some research has been done on the development of visualization techniques for steady particle fields, only very few approaches have been proposed to interactively visualize large time-varying fields and their dynamics. Particle trajectories are known to visualize dynamic processes over time, but due to occlusion and visual cluttering such techniques have only been reported for very small particle sets so far. In this paper we present a novel technique to solve these problems, and we demonstrate the potential of our approach for the visual exploration of large astrophysical particle sequences. We present a new hierarchical space-time data structure for particle sets which allows for a scale-space analysis of trajectories in the simulated fields. In combination with visualization techniques that adapt to the respective scales, clusters of particles with homogeneous motion as well as separation and merging regions can be identified effectively. The additional use of mapping functions to modulate the color and size of trajectories allows emphasizing various particle properties like direction, speed, or particle-specific attributes like temperature. Furthermore, tracking of interactively selected particle subsets permits the user to focus on structures of interest.

Associated publications

Motion Visualization of Particle Simulations
R. Fraedrich, R. Westermann 
Visualization and Data Analysis 2012 [PDF][Bibtex]