Rapid scalar value classification and volume clipping for interactive 3D medical image visualization


In many clinical scenarios, medical data visualization and interaction are important to physicians for exploring inner anatomical structures and extracting meaningful diagnostic information. Real-time high-quality volume rendering, artifact-free clipping, and rapid scalar value classification are important techniques employed in this process. Unfortunately, in practice, it is still difficult to achieve an optimal balance. In this paper, we present some strategies to address this issue, which are based on the calculation of segment-based post color attenuation and dynamic ray–plane intersection (RPI) respectively. When implemented within our visualization system, the new classification algorithm can deliver real-time performance while avoiding the “color over-accumulation” artifacts suffered by the commonly used acceleration algorithms that employ pre-integrated classification. Our new strategy can achieve an optimized balance between image quality and classification speed. Next, the RPI algorithm is used with opacity adjustment technique to effectively remove the “striping” artifacts on the clipping plane caused by the nonuniform integration length. Furthermore, we present techniques for multiple transfer function (TF) based anatomical feature enhancement and “keyhole” based endoscopic inner structure view. Finally, the algorithms are evaluated subjectively by radiologists and quantitatively compared using image power spectrum analysis.


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