Artifact-Based Rendering: Our Practice
Artifact based rendering (ABR) is a tool that enables visualizations to include physical media. Whether natural, machine-made, or handcrafted, objects can be scanned and applied to visualizations as glyphs, ribbons, or surface textures. ABR introduces new technical tools and algorithms for front-end applets to create artifact-based colormaps, to optimize 3D scanned meshes, and to synthesize textures from artifacts, as well as a back-end VR-enabled rendering system. Ultimately, ABR allows for more effective and informative visualizations by expanding the visual vocabulary for scientific visualization, enabling artists and other non-programmers to participate in the design process, and bringing a more natural, handmade aesthetic to digital visualization.
A visualization of biogeochemistry data from the Gulf of Mexico, derived from the Department of Energy’s E3SM model. Artist-created streamlines and glyphs made by ABR, that contrast in form, surface texture, and color allow scientists at Los Alamos National Labs to more easily and quickly understand interactions between ocean flows and nitrate to model potential mariculture sites. Glyphs are designed to encode physical properties of variables, like phytoplankton, for a more intuitive visualization.