Artifact Based Rendering

Artifact Based Rendering (ABR) is a framework that includes tools and processes to enable digital visualizations to incorporate physical media. Created with artists and designers in mind, ABR is a technical foundation and the input channel for Sculpting Visualization’s project to enrich the visual vocabulary of scientific visualization through hand-crafted or naturally ocurring objects. ABR bridges key barriers to incorporating artists and designers on to visualization teams by enabling them to contribute their visual expertise without having to spend months learning software tools that currently limit the creative possibilities for their work.

Making expressive visualizations that effectively convey information, encourage intellectual and scientific inquiry, and connect with the viewer on more affective, human levels requires a wider range of possibilities for composition than is currently available digitally. For example, in complex, multivariate scientific visualizations with dozens of variables that are related to one another, creating glyphs digitally with visual distinctions that are intuitive or semantically aligned is a challenge with current software. With ABR, however, an artist working on a visualization team can sculpt hundreds of iterations of potential figures in any material that can be scanned and used in a visualization (see the Applets section of this website for more information). This process means that the possibilities for designing glyphs, streamlines, colormaps and other visualization features are limitless. In addition to handcrafted media, naturally-occurring, machine-made, and found objects can all be incorporated into visualizations.

ABR is designed to be used with a series of AR and VR outputs that can enhance the discovery process through visualization. For more in-depth information concerning ABR, watch the video below or see the full 2019 VIS paper here.