Particle-based Rendering for Porous Media

S. Grottel
Visualisation Research Center (VISUS), University of Stuttgart, Germany

G. Reina
Visualisation Research Center (VISUS), University of Stuttgart, Germany

T. Zauner
Institute for Computational Physics, University of Stuttgart, Germany

R. Hilfer
Institute for Computational Physics, University of Stuttgart, Germany

T. Ertl
Visualisation Research Center (VISUS), University of Stuttgart, Germany

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Ingår i: Proceedings of SIGRAD 2010

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 52:8, s. 45-51

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Publicerad: 2010-11-29

ISBN: 978-91-7393-281-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Particle-based modeling and simulation of granular or porous media is a widely-used tool in physics and material science to study behavior like fracture and failure under external force. Classical models use spherical particles. However; up to 108 polyhedral-shaped particles are required to achieve realistic results comparable to laboratory experiments. As contact points and exposed surfaces play important roles for the analysis; a meaningful visualization aiding the numeric analysis has to represent the exact particle shapes. For particle-based data sets with spherical particles; ray tracing has been established as the state-of-the-art approach yielding high rendering performance; optimal visual quality and good scalability. However; when rendering polyhedral-shaped particles; there is no issue with visual quality comparing polygon-based rendering approaches and ray casting; whereas the polygon-based approaches cause significantly lower fragment load. The paper at hand investigates the advantages and drawbacks of both approaches by analyzing the performance of state-of-the-art rendering methods employing vertex-buffer objects; hardware-supported instancing; geometry shader; and GPU-based ray casting.

Categories and Subject Descriptors (according to ACM CCS): I.3.5 [Computer Graphics]: Computational Geometry and Object Modeling—Curve; surface; solid; and object representations; I.3.8 [Computer Graphics]: Computational Geometry and Object Modeling—Applications.


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