Visualization and analysis of SPH data
Advances in graphics hardware in recent years have led not only to a huge growth in the speed at which 3D data can be rendered, but also to a marked change in the way in which different data types can be displayed. In particular, point based rendering techniques have benefited from the advent of vertex and fragment shaders on the GPU which allow simple point primitives to be displayed not just as dots, but rather as complex entities in their own right. We present a simple way of displaying arbitrary 2D slices through 3D SPH data by evaluating the SPH kernel on the GPU and accumulating the contributions from individual particles intersecting a slice plane into a texture. The resulting textured plane can then be displayed alongside the particle based data. Combining 2D slices and 3D views in an interactive way improves perception of the underlying physics and speeds up the development cycle of simulation code. In addition to rendering particles themselves, we can improve visualization by generating particle trails to show motion history, glyphs to show vector fields, transparency to enhance or diminish areas of high/low interest and multiple views of the same or different data for comparative visualization. We combine these techniques with interactive control or arbitrary scalar parameters and animation through time to produce a feature rich environment for exploration of SPH data.