Monday, May 18, 2015

Large-scale Visualization of Volumes from 2d Images

 This is a cross post from the day job at ARC-TS.

The Visible Human project has a series of high resolution CT or MRI scans of human bodies.  These images can be stitched together to make volume renderings of the original subject.  First Images!


These images were generated from high resolution CT scans available here at Michigan.  The data in this case is over 5000 2d slices in TIFF format for total data of around 34GB.

On standard systems working with the input data of this size is difficult let alone the derived 3d volume created.  Lucky for us we can use the Visit imgvol format specifically for this case.

In the above example 32 cores with 25GB of memory each (800GB total) on the Flux Large Memory nodes was used and my personal Apple laptop running the Visit viewer over a home network connection (!!).  Memory use in the creation of the above plots ranged from 3GB/core to 7.5GB/core.   Rendering performance wasn't interactive, but a plot change would range from 15-45 seconds to redraw.

The imgvol format is very simple and allowed for us to create these sorts of plots very quickly.  Most users don't have such huge data and can run this on their personal lab workstations.  If your workstation isn't sufficient feel free to reach out to ARC-TS at

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