Image Based Flow Visualization

Jarke J. van Wijk
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

IBFV is a new method for the visualization of two-dimensional vector fields in general and flow fields in particular. The method is based on advection and decay of dye. These processes are simulated by defining each frame of a flow animation as a blend between a warped version of the previous image and a number of background images. With IBFV a wide variety of visualization techniques can be emulated. Flow can be visualized as moving textures, but also as arrow plots, streamlines, particles and topological images. Unsteady flows, defined on arbitrary meshes, can be handled.  IBFV achieves a high performance by using standard features of graphics hardware. Typically fifty frames per second are generated using standard graphics cards on PCs. Furthermore, IBFV is easy to understand, analyse, and implement.

For a full description, see:

Jarke J. van Wijk, Image Based Flow Visualization. ACM Transactions on Graphics, special issue, Proceedings ACM SIGGRAPH 2002, San Antonio, Texas. PDF-version.

Sample code

IBFV is easy to implement. As an illustration, a sample implementation is provided.
Click here for the C-source code, click here for a PDF-version of  the code and a description.

IBFV tool

The interactive flow modeling and visualization tool, described in the article, is included as supplemental material. This version of the tool was used to produce all figures shown, except fig. 14. for which a custom version was used. The tool runs under MS Windows98 and higher. The minimal configuration for which the tool has been tested is a 350 MHz processor and NVidia TNT graphics. For a description of further requirements, features and limitations, see the file ibfv_readme.txt. To retrieve the tool itself, click here. For an enlarged screenshot, click on the screenshot below.

Animations artificial flow field, visualized in various ways

Figure 9 to 13 show variations on visualization of flow, all using IBFV. Below a similar set of examples is shown.You can click on the label for an enlarged image, and click on the image for an animation. Note that the animations produced by our tool in real-time have a higher frame rate (40-50 fps) and a better image quality. Enable the 'repeat' or 'cycle' option of your media-player to get a continuing animation.

fig. 9a spot noise
fig. 9b LIC
fig. 10b particles
fig.12b topology
fig. 11a smeared
fig. 11b warped
fig. 13a streamlines
fig. 13b timelines

Animations turbulent flow simulation data

Figure 14 in the article shows a 2D slice from a 3D time dependent simulation of turbulent flow around a block (see: Verstappen, R., and Veldman, A. 1998. Spectro-consistent discretization of Navier-Stokes: a challenge to RANS and LES. Journal of Engineering Mathematics 34(1), 163179). A rectilinear 536 x 312 grid with a strongly varying density was used. Below eight different images are shown with an increasing zoom-factor. You can click on the label for an enlarged image, and click on the image for an animation.