The Huygens MIP Renderer

Obtain 3D to 2D projections of the highest intensities in an object

The Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP) Renderer produces 3D to 2D projections of the highest object intensities from any given viewpoint. Huygens MIP Renderer applies the special technique of ray tracing offering you the highest possible rendering results. It projects image voxels onto the screen by tracing rays from a given view-point through the data. For each ray the maximum encountered intensity is determined and displayed offering you the highest possible quality.

Huygens recent MIP Renderers support GPU acceleration, which greatly reduces render times. Rendered results are identical between CPU and GPU, and thus enables dynamic switching. Due to the nature of the high quality ray tracing algorithm, rendered MIP images always show a certain amount of perspective. This means that objects farther away from the viewpoint appear smaller and that parallel lines converge.

Image Description:
The Huygens MIP renderer window showing a Paramecium in color mode depth-coding in z. Regions of the image with a lower z value appear blue whereas region with a higher z value appear red. Image courtesy of A. Aubusson-Fleury CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, Paris.


Any given viewpoint

Adjust the viewing angle and camera position, select different time frames or select a different detector. With the MIP Renderer you can view any given viewpoint.

Depth-coding modes

Starting from version 19.10, the MIP Renderer supports two special color modes allowing depth-coded coloring based on viewing-angle or the true z depth.

CPU + GPU acceleration

Starting from version 19.04, the MIP Renderer supports GPU acceleration. Greatly reducing render times! Note that the rendered results are identical between CPU and GPU, which enables dynamic switching.

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Maximum Intensity Projection Principle


A maximum intensity projection (MIP) is a simple ray-tracing technique where the maximum intensity encountered along each ray is projected onto the screen. Rays are cast from a virtual viewpoint and pass through the object. Along each ray, the maximum intensity is recorded and projected onto a virtual canvas. As you can see in this diagram, objects in the background can be projected through objects in the foreground as long as they have a higher intensity. By doing this, you are always looking at the most significant objects in the sample.

Image Description:
A schematic overview of MIP rendering. The maximum intensities along rays originating in the view point are projected.

Depth-coding color modes

Since the 19.10 version of Huygens, the MIP Renderer has two special color modes that do not appear in the other renderers: Depth-coding and Depth-coding Z In these modes each point is given a hue based on the depth at which the maximum intensity was found. This depth can either be the distance to the viewpoint (in case of Depth-coding , viewing-angle dependent), or simply the true z depth in the sample (in case of Depth-coding Z, not dependent on viewing angle). The hues are automatically spread out over the complete range of depths visible in the current view. By adding a Hue bar, the relation between color and depth is shown. An example of a depth-colored image with a Hue bar can be seen in the image below.

Image Description:
The MIP renderer in color mode depth-coding showing a Paramecium. Regions of the image close to the viewpoint appear blue whereas region far away appear red. Image courtesy of A. Aubusson-Fleury CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, Paris.

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Rendering a movie

The Huygens Movie Maker allows you to create sophisticated animations using the MIP, SFP and Surface renderers. However, the MIP renderer can also create simple animations on its own by transitioning between two custom keyframes.

Movie Description:
Animated MIP rendering of an isolated Rat Hepatocyte couplet recorded by Dr. Permsin Marbet at the Department of Anatomy, University of Basel, Switzerland, in the lab of Prof. Lukas Landmann.