The Huygens Surface Renderer
Visualizes iso-surfaces of 3D volumes
The Huygens Surface Renderer is a powerful 3D visualization tool that renders isosurfaces of 3D volumes at the highest possible quality. The Surface Renderer works very efficiently on CPU only, but also supports GPU acceleration which greatly reduces rendering times. Due to the nature of the ray tracing algorithm, rendered surface images always show a certain amount of perspective. This means that objects farther away from the viewpoint appear smaller, and that parallel lines converge.
The Huygens Surface renderer window showing a Widefield image of a kinetochore complex. Data courtesy of Dr. Livio Kleij en Martijn Vroomans, Medical Oncology, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Add MIP projection
The highly customizable Surface Renderer is equipped with the option to add a MIP projection to the surface rendered scene.
With the Surface Renderer it is possible to Slice through your 3D image and cut away surfaces with the integrated Slicer.
CPU & GPU
Starting from version 19.04, the Surface 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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Huong Ha, graduate student Neuroscience Program, Stanford University, USA.
Surface Renderer Principle
An isosurface is a 3D surface representation of points with equal intensities in a 3D stack. It is the 3D equivalent of a contour line. The isosurface envelops voxels with intensities above a certain threshold. If those voxels are distributed in groups that are not spatially connected, they will be considered and labeled as independent objects. Shading enhances the perception of 3D shapes and texture.
A schematic overview of surface rendering. The orientation of the surface determines the shading.
Adding a Maximum Intensity Projection
Alongside the surfaces a MIP projection of a specific channel can be added by selecting the MIP segmentation group. When the MIP segmentation group is used in combination with the surface segmentation groups, a clearer representation can be obtained of the different objects in the image. In other words, the MIP of a channel can used as a spatial reference for the objects present in other channels.
The Huygens Surface renderer window showing a Widefield image of a kinetochore complex. The added MIP projection provides a spatial reference for the objects present in other channels. Data courtesy of Dr. Livio Kleij, Medical Oncology, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Rendering a movie
The Huygens Movie Maker allows you to create sophisticated animations using the MIP, SFP and Surface renderers. However, the Surface Renderer can also create simple animations on its own by transitioning between two custom keyframes.
Animated Surface 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.