The central focus of our research is to understand visual abstraction. Understanding means 1. to identify meaningful visual abstractions, 2. to assess their effectiveness for human perception and cognition and 3. to formalize them to be executable on a computational machinery. The outcome of the investigation is useful for designing visualizations for a given scenario or need, whose effectiveness can be quantified and thus the most understandable visualization design can be effortlessly determined. The science of visualization has already gained some understanding of structural visual abstraction. When for example illustrators, artists, and visualization designers convey certain structure, or visually express how things look, we can often provide a scientifically-founded argument whether and why is their expression effective for human cognitive processing. What has not been given sufficient scientific attention to, is advancing the understanding of procedural visual abstraction, in other words investigating visual means that convey what things do or how things work. This missing piece of knowledge would be very useful for visual depiction of processes and dynamics that are omnipresent in science, technology, but also in our everyday lives. The upcoming project will therefore investigate theoretical foundations for visualization of processes. Physiological processes that describe the complex machinery of biological life will be picked as a target scenario. The reason for this choice is two-fold. Firstly, these processes are immensely complex, are carried-out on various spatial and temporal levels simultaneously, and can be sufficiently understood only if all scales are considered. Secondly, physiological processes have been modeled as a result of intensive research in biology, systems biology, and biochemistry and are available in a form of digital data. The goal will be to visually communicate how physiological processes participate on life by considering the limitations of human perceptual and cognitive capabilities. By solving individual visualization problems of this challenging target scenario, the research will provide first pieces of understanding of procedural visual abstractions that are generally applicable, beyond the chosen target domain. Prototype implementation of the developed technology is available at the GitHub repository:

Prototype implementation of the developed technology is available at the GitHub repository:


cellVIEW is a new tool that provides fast rendering of very large biological macromolecular scenes and is inspired by state-of-the-art computer graphics techniques. Click here for additional information.

Invited Talks

18.11.2016: Arthur J. Olson, Envisioning the Visible Molecular Cell
17.10.2016: Kwan-Liu Ma, Emerging Topics for Visualization Research: Part1, Part2
07.10.2016: Marc Streit, From Visual Exploration to Storytelling and Back Again
04.12.2015: Jan Palacek, Visual Analysis of Protein Complexes: From Protein Interaction to Cellular Processes
19.04.2013: Jan Koenderink, Shape in Visual Awareness


  • EU 7th Framework Program PCIG13-GA-2013-618680
  • WWTF Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds VRG11-010

Research Areas

  • In this research area, we develop rendering methods that are inspired by scientific illustrations, in order to make complex biological information more intuitive to understand and more pleasant to read.
  • In this research area, we develop new visualization techniques to support biologists in data analysis and create visualizations to disseminate scientific discoveries in biology.


73 Publications found:
Image Bib Reference Publication Type
Maximilian Sbardellati, Haichao Miao, Hsiang-Yun Wu, Eduard Gröller, Ivan Barisic, Ivan Viola
Interactive Exploded Views for Molecular Structures
In Proceedings of the 9th Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine, pages 103-112. September 2019.
Conference Paper
Peter Mindek, Tobias Klein, Ludovic Autin, Theresia Gschwandtner
Microtubule Catastrophe
VCBM 2019, Image Contest Jury's Award
[Microtubule Catastrophe]
Miscellaneous Publication
Robert Horvath
Image-Space Metaballs Using Deep Learning
[image] [Master Thesis]
Master Thesis
Pascal Plank
Effective Line Drawing Generation
[image] [Master Thesis]
Master Thesis
Hsiang-Yun Wu, Martin Nöllenburg, Filipa L. Sousa, Ivan Viola
Metabopolis: Scalable Network Layout for Biological Pathway Diagrams in Urban Map Style
BMC Bioinformatics, 20(187):1-20, May 2019. [paper] [video]
Journal Paper (without talk)
Eric Mörth
Interactive Reformation of Fetal Ultrasound Data to a T-Position
[image] [Master Thesis]
Master Thesis
Peter Mindek
Molecular Visualization, 10. November 2018, FYI: Informationsdesign Konferenz Wien, Nordbahn-Halle, Vienna
Thomas Koch
Semantic Screen-Space Occlusion for Multiscale Molecular Visualization
Bachelor Thesis
Haichao Miao, Elisa De Llano, Johannes Sorger, Yasaman Ahmadi, Tadija Kekic, Tobias Isenberg, Eduard Gröller, Ivan Barisic, Ivan Viola
Multiscale Visualization and Scale-adaptive Modification of DNA Nanostructures
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 24(1), January 2018. [paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Lukas Lipp
Visualization of Fiber Orientation in Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymers
[Bachelor Thesis] [image]
Bachelor Thesis
Stefan Dietrich
Smart Visibility Technique for Linear and Planar Molecular Assemblies
Bachelor Thesis
Nicholas Waldin
Using and Adapting to Limits of Human Perception in Visualization
Supervisor: Ivan Viola
Peter Mindek, Gabriel Mistelbauer, Eduard Gröller, Stefan Bruckner
Data-Sensitive Visual Navigation
Computers & Graphics, 67(C):77-85, October 2017. [Paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Nicholas Waldin, Manuela Waldner, Ivan Viola
Flicker Observer Effect: Guiding Attention Through High Frequency Flicker in Images
Computer Graphics Forum, 36(2):467-476, May 2017. [paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Daniel Gehrer, Ivan Viola
Visualization of molecular machinery using agent-based animation
In Proceedings of SCCG 2017. May 2017.
Conference Paper
Ivan Viola, Martin Seyfert
Dynamic word clouds
In Proceedings of SCCG 2017. May 2017.
[image] [paper]
Conference Paper
David Kouřil
Maya2CellVIEW: 3D Package Integrated Tool for Creating Large and Complex Molecular Scenes
Master Thesis
Haichao Miao, Gabriel Mistelbauer, Alexey Karimov, Amir Alansary, Alice Davidson, David F.A. Lloyd, Mellisa Damodaram, Lisa Story, Jana Hutter, Joseph V. Hajnal, Mary Rutherford, Bernhard Preim, Bernhard Kainz, Eduard Gröller
Placenta Maps: In Utero Placental Health Assessment of the Human Fetus
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 23(6):1612-1623, 2017.
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Peter Mindek, David Kouřil, Johannes Sorger, David Toloudis, Blair Lyons, Graham Johnson, Eduard Gröller, Ivan Viola
Visualization Multi-Pipeline for Communicating Biology
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 24(1), 2017. [Paper] [Preview Movie] [Slides]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Lucas Dworschak
Semantically Zoomable Choropleth Map
Bachelor Thesis
Johannes Sorger, Peter Mindek, Tobias Klein, Graham Johnson, Ivan Viola
Illustrative Transitions in Molecular Visualization via Forward and Inverse Abstraction Transform
In Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine (VCBM), pages 21-30. September 2016.
[paper] [video]
Conference Paper
Matthias Bernhard, Manuela Waldner, Pascal Plank, Veronika Solteszova, Ivan Viola
The Accuracy of Gauge-Figure Tasks in Monoscopic and Stereo Displays
IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 36(4):56-66, July 2016.
Journal Paper (without talk)
Hani Gadllah
Comparative Visualization of the Circle of Willis
Bachelor Thesis
Peter Mindek
Multi-Scale Molecular Data Visualization, 3. May 2016, QCB Workshop on Visualizing & Modeling Cell Biology, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Maximilian Langer
Dynamic Multiscale Vector Volumes
Bachelor Thesis
Jan Byska, Mathieu Le Muzic, Eduard Gröller, Ivan Viola, Barbora Kozlikova
AnimoAminoMiner: Exploration of Protein Tunnels and their Properties in Molecular Dynamics
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 22(1):747-756, January 2016. [Paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Viktor Vad, Douglas Cedrim, Wolfgang Busch, Peter Filzmoser, Ivan Viola
Generalized box-plot for root growth ensembles
BMC Bioinformatics, 2016.
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Matthias Glinzner
Texturing of 3D Objects using Simple Physics and Equilateral Triangle Patches
Bachelor Thesis
Matthias Reisacher, Mathieu Le Muzic, Ivan Viola
CellPathway: A Simulation Tool for Illustrative Visualization of Biochemical Networks
In Proceedings of WSCG. 2016.
Conference Paper
Michael Krone, Barbora Kozlikova, Norbert Lindow, Marc Baaden, Daniel Baum, Julius Parulek, Hans-Christian Hege, Ivan Viola
Visual Analysis of Biomolecular Cavities: State of the Art
Computer Graphics Forum, 35(3):527-551, 2016. [paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Ivan Viola
Effective Visual Representations
Habilitation Thesis
Veronika Solteszova, Åsmund Birkeland, Sergej Stoppel, Ivan Viola, Stefan Bruckner
Output-Sensitive Filtering of Streaming Volume Data
Computer Graphics Forum, 35, 2016. [paper]
Journal Paper (without talk)
Daniel Cornel, Artem Konev, Berhard Sadransky, Zsolt Horvath, Andrea Brambilla, Ivan Viola, Jürgen Waser
Composite Flow Maps
Computer Graphics Forum, 35(3):461-470, 2016. [paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Mathieu Le Muzic, Peter Mindek, Johannes Sorger, Ludovic Autin, David Goodsell, Ivan Viola
Visibility Equalizer: Cutaway Visualization of Mesoscopic Biological Models
Computer Graphics Forum, 35(3), 2016. [Paper] [Slides]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Matthias Reisacher
CellPathway a Simulation Tool for Illustrative Visualization of Biochemical Networks
Bachelor Thesis
Alexandra Diehl, L. Pelorosso, Kresimir Matkovic, Claudio Delrieux, Marc Ruiz, Eduard Gröller, Stefan Bruckner
Albero: A Visual Analytics Tool for Probabilistic Weather Forecasting.
Poster shown at Poster at Workshop Big Data & Environment (November 2015)
Mathieu Le Muzic, Ludovic Autin, Julius Parulek, Ivan Viola
cellVIEW: a Tool for Illustrative and Multi-Scale Rendering of Large Biomolecular Datasets
In Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine, pages 61-70. September 2015.
[] [paper]
Conference Paper
Pascal Plank
Human Visual Perception of 3D Surfaces
Bachelor Thesis
Jan Byska, Adam Jurcik, Eduard Gröller, Ivan Viola, Barbora Kozlikova
MoleCollar and Tunnel Heat Map Visualizations for Conveying Spatio-Temporo-Chemical Properties Across and Along Protein Voids
Computer Graphics Forum, 3(34):1-10, May 2015. [Paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Barbora Kozlikova, Michael Krone, Norbert Lindow, Martin Falk, Marc Baaden, Daniel Baum, Ivan Viola, Julius Parulek, Hans-Christian Hege
Visualization of Biomolecular Structures: State of the Art
In Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis) - STARs, pages 061-081. May 2015.
Conference Paper
Peter Mindek, Ladislav Čmolík, Ivan Viola, Eduard Gröller, Stefan Bruckner
Automatized Summarization of Multiplayer Games
In Proceedings of Spring Conference on Computer Graphics 2015, pages 93-100. April 2015.
[Paper] [Slides]
Conference Paper
Mathieu Le Muzic, Manuela Waldner, Julius Parulek, Ivan Viola
Illustrative Timelapse: A Technique for Illustrative Visualization of Particle Simulations on the Mesoscale Level
In Visualization Symposium (PacificVis), 2015 IEEE Pacific, pages 247-254. April 2015.
[paper] [screenshot]
Conference Paper
Simon Brenner
Projector-Based Textures for 3D-Printed Models - Tangible Molecular Visualization
Master Thesis
Manuela Waldner, Mathieu Le Muzic, Matthias Bernhard, Werner Purgathofer, Ivan Viola
Attractive Flicker: Guiding Attention in Dynamic Narrative Visualizations
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 20(12):2456-2465, December 2014. [paper] [Preview video] [Submission video]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Åsmund Birkeland, Cagatay Turkay, Ivan Viola
Perceptually Uniform Motion Space
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 20(11):1542-1554, November 2014.
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Roman Püngüntzky2
HistoryTime: A Chrome history visualization using WebGL
Bachelor Thesis
Manuela Waldner, Stefan Bruckner, Ivan Viola
Graphical Histories of Information Foraging
In Proceedings of the 8th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Fun, Fast, Foundational , pages 295-304. October 2014.
Conference Paper
Ivan Kolesár, Julius Parulek, Ivan Viola, Stefan Bruckner, Anne-Kristin Stavrum, Helwig Hauser
Interactively illustrating polymerization using three-level model fusion
BMC Bioinformatics 2014, 15(345):1-16, October 2014.
Journal Paper (without talk)
Åsmund Birkeland, Veronika Solteszova, Dieter Hönigmann, Odd Helge Gilja, Svein Brekke, Timo Ropinski, Ivan Viola
The Ultrasound Visualization Pipeline
In Scientific Visualization, pages 283-303, September 2014 [paper]
Article in a Book
Daniel Gehrer
CellUnity an Interactive Tool for Illustrative Visualization of Molecular Reactions
[Bakk Thesis]
Bachelor Thesis
|◀ Results 1 - 50 of 73 ▶|
Download list as Bibtex, HTML (Advanced, Expert), JSON (with referenced objects), CSV, Permalink


Project Leader

Start Date

End Date