Visual Computing: Illustrative Visualization

Duration: Jan 2013 - Dec 2020
Project leader: Ivan Viola
EU 7th Framework Program PCIG13-GA-2013-618680
WWTF Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds VRG11-010

General Information

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:


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


57 Publications found:
Image Bib Reference Publication Type
Daniel Gehrer, Ivan Viola
Visualization of molecular machinery using agent-based animation
In Proceedings of SCCG 2017. May 2017.
Conference Paper
Peter Mindek, David Kouřil, Johannes Sorger, David Toloudis, Blair Lyons, Graham Johnson, Meister Eduard Gröller, Ivan Viola
Visualization Multi-Pipeline for Communicating Biology
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 24(1), 2017. [Paper] [Preview]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
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 Šoltészová, 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
Maximilian Langer
Dynamic Multiscale Vector Volumes
Bachelor Thesis
Jan Byska, Mathieu Le Muzic, Meister 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
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)
Ivan Viola
Effective Visual Representations
Habilitation Thesis
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
Lucas Dworschak
Semantically Zoomable Choropleth Map
Bachelor Thesis
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
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
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
Matthias Reisacher, Mathieu Le Muzic, Ivan Viola
CellPathway: A Simulation Tool for Illustrative Visualization of Biochemical Networks
In Proceedings of WSCG. 2016.
Conference Paper
Matthias Glinzner
Texturing of 3D Objects using Simple Physics and Equilateral Triangle Patches
Bachelor Thesis
Matthias Reisacher
CellPathway a Simulation Tool for Illustrative Visualization of Biochemical Networks
Bachelor Thesis
Alexandra Diehl, L. Pelorosso, Kresimir Matkovic, Claudio Delrieux, Marc Ruiz, Meister Eduard Gröller, Stefan Bruckner
Albero: A Visual Analytics Tool for Probabilistic Weather Forecasting.
Poster shown at Poster at Workshop Big Data & Environment (2015-11-2015-11) In . 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, Meister 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, Meister 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
Roman Püngüntzky2
HistoryTime: A Chrome history visualization using WebGL
Bachelor Thesis
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
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)
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
Åsmund Birkeland, Veronika Šoltészová, 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
Veronika Šoltészová, Åsmund Birkeland, Ivan Viola, Stefan Bruckner
Visibility-Driven Processing of Streaming Volume Data
In Proceedings of EG VCBM 2014, pages 127-136. September 2014.
[Media Player] [Paper]
Conference Paper
Markus Müller, Linn E. S. Helljesen, Raphael Prevost, Ivan Viola, Kim Nylund, Odd Helge Gilja, Nassir Navab, Wolfgang Wein
Deriving Anatomical Context from 4D Ultrasound
In Proceedings of EG VCBM14, pages 173-180. September 2014.
Conference Paper
Matthias Bernhard, Efstathios Stavrakis, Michael Hecher, Michael Wimmer
Gaze-To-Object Mapping During Visual Search in 3D Virtual Environments
ACM Transactions on Applied Perception (Special Issue SAP 2014), 11(3):14:1-14:17, August 2014. [draft] [video]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Ivan Kolesár, Julius Parulek, Ivan Viola, Stefan Bruckner, Anne-Kristin Stavrum, Helwig Hauser
Illustrating Polymerization using Three-level Model Fusion
In Proceedings of IEEE BioVis 2014, pages 1-22. July 2014.
Conference Paper
Mathieu Le Muzic, Julius Parulek, Anne-Kristin Stavrum, Ivan Viola
Illustrative Visualization of Molecular Reactions using Omniscient Intelligence and Passive Agents
Computer Graphics Forum, 33(3):141-150, June 2014. [paper] [video]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Julius Parulek, Daniel Jönsson, Timo Ropinski, Stefan Bruckner, Anders Ynnerman, Ivan Viola
Continuous Levels-of-Detail and Visual Abstraction for Seamless Molecular Visualization
Computer Graphics Forum, 33(6):276-287, May 2014.
Journal Paper (without talk)
Chris Bösch
The Chaser: Chrome Extension for History Visualization
Bachelor Thesis
Dominik Köhle
Spatiotemporal genealogy visualization
Bachelor Thesis
Julius Parulek, Cagatay Turkay, Nathalie Reuter, Ivan Viola
Visual cavity analysis in molecular simulations
BMC Bioinformatics, 14(Suppl 19:S4 ):1-15, November 2013. [Paper]
Journal Paper (without talk)
Julius Parulek, Timo Ropinski, Ivan Viola
Importance Driven Visualization of Molecular Surfaces
Poster shown at 3rd IEEE Symposium on Biological Data Visualization (2013-10-13-2013-10-14) In . October 2013.
Endre M. Lidal, Mattia Natali, Daniel Patel, Helwig Hauser, Ivan Viola
Geological storytelling
Computer & Graphics, 37(5):445-459, August 2013.
Journal Paper (without talk)
Endre M. Lidal, Morten Bendiksen, Daniel Patel, Ivan Viola
Rapid Sketch-based 3D Modeling of Geology
In Proceedings of EnvirVis Short Papers 2013, 2013, pages 1-5. June 2013.
Conference Paper
Tyge Løvset, Dag Magne Ulvang, Tor Christian Bekkvik, Kåre Villanger, Ivan Viola
Rule-based method for automatic scaffold assembly from 3D building models
Computer & Graphics, 37(4):256-268, June 2013.
Journal Paper (without talk)
Mattia Natali, Endre M. Lidal, Julius Parulek, Ivan Viola, Daniel Patel
Modeling Terrains and Subsurface Geology
In INPROCEEDINGS, EuroGraphics 2013 State of the Art Reports (STARs), 2013, pages 155-173. May 2013.
Conference Paper
Manuela Waldner, Dieter Schmalstieg
Towards Ubiquitous Information Space Management
In POWERWALL: International Workshop on Interactive, Ultra-High-Resolution Displays, part of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2013), pages 1-6. May 2013.
[Position Paper]
Conference Paper
Ivan Viola, Åsmund Birkeland, Veronika Šoltészová, Linn Helljesen, Helwig Hauser, Spiros Kotopoulis, Kim Nylund, Dag Magne Ulvang, Ola Kristoffer Øye, Trygve Hausken, Odd Helge Gilja
High-Quality 3D Visualization of In-Situ Ultrasonography
In EG 2013 - Dirk Bartz Prize, pages 1-4. May 2013.
Conference Paper
Julius Parulek, Timo Ropinski, Ivan Viola
Seamless Visual Abstraction of Molecular Surfaces
In SCCG 2013 - 29th Proceedings Spring conference on Computer Graphics, pages 120-127. May 2013.
Conference Paper
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