Real-Time Ray Tracing and Volume Rendering in Molecular Visualization

Lukas Marsalek, Anna Katharina Dehof, Iliyan Georgiev, Daniel Stöckel, Stefan Nickels, Hans-Peter Lenhof, Philipp Slusallek, and Andreas Hildebrandt

EMBO Workshop on Visualizing Biological Data (VizBi)
Heidelberg, March 2010



A particularly important task in structural bioinformatics is to provide (1) accurate and informative (3D) spatial representation of molecular arrangements, (2) quantitative and topological measurements like molecular volumes, surface areas, or cavities, (3) effective extraction of relevant information from volumetric data arising in X-Ray crystallography or electron tomography, and (4) fast and simple creation of publication-quality images.

Recent developments in real-time ray tracing have enabled fast and high-quality visualization of complex 3D scenes and also forged its perception as a general sampling method reaching well beyond rendering only. We demonstrate this flexibility, intuitiveness and practical usability on the examples of volume rendering, quantitative measurements, and versatile high-quality polygonal rendering of structural representations.