You are here
Exploring Surface Characteristics with Interactive Gaussian Images (A Case Study).
The Gauss map projects surface normals to a unit sphere, providing a powerful visualization of the geometry of a graphical object. It can be used to predict visual events caused by changes in lighting, shading, and camera control. We present an interactive technique for portraying the Gauss map of polygonal models, mapping surface normals and the magnitudes of surface curvature using a spherical projection. Unlike other visualizations of surface curvature, we create our Gauss map directly from polygonal meshes without requiring any complex intermediate calculations of differential geometry. For anything other than simple shapes, surface information is densely mapped into the Gaussian normal image, inviting the use of visualization techniques to amplify and emphasize details hidden within the wealth of data. We present the use of interactive visualization tools such as brushing and linking to explore the surface properties of solid shapes. The Gauss map is shown to be simple to compute, easy to view dynamically, and effective at portraying important features of polygonal models.