Evaluation of Transfer Function Methods in Direct Volume Rendering of the Blood Vessel Lumen (Englisch)

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Visualization of contrast enhanced blood vessels in CT angiography data presents a challenge due to varying concentration of the contrast agent. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the correctness (effectiveness) in visualizing the vessel lumen using two different 3D visualization strategies, thereby assessing the feasibility of using such visualizations for diagnostic decisions. We compare a standard visualization approach with a recent method which locally adapts to the contrast agent concentration. Both methods are evaluated in a parallel setting where the participant is instructed to produce a complete visualization of the vessel lumen, including both large and small vessels, in cases of calcified vessels in the legs. The resulting visualizations are thereafter compared in a slice viewer to assess the correctness of the visualized lumen. The results indicate that the participants generally overestimated the size of the vessel lumen using the standard visualization, whereas the locally adaptive method better conveyed the true anatomy. The participants did find the interpretation of the locally adaptive method to be less intuitive, but also noted that this did not introduce any prohibitive complexity in the work flow. The observed trends indicate that the visualized lumen strongly depends on the width and placement of the applied transfer function and that this dependency is inherently local rather than global. We conclude that methods that permit local adjustments, such as the method investigated in this study, can be beneficial to certain types of visualizations of large vascular trees.

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