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Nested or intersecting surfaces are proven techniques for visualizing shape differences between static 3D objects (Weigle and Taylor II, IEEE Visualization, Proceedings, pp. 503–510, 2005). In this paper we present an image-based formulation for these techniques that extends their use to dynamic scenarios, in which surfaces can be manipulated or even deformed interactively. The formulation is based on our new layered rendering pipeline, a generic image-based approach for rendering nested surfaces based on depth peeling and deferred shading.

We use layered rendering to enhance the intersecting surfaces visualization. In addition to enabling interactive performance, our enhancements address several limitations of the original technique. Contours remove ambiguity regarding the shape of intersections. Local distances between the surfaces can be visualized at any point using either depth fogging or distance fields: Depth fogging is used as a cue for the distance between two surfaces in the viewing direction, whereas closest-point distance measures are visualized interactively by evaluating one surface’s distance field on the other surface. Furthermore, we use these measures to define a three-way surface segmentation, which visualizes regions of growth, shrinkage, and no change of a test surface compared with a reference surface.

Finally, we demonstrate an application of our technique in the visualization of statistical shape models. We evaluate our technique based on feedback provided by medical image analysis researchers, who are experts in working with such models.

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