VTK Applications

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This page was based on Sebastien Barre's VTK Links: Applications page.

VTK-based applications or products. Some of them might give you a good overview of VTK and how to use it. Your own VTK work is definitely welcome here.

Visualizing Diffpack simulation results in VTK

(X. Cai, Univ. of Oslo) Diffpack has been extended with VTK to yield a new and powerful simulation and analysis tool. It demonstrates how to filter general Diffpack data into specific VTK data formats (vtkStructuredGrid and vtkUnstructuredGrid). The same object-oriented software design philosophy used in both Diffpack and VTK enables straightforward coupling (on the source code level) to achieve interactive simulation and visualization.

Data Visualization Architect 3.0

Data Visualization Architect 3.0 provides a graphical pipeline editor for the widely used and popular Visualization Toolkit (VTK) by encapsulating the VTK C++ classes and providing graphical equivalents. Connections are made by simply clicking on the source graphical component and dragging the connector to the target graphical component. Visualization Architect works in conjunction with the latest release build of VTK (4.2) and and will be updated to use version 4.4 when that becomes an official release.

Volumetric Modeling of Acoustic Fields in CNMAT's Sound Spatialization Theatre

(S. Khoury, A. Freed and D. Wessel, CNMAT) The Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) at the University of California Berkeley has developed a system for real-time simulation and visualization of acoustic fields. The purpose of the software is to help design the placement of speakers and control sound processing to create as large a acoustic "sweet spot" as possible. VTK was used in a custom acoustic design application.

OpenSoundEdit: An Interactive Visualization and Editing Framework for Timbral Resources

(A. Chaudhary, CNMAT, Berkeley) "The emergence of real-time audio synthesis on desktop computer systems is providing musicians and sound designers with richer and more complex control over sounds. These sounds are specified by different representations, including time-domain waveforms, frequency-domain sinusoidal components, physical models and resonance models. OpenSoundEdit is a sound editing system that provides a three-dimensional user interface to visualize and edit complex sounds composed from these different sound representations. Center for New Music and Audio Technology, Berkeley."

PDVF: The Parallel and Distributed Visualization Framework

(viz team, Los Alamos Nat'l Lab) The purpose of The Parallel and Distributed Visualization Framework (PDVF) is to create a reusable infrastructure for parallel and distributed visualization components which can be composed to solve terascale visualization problems. The ability to prototype solutions quickly will allow us to experiment with different approaches to compare their relative efficiencies. James Ahrens at LANL has been experimenting with VTK as a parallel rendering engine.

Virtual Creatures

(Stanford Univ., NSF) The virtual creatures project is a (NSF funded) project for viewing creatures using computerized, high resolution, digital representations. The plan is to create a library of virtual creatures designed for teaching. Students will be able to explore, visualize, touch, and change these creatures in ways that are impossible with real laboratory animals. Students will be able to learn about biology, physics mathematics, biomechanics, and biochemistry in a rich multidisciplinary learning environment.

Developing a Personal Computer-Based Data Visualization System Using Public Domain Software

(P. C. Chen ) "[...] Visualization Toolkit (VTK) is available on UNIX and PC platforms. [...]. It has abundant programming classes/objects that are contained in the system library. Users can also develop their own classes/objects in addition to those existing in the class library. Users can develop applications with any of the C++, Tcl/Tk, and JAVA environments. The present research will show how a data visualization system can be developed with VTK running on a personal computer. The topics will include: execution efficiency; visual object quality; availability of the user interface design; and exploring the feasibility of the VTK-based World Wide Web data visualization system. The present research will feature a case study showing how to use VTK to visualize meteorological data with techniques including, iso-surface, volume rendering, vector display, and composite analysis. [...]"

Simulating and Visualizing Natural Flocking Behaviour

(O. Schnapauff ) "Natural flocks of birds can show astonishingly complex movement of a great number of individuals, seemingly without a lot of communication being required to coordinate this behavior. If we want to reproduce this behavior for computer animation we want to avoid having to explicitly script the movement of each bird. [...]. This paper describes an enhanced implementation of [...] a model using MPI on a Cray T3E 900 parallel Computer for the computation and VTK (the Visualization Toolkit) on SGI and DEC Alpha machines for visualization. Both modules can be connected to allow real time viewing."


(H. Ulmer, Ch. Lindenbeck, Geological Institute Albert-Ludwigs-University - Germany) "The setup of a VRML visualization server is discussed. The so called VRengine is embedded in a World Wide Web server site accessible by the Internet community. Two geological applications show the advantages of the concept for the visualization of extended data sets. Model specific HTML forms and clickable image maps are provided to build up a visualization request. On the server site a VRML scene is generated by a CGI program using the Visualization Toolkit. To render the scene on the client site VRML plugins are available on most platforms. In addition to the visualization server concept, a short overview about the applied methods of geometric modeling is given."


"demviewer is a 3d terrain viewing program. It is built on the VTK toolkit for elevation data processing and 3D rendering with the user interface capabilities of ivtools. The VTK renderer in demviewer writes to the X window id of a Unidraw viewer.

Visualization of Damaged Structures

(M. P. Baker, D. Bock, R.Heiland, NCSA, University of Illinois) "Researchers working at high-performance computing centers are producing ever-larger data sets. Visualization of this data is crucial to understanding the phenomenon under study. But the sheer size of the data implies a significant set of challenges in data management and visualization. This report summarizes our experience in working with a very large-scale shock physics simulation. NCSA, University of Illinois."

Visualization Of Current Fields In A Single Blade Pump - CS6393 Scientific Visualization

(F. Reise) "The goal of this project is to use various visualization techniques to help to analyze current fields in a single blade pump. Various techniques will be applied and analyzed. Comments about the power and ease of use of the visualization toolkit will be made. Problems that occur while obtaining the data and cause difficulties in the evaluation are also shown."

Multi-Scale Free-Form Surface Description and Curvature Estimation

(Dr N. Khalili, P. Yuen, Dept. of Electronic and Electrical Eng., Univ. of Surrey) "Complete triangulated models of 3-D objects were constructed through automatic fusion of range images and used in our experiments. Diffusion of the surface is acheived through convolutions of local parametrizations of the surface with a 2-D Gaussian filter. Our method for local parametrization makes use of semigeodesic or goedesic polar coordinates as a natural and efficient way of sampling the local surface shape. The smoothing eliminates surface noise and small surface detail gradually. This process is repeated at each point of the surface and the new point positions after filtering define the smoothed surface. To achieve multi-scale description of a 3-D surface, the surface is then smoothed iteratively. This process is equivalent to heat diffusion of the surface. The theory described above has been adapted to a 3-D triangulated mesh."

Development of the Astronomical Image Archive and Catalog Database for Production of GSC-II

(G. Greene, B. McLean, B. Lasker) "The Catalogs and Surveys Branch (CASB) of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), in collaboration with a number of international astronomical institutions, is continuing with the development and creation of an archive of digitized images, and an associated catalog of stars and galaxies which cover the entire sky. These data are being made available to the astronomical community to support telescope operations and research projects."

Visualization of Reconstructed Potential Field on MRI-derived Scalp and Cortical Surfaces

(M. C. Erie, R. D. Sidman, C. H. Chu, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana) "The Cortical Imaging Technique (CIT) is among a number of computational algorithms for reconstructing the potential field at or below the scalp surface that have applications in noninvasive localization of epileptic spikes and seizures. The CIT models the head as a homogeneous sphere, and reconstructs the potential field inside the sphere based on the boundary conditions of scalp-recorded voltages. We describe a visualization tool that renders the potential field as constructed by the CIT on scalp and cortical surfaces derived from MRI images. [...]"

The breakdown of the Stratospheric Polar Night Vortex

(J. Clyne, M. Taylor, D. Kennison, Columbia University, National Center for Atmospheric Research) "The BSPNV is an atmospheric event that occurs once or twice each year in the polar wintertime stratosphere. As the polar vortex is formed, sharp gradients of potential vorticity at the vortex edge isolate polar air from the air at lower latitudes, producing conditions favorable for wintertime polar ozone depletion. Rossby waves propagating upward from the troposphere along the edge of the Polar Vortex grows exponentially in amplitude, eventually tearing the vortex apart. [...]". Nice pictures.

Planning and evaluation of reorienting osteotomies of the proximal femur in cases of SCFE using virtual three-dimensional models

(J. A. Richolt, M. Teschner, P. Everett, B. Girod,M. B. Millis, R. Kikinis) "Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is a disease affecting the geometry of adolescent hips. Evaluation of the slippage as well planning of correction surgeries is a major three-dimensional problem. Therefore, the current clinical approach, which is based on biplanar plain radiographs, is not satisfying. We have developed a software environment for planning and evaluation of reorienting osteotomies in severe cases of SCFE. In our system CT-based virtual surface models fitted by oriented bounding boxes (OBB) are manipulated. The hip motion as well as a correction surgery can be simulated. [...]."

15 Apr. 1999 :

NCSA Cave Visualization (also mentioned in Classes: CAVE )

(P. Rajlich, NCSA) The Visualization and Virtual Environments at NCSA use VTK in their Cave system for viewing isosurfaces and astronomical datasets. The Cave is a fully immersive room with head tracking and 3D manipulation. VTK is also used in a variety of other application such as resource/pollution visualization in the Chesapeake Bay, and tele-immersive visualization and collaboration

Geocap Geoscience Environment

Geocap offers a rapid application development tool for geoscience research and development. The building blocks (data) and their logical interaction are available through 2D and 3D visualizations via a high-level scripting language. "Here are a few examples of volumes, data types and graphics generated by Geocap."

7 May 1999 :


(C. Klesper , FU-Berlin) "EDV-based interactive visualization methods are becoming a very essential part in the creating and analyzing three-dimensional models in geoscience. Especially in the case of interactive 3D-visualization and validation of geometric models, the existing modeling systems can meet the user requirements only inadequate. This lack of functionality is often compensated by the user with a patchwork of of different small programs and applications. The task of this work was to find a program or a graphic library to adapt the capability of interactive 3D-visualization in an easy to use environment and to add it to the existing gravity and magnetic modeling system IGMAS." (example code available)

9 Sep. 1999 :

Visualisation of FEATFLOW/FEAST with VTK

(G. Kosakowski) "We use numerical simulations to examine the variability of groundwater flow patterns in representative fracture and fracture intersection geometries. In contrast to existing studies of smooth fracture walls and perfectly orthogonal intersections, we demonstrate that more realistic geometries lead to a rich spectrum of flow patterns. Moreover, numerical solution of the Navier-Stokes equations in these geometries indicates that non-Darcian flow behavior arises for Reynolds numbers als low as 1-100. Flow velocities which result in such Reynolds numbers often exist in naturally fractured formations, particularly in karst systems and in the vicinity of wells during pumping tests." (code available)

21 Sep. 1999 :

Visualizing Human Cortical Surface Models Created from Medical Images using VTK

(D. Yu, Image Analysis and Communications Lab, J. Hopkins Univ.) "Part of our lab's work involves creating accurate human cortical surface models from medical images. In order to visually validate the accuracy of our models, we have begun to explore methods to interactively visualize the complex 3-D surface models of the brain together with the images from which they were created."

15 Oct. 2000 :

VTK-CFD (or @ freshmeat)

(P. Ramachandran) "An easy to use python/Tkinter based, scalar/vector data visualizer. Originally designed for CFD data, but should work for other data too."

4 Apr. 2001 :


(V. Heuveline and H. Schmitt) "HiVision is a visualisation platform including advanced visualisation techniques for the analysis and exploration of data supplied by numerical simulation. Although primarily developed for visualisation in the area of computational fluid dynamics as part of the HiFlow project, the HiVision framework is discipline independent and may be advantageously used in various areas such as structural mechanics and reactive flow simulation."

22 May. 2001 :


(P. Ramachandran) "MayaVi is a free, cross platform, easy to use scientific data visualizer. It provides a GUI to ease the visualization process, is written in Python and uses the Visualization Toolkit (VTK) for the graphics."

LCA Vision

(LCA) "LCA Vision is a VTK-based visualization system. It is one of the only two general-purpose visualization tools that can display Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) data natively (no conversion to finite element). LCA Vision is the only package available that gives the scientist complete control over the hierarchy of AMR: dig as deep as you like, look at grids by themselves, as a group, whatever."