Stroke-based splatting: an efficient multi-resolution point cloud visualization technique

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Current state-of-the-art point cloud visualization techniques have shortcomings when dealing with sparse and less accurate data or close-up interactions. In this paper, we present a visualization technique called stroke-based splatting, which applies concepts of stroke-based rendering to surface-aligned splatting, allowing for better shape perception at lower resolutions and close-ups. We create a painterly depiction of the data with an impressionistic aesthetic, which is a metaphor the user is culturally trained to recognize, thus attributing higher quality to the visualization. This is achieved by shaping each object-aligned splat as a brush stroke, and orienting it according to globally coherent tangent vectors from the Householder formula, creating a painterly depiction of the scanned cloud. Each splat is sized according to a color-based clustering analysis of the data, ensuring the consistency of brush strokes within neighborhood areas. By controlling brush shape generation parameters and blending factors between neighboring splats, the user is able to simulate different painting styles in real time. We have tested our method with data sets captured by commodity laser scanners as well as publicly available high-resolution point clouds, both having highly interactive frame rates in all cases. In addition, a user study was conducted comparing our approach to state-of-the-art point cloud visualization techniques. Users considered stroke-based splatting a valuable technique as it provides a higher or similar visual quality to current approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1397
Number of pages15
JournalVisual Computer
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Householder formula
  • Non-photorealistic rendering
  • Point cloud visualization
  • Splatting


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