Interactive exploded views for molecular structures

M. Sbardellati, H. Miao, H. Y. Wu, M. E. Gröller, I. Barisic, Ivan Viola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


We propose an approach to interactively create exploded views of molecular structures with the goal to help domain experts in their design process and provide them with a meaningful visual representation of component relationships. Exploded views are excellently suited to manage visual occlusion of structure components, which is one of the main challenges when visualizing complex 3D data. In this paper, we discuss four key parameters of an exploded view: explosion distance, direction, order, and the selection of explosion components. We propose two strategies, namely the structure-derived exploded view and the interactive free-form exploded view, for computing these four parameters systematically. The first strategy allows scientists to automatically create exploded views by computing the parameters from the given object structures. The second strategy further supports them to design and customize detailed explosion paths through user interaction. Our approach features the possibility to animate exploded views, to incorporate ease functions into these animations and to display the explosion path of components via arrows. Finally, we demonstrate three use cases with various challenges that we investigated in collaboration with a domain scientist. Our approach, therefore, provides interesting new ways of investigating and presenting the design layout and composition of complex molecular structures.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2019 Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine, VCBM 2019
PublisherEurographics Association
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783038680819
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


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