Exploration of the brain's white matter structure through visual abstraction and multi-scale local fiber tract contraction

Maarten H. Everts, Eric Begue, Henk Bekker, Jos B.T.M. Roerdink*, Tobias Isenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    We present a visualization technique for brain fiber tracts from DTI data that provides insight into the structure of white matter through visual abstraction. We achieve this abstraction by analyzing the local similarity of tract segment directions at different scales using a stepwise increase of the search range. Next, locally similar tract segments are moved toward each other in an iterative process, resulting in a local contraction of tracts perpendicular to the local tract direction at a given scale. This not only leads to the abstraction of the global structure of the white matter as represented by the tracts, but also creates volumetric voids. This increase of empty space decreases the mutual occlusion of tracts and, consequently, results in a better understanding of the brain's three-dimensional fiber tract structure. Our implementation supports an interactive and continuous transition between the original and the abstracted representations via various scale levels of similarity. We also support the selection of groups of tracts, which are highlighted and rendered with the abstracted visualization as context.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7042344
    Pages (from-to)808-821
    Number of pages14
    JournalIEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


    • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
    • fiber tracts
    • illustrative visualization
    • multi-scale representation
    • visual abstraction

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