A central goal of scientific visualization is to produce a visual entity that maintains the integrity of the underlying data. Whether the final visual is a rendered image for a poster, an animation for a presentation, a model for 3D Printing, images for a web site, figures to be included in a paper, or a WebGL object; the base is the data.
The following outlines the steps that were undertaken to produce visual forms of spinal motor neurons. Motor neurons are neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) that have axons leading out of the CNS and eventually controlling the activity of muscle fibres.
The raw data were a set of points in space and the goal was to convert the set of points into a visual representation that was both an accurate representation of the data, and conveyed the visual impression of being a cell. Simply plotting the points, or connecting the points in a 3D graphics package led to a representation that viewers couldn’t relate to. It was important to view the data in a form that matched the viewer’s expectations.
The Original Data:
The original data for the projects were files that contained discrete measurements of cat spinal motor neuron geometry (dendrite positions and diameters).