Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reaction: Marching cubes, A high resolution 3D surface construction algorithm

This paper presents an algorithm, called "Marching cubes" that creates triangle models of constant density surfaces from 3D medical data. The algorithm uses a divide-and-conquer approach to generate interslice connectivity, and further create a case table that defines triangle topology.

The idea is to extract a polygonal mesh of an isosurface from a 3-D volume. The algorithm works only with cubic-cells(voxels). The algorithm falls under Isosurface extraction category which still remains one of the most commonly used visualization methods. I am wondering if there are any other interesting and highly used visualization methods existing today. As the paper was published in 1987, I am just curious had there been any developments in this area.

Moreover, the paper mentions that other methods introduce artifacts, whereas the "Marching cubes" algorithm produces models with unprecedented detail. Though the algorithm is explained clearly, nothing is really mentioned about the complexity of the algorithm, and it was not compared with other extraction algorithms in terms of complexity.