communication mediumIEEE Transactions of Visualization and Computer Graphics
We present a method for the browsing of hierarchical 3D models in which we combine the typical navigation of hierarchicalstructures in a 2D environment—using clicks on nodes, links, or icons—with a 3D spatial data visualization. Our approach is motivated bylarge molecular models, for which the traditional single-scale navigational metaphors are not suitable. Multi-scale phenomena, e. g., inastronomy or geography, are complex to navigate due to their large data spaces and multi-level organization. Models from structuralbiology are in addition also densely crowded in space and scale. Cutaways are needed to show individual model subparts. The camerahas to support exploration on the level of a whole virus, as well as on the level of a small molecule. We address these challenges byemploying HyperLabels: active labels that—in addition to their annotational role—also support user interaction. Clicks on HyperLabelsselect the next structure to be explored. Then, we adjust the visualization to showcase the inner composition of the selected subpart andenable further exploration. Finally, we use a breadcrumbs panel for orientation and as a mechanism to traverse upwards in the modelhierarchy. We demonstrate our concept of hierarchical 3D model browsing using two exemplary models from meso-scale biology.