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Surface Rendering

Another less-used but very powerful way to enhance the visibility of image detail is to treat the brightness levels as elevations to generate a rendered surface representation. Human vision is highly adapted to interpreting surface geometry from the pattern of light that scatters in various directions. In a full implementation of this method, the specularity of the surface can be varied from mirror-like (polished metal) to diffuse (plaster of paris), and the light source can be positioned at an elevation and azimuth to reveal minor details without obscuring the rest of the structure. This interactive Java tutorial illustrates the use of rendering the appearance of a surface by interpreting pixel brightness values as elevation to increase the visibility of detail.

Interactive Java Tutorial
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The tutorial initializes with a randomly selected specimen appearing in the Specimen Image window. The Choose A Specimen pull-down menu provides a selection of specimen images, in addition to the initial randomly chosen one. The Original and Rendered buttons display either the original grayscale image or the rendered result.

Contributing Authors

John C. Russ - Materials Science and Engineering Dept., North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27695.

Matthew Parry-Hill, and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.


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