volume data and OpenGL

Dear all.

I am completly new to 3D visualisation so I am sorry if my question is naive. I have looked at this website and one called HeNe. I can see that OpenGl is a very powerful language but most of the applications seem to be aimed at producing 3d scenes from primitive objects, useful for CAD-CAM, VR etc.

I can see how with voulme data quads etc could be used to provide a rendering of a 3D data set from medical imageing. I am willing to put in the time and effort to learn the language and read the books etc, I am not scared of the struggle.

So my question is, is openGL the correct frame work for this or will I always be working around the language because it was not set up for volume data visualisation tasks? Is there another more applicable laungage to use?

I have looked at VTK and it seems very simple but as ever you I think in the long run you pay heavily with flexability for such convenience. I have used both C and some java for scientific computing and GUI’s for many years but I am completly new to graphics and know nothing about the capabilities of OpenGL and it’s framework.

Any advice about where to concentrate my efforts would be greatly appreciated as I do not want to set off in the wrong direction.



Unless you use a language or API that is designed for a application as in your case medical imageing, you will still have to work at the primitive level to create the rendering rountines for the data.

Yes openGL is a works at the primitive level, you also can find helper API’s that add higher level functions. GLU is a helper library that adds utility functions based on the openGL primities, plus there are many other library written by others to add higher level functions.

Also I know already that some medical imageing software already uses openGL for rendering the image.

Since you already know C and openGL is written with C, that should make using it easier then say direct X.

[This message has been edited by nexusone (edited 02-28-2004).]