High-quality extraction of isosurfaces from regular and irregular grids

John Schreiner, Carlos E. Scheidegger, Cláudio T. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Isosurfaces are ubiquitous in many fields, including visualization, graphics, and vision. They are often the main computational component of important processing pipelines (e.g., surface reconstruction), and are heavily used in practice. The classical approach to compute isosurfaces is to apply the Marching Cubes algorithm, which although robust and simple to implement, generates surfaces that require additional processing steps to improve triangle quality and mesh size. An important issue is that in some cases, the surfaces generated by Marching Cubes are irreparably damaged, and important details are lost which can not be recovered by subsequent processing. The main motivation of this work is to develop a technique capable of constructing high-quality and high-fidelity isosurfaces. We propose a new advancing front technique that is capable of creating high-quality isosurfaces from regular and irregular volumetric datasets. Our work extends the guidance field framework of Schreiner et al. to implicit surfaces, and improves it in significant ways. In particular, we describe a set of sampling conditions that guarantee that surface features will be captured by the algorithm. We also describe an efficient technique to compute a minimal guidance field, which greatly improves performance. Our experimental results show that our technique can generate high-quality meshes from complex datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1212
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Advancing front
  • Curvature
  • Isosurface extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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