Scientific Visualization Service

This service helps CSC's users to create or improve their visualizations, working together with CSC's specialist allocated for the project. CSC will set up a development project with defined goals and length. A few examples of potential targets are listed below.

Importing data

Although general visualization applications like ParaView or VisIt have data readers for most formats, ambiguieties in format definitions often result in the data needing to be rewritten before it can be succesfully read in. Data I/O times can be enhanced by converting it to a VTK format native to these applications. Using a binary VTK format may speed up the data reader one order of magnitude, paramount when animating time variable data.

Large data sets

Moving big data around can become a serious performance bottleneck. Big files would be best visualized where they originate. The latest CPU rendering algorithms like ParaView's OSPRay, or use of Taito's GPU's via VirtualGL middleware, make it possible to interactively visualize extensively heavy geometries without moving the data. For detailed description see ParaView instructions.

Visual impact

Rendering algorithms of visualization applications have matured, and presently utilize advanced ray tracing techniques like ambient occlusion, to enhance image details. Even more options are available via external rendering, using free open source 3D graphics applications like Blender and POV-Ray. CSC's specialists can provide help in using such applications, or take part in polishing off the final visualization.

Illustrating scientific principles and ideas

Resources permitting, CSC's specialists can make illustrations and animations from scratch without data, using sophisticated 3D graphics, image editing, and special effects applications - see Image examples.


How to apply

CSC reserves the right for prioritizing the development projects and control the dedicated resources. The service is free of charge for CSC's academic users. No specific application is needed; just send a free-form description of your case to The following aspects would typically be addressed

  • the time frame available for the project, to finish up the visualization
  • target to be visualized: the particular parameters or phenomena of interest, or just a better general understanding of the data
  • purpose/venue: paper, poster, science magazine, teaching material, intermediate simulation result
  • style/special requirements: scientific rigor vs. artisticity, conventions in colors and symbols, image size and format

For a development project, please provide a demo data set of the original format but smaller in size, for testing purposes. Also describe in detail the data structure and the parameters involved. Visualization project is an iterative process - take part in tossing ideas around, and comment on the resulting test images.