Homunculus Warping: Conveying importance using self-intersection-free non-homogeneous mesh deformation

Bernhard Reinert, Tobias Ritschel, Hans-Peter Seidel
MPI Informatik
Pacific Graphics, Volume 31, Number 7, 2012


   author={Bernhard Reinert and Tobias Ritschel and Hans-Peter Seidel},

   title={Homunculus Warping: {C}onveying Importance using Self-intersection-free Non-homogeneous Mesh Deformation},

   journal={Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. Pacific Graphics 2012)},





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Size matters. Human perception most naturally relates relative extent, area or volume to importance, nearness and weight. Reversely, conveying importance of something by depicting it at a different size is a classic artistic principle, in particular when importance varies across a domain. One striking example is the neuronal homunculus; a human figure where the size of each body part is proportional to the neural density on that part. Seeking to use this metaphor on digital 2D images or 3D surfaces, we face the computational challenge of changing size locally but at the same time avoiding distortions globally. In this work we propose an approach to this problem which changes size locally and, at the same time, retains physically plausible deformation, prevails smoothness, and, most importantly, avoids fold-overs (collisions). Our approach allows to interactively manipulate importance and to produce high-quality, detailed surfaces in real-time. The results include an interactive 3D-rendered version of the classic sensorical homunculus but also a range of images and surfaces with different importance measures.
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