Tag Archives: cross section

Cross sections

Shadow sampling (left) and temperature sampling (right) using a cross section through a tree crown. Tree crown invisible in the right image of each pair.

Shadow sampling (left) and temperature sampling (right) using a cross section through a tree crown. Tree crown invisible in the right image of each pair.

One of the great advantages of 3D visualization is the flexible handling of cross sections. Cross section visualization can be made dynamic, i.e. cross sections can be moved to desired positions within an environmental system with real-time updates of the cross section image. Furthermore, context objects around the section can be switched on and off for close inspection of local influences. This way, cross sections can be used as factor sampling planes. EVO routines have been developed for moving cross sections along different axes and for switching between sampling of different factors.

Procedural textures: A perfect match for environmental factors

Three cross sections through a terrain using procedural textures for factor visualization in 3D-space

Three cross sections through a terrain using procedural textures for factor visualization in 3D-space

Understanding how spatiotemporal patterns of environmental factors relate to phenomena we observe in nature is a fundamental quest in environmental systems sciences. The complexity of these patterns makes visualization of factor gradients and dynamics particularly useful.

Fortunately, in Blender and in other 3D content creation software we can make use of so-called procedural textures, i.e. material definitions for objects that are continuously calculated through 3D-space using mathematical algorithms. This way it is possible, for example, to visualize patchy nutrient availability throughout a block section of a terrain. For this a specific noise texture can be parameterized. A simpler linear gradient texture can be used for water tables and the like.

To visualize more complex factor interactions overlays of different procedural textures and different blend modes for the colors can be used. Ultimately, for very specific or flexible pattern visualization Blender provides material components that can use material definitions of the powerful Open Shading Language.