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Enhancing molecular visualization: Perceptual evaluation of line variables with application to uncertainty visualization

  • Data are often subject to some degree of uncertainty, whether aleatory or epistemic. This applies both to experimental data acquired with sensors as well as to simulation data. Displaying these data and their uncertainty faithfully is crucial for gaining knowledge. Specifically, the effective communication of the uncertainty can influence the interpretation of the data and the user’s trust in the visualization. However, uncertainty-aware visualization has gotten little attention in molecular visualization. When using the established molecular representations, the physicochemical attributes of the molecular data usually already occupy the common visual channels like shape, size, and color. Consequently, to encode uncertainty information, we need to open up another channel by using feature lines. Even though various line variables have been proposed for uncertainty visualizations, they have so far been primarily used for two-dimensional data and there has been little perceptual evaluation. Thus, we conducted two perceptual studies to determine the suitability of the line variables blur, dashing, grayscale, sketchiness, and width for distinguishing several values in molecular visualizations. While our work was motivated by uncertainty visualization, our techniques and study results also apply to other types of scalar data.

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Author:Anna Sterzik, Nils Lichtenberg, Michael Krone, Daniel BaumORCiD, Douglas W. Cunningham, Kai Lawonn
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Computers & Graphics
First Page:401
Last Page:413
Year of first publication:2023
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