'Skeleton Climbing': fast isosurfaces with fewer triangles

Tim Poston , H.T. Nguyen , Pheng-Ann Heng and Tien-Tsin Wong ,
in Proceedings of Pacific Graphics'97, Seoul, Korea, October 1997, pp 117-126.


Skeleton Climbing is an algorithm that builds triangulated isosurfaces in 3D grid data, more economically than Marching Cubes, and without the time penalty of current mesh decimation algorithms. Building the surface from its intersections with grid edges (1-skeleton), then faces (2-skeleton), then cubes (3-skeleton), treats the data in a uniform way; this allows a 25% reduction in the number of triangles produced, while still creating a true separating surface at similar speed.

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Visual Comparison

The following table compares the statistical and visual results of the generated meshes.
Data Set Marching Cubes Skeleton Climbing w/o step 4 Skeleton Climbing with step 4
No of Triangles 13,968 13,968 10,464
Timing 1.81 sec 1.55 sec 1.61 sec
CT skull
No of Triangles 592,368 595,802 446,990
Timing 62.02 sec 63.38 sec 60.60 sec
No of Triangles 263,438 265,536 195,588
Timing 55.82 sec 59.80 sec 63.15 sec
Mt. St Antonio
No of Triangles 268,252 268,368 201,686
Timing 113.77 sec 92.91 sec 96.33 sec

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