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Next: 1.1.3 Animated streamlines and Up: 1.1 Appropriate visualisation techniques Previous: 1.1.1 Hedgehog

1.1.2 Streamlines

Streamlines attempt to address some of the problems of hedgehog. Streamlines are the lines that massless particles would follow if introduced into the vector field. Again, they are usually coloured according to the vector magnitude.

Streamlines are also easy to construct, but are more computationally expensive than hedgehogs. They provide an excellent, easily understood view of the direction of the vector field, and the colour provides the magnitude well without redundancy.

However, streamlines have no inherant direction when displayed visually (unlike hedgehogs), and as such can be ambiguous as to which direction the massless particles are actually flowing. Also, while streamlines are generally less visually complex as hedgehogs, they may still be too visually complex to allow the viewing of more than a few slices of a data cube. Since streamlines are thin lines, they are worse than hedgehogs in showing vorticity. The extension to streamlines called ribbons creates wide streamlines, which can twist to show the vorticity of the field.

Kevin Pulo