Visualization: Making Space for 3-D Images
by Barry G. Blundell
John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2007
Hardcover, 425 pages, US $99.95
Reviewed by Michael R. (Mike) Mosher
Saginaw Valley State University
This book is a refreshing change from
narrowly focused books, driven by the
market to support commercial software
applications. Enhanced Visualization
is a report by a British computer scientist
upon a variety of electronic representational
methods and technologies.
As early as Campbell Swintons 1912
television proposal using a cathode ray
tube, scientists have worked on the representation
of three dimensions on a flat screen.
John Logie Bairds "Televisor"
was commercially available in 1930. In
the Second World War, radar created its
own rendering of objects in space, and
work was being done on video guidance
in German rocketry.
The book examines optics and characteristics
of the eye, and the geometry of planar
and volumetric screens. The author details
swept-volume and static-volume techniques,
their visual dead zones, display techniques
and technology, stereoscopy and varifocal
displays. We peruse photochromics and
image refresh issues. There are tips on
the care and feeding of voxels. OK, your
reviewer made that last one up, but there
is considerable discussion of volumetric
descendants of the pixel.
The reader is given flow charts of interaction,
as well as appropriate mathematical formula.
Each chapter has a summary Discussion,
and further questions called "Investigations",
seemingly directed towards students. There
is some discussion of traditional artistic
rendering techniques, admirably short.
Of greater interest to artists are the
many patent drawings, detailed and carefully
rendered line art, created to accurately
document the inventors innovations.
Passions motivating Dr. Blundells
research is evident in his choice of cover
image, Frank Hurleys photograph
of the ship that carried the polar explorer
Ernest Shackleton, stuck in the ice. The
author praises the image and analyzes
it for its lessons in spatial visualization,
then reprints a colleagues burst
of poetry that the polar exploration inspired.
It is noted is the author biography that
Blundell is committed to ethically applying
the 3D visualization techniques to distance
education in the developing world. As
Barry G. Blundell has methodically surveyed
the field and its technologies in this
book, this reviewer wishes him success
in their applications.