Cinematic Visualization of Multiresolution Data: Ytini for Adaptive Mesh Refinement in Houdini

Kalina Borkiewicz, J. P. Naiman, Haoming Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have entered the era of large multidimensional data sets represented by increasingly complex data structures. Current tools for scientific visualization are not optimized to efficiently and intuitively create cinematic production quality, time-evolving representations of numerical data for broad impact science communication via film, media, or journalism. To present such data in a cinematic environment, it is advantageous to develop methods that integrate these complex data structures into industry-standard visual effects software packages, which provide a myriad of control features otherwise unavailable in traditional scientific visualization software. In this paper, we present the general methodology for the import and visualization of nested multiresolution data sets into commercially available visual effects software. We further provide a specific example of importing adaptive mesh refinement data into the software Houdini. This paper builds on our previous work, which describes a method for using Houdini to visualize uniform Cartesian data sets. We summarize a tutorial available on the website, which includes sample data downloads, Python code, and various other resources to simplify the process of importing and rendering multiresolution data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • miscellaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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