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Real-time exploration of virtual plant ecosystems

Final Activity Report Summary - REVPE (Realtime Exploration of Virtual Plant Ecosystems)

Representation and simulation of plant ecosystems such as forests is an active research topic within the fields of computer graphics, agronomy, land settlement and sustainable development. The two partner labs of the REVPE Marie Curie OIF project were especially active actors in this topic: the Chinese academy of sciences, institute of automation (CASIA), in Beijing, was involved through the GreenLab project in the plant modelling and simulation aspects, while the French research institute for computer science and control (INRIA) was involved through the Evasion project in the computer graphics aspects.

These simulations produced a massive quantity of data which made the visualisation of the resulting virtual plants and trees difficult. The aim of the project was to allow for the interactive exploration of scenes composed by such objects. The project was based on the ongoing research, developed by Evasion, in the field of real-time rendering of complex three-dimensional scenes. In the context of this Marie Curie OIF project, we defined a representation based on volumetric images of prototypal virtual plants as well as a rendering algorithm which was able to efficiently visualise numerous interleaved instances of them.

As an example, our image-based representation handled multiple and possibly overlapping visually complex plants and trees arbitrarily which were distributed in a three-dimensional scene. It offered full parallax effect from any viewing direction and improved anti-aliasing of distant objects. Our representation and algorithms also handled levels-of-detail representation for multiple intersecting plants, as well as animated trees.