Computer Graphics Today
Research in computer graphics has evolved tremendously in the last decade. Besides classical topics, such as geometry processing, visualization and rendering, graphics interfaces such as interactive systems, augmented reality and virtual reality become more and more relevant, while new areas like visual computing and computational photography emerge.
Not only the rapid development of graphics hardware, but also stronger overlaps with interdisciplinary fields, such as computer vision, applied optics, visual perception, human-computer interaction and others shaped computer graphics in the previous years and made it to what it is today: It is an exciting and multidisciplinary area of research with applications in almost every segment of our modern lives. It ranges from visual effects that we can see (but not really notice anymore) in blockbuster movies, over computer games that some of us enjoy too often, to visualization techniques that professionals such as doctors and scientists apply to make things visible and to understand them -- and it does not end at the graphical user interfaces that most of us carry in our pockets.
Also future display and imaging technology will influence computer graphics and computer vision, as well as their applications. Currently, we still think in pixels that are displayed on flat screens or captured on flat sensors. But in future, display and imaging devices will not be limited to planar wave fronts or planar surfaces. Displays evolve to present high-dynamic range, high-resolution, full 3D images, while cameras evolve in a dual way. Projectors, for example, are flexible in presenting images everywhere, and are scalable in resolution, speed, size, brightness, and dynamic range. These are properties that most other displays do not provide. Yet they are not only simple display devices, but also represent spatially and temporally controllable light sources that support imaging technology such as microscopes, or enable more flexible virtual studios. In combination with cameras, they built powerful imaging devices that benefit from structured illumination and capturing.
Our research mission is focused on the investigation and development of new techniques that support future display and imaging technologies. Real-time computer graphics and computer vision driven by laws of visual perception represent the technical foundations. Display and imaging devices, such as projectors, cameras, (auto-)stereoscopic, and holographic displays in combination with the underlying concepts of applied optics represent the technological foundations. We are also adapting rendering, visualization, as well as image processing and analysis techniques to become more efficient when linking them closely to the underlying display and imaging technology, and to models of human visual perception. The applications are interdisciplinary, and currently range from projection displays over digital video composition and defocus compensation, radiological visualization to microscopy.
Such a strong coupling of computer graphics and computer vision is today referred to as "visual computing".
Recently, the institute's research focus has been extended with the fields of information visualization and visual analytics. Over the last decades the possibilities to collect and store data increase at a much faster rate than our ability to use it for making decisions. In our research we strive to develop novel techniques that allow analysts from various domains, in particular biology and medicine, to extract knowledge from their data and gain new insights. Visual Analytics even goes a step further by combining the power of visualization with automated analytical techniques such as statistics.