Thursday, November 20, 2014

SMILI: A simple open-source framework for scientific visualisation

I'm pleased to announce the release of SMILI, a simple framework for scientific visualisation, under a BSD license on SourceForge and GitHub.

In this post, I thought I would cover some of the cool features and command-line utilities available for researchers and developers. The overall documentation can be found here. This post will hopefully be complimentary to this and the videos of SMILI already available on YouTube.

Some of the additional features of SMILI are the ability to share the same processing and display capabilities of the GUI applications with their command-line counterparts. For example, you have the following command-line tools to assist you in your research:

  1. milxImageViewer and milxModelViewer - These are fast, no-nonsense viewers for n-D images and 3D polygonal data, such as triangulated surfaces. They don't load pesky plugins, they just allow you to view your data fast. The right click options are still available, especially the processing elements. However, any interaction between windows is no longer possible for obvious reasons. You can use sMILX for this.
  2. milxOverlay and milxAnimate - These applications allow you to take screenshots/movies of models and images together with pre-defined views (which can be created in sMILX). This is great for visually inspecting your results or for websites when there are a lot of them. There is a batch script in 'scripts/' directory to batch these applications over multiple threads for quick generation.
  3. milxImageApp and milxModelApp - These are the 'swiss-army knife' like applications for images and models respectively. With them you can simply process all the images/models you provide via the command-line in the same way with many of the algorithms available in sMILX. For example, to threshold labelled images (having Nifti format) within a certain range and storing result in 'auto', we could simply:
    milxImageApp --threshold --above 225 --below 180 *.nii.gz -p auto/auto_
  4. milxLabelVisualisation - Sometimes it is necessary to visualise labelled images using iso-surfacing or marching cubes or volume rendering with certain colour maps. This application provides a way of doing these things with off-screen rendering.
  5. milxAssistant - This application provides a simple web browser interface to explore the SMILI documentation in a similar fashion to Qt Assistant.

As updates occur, I will post notices on twitter and Google+. Major development updates will be posted here in this blog. Currently, a journal publication for SMILI is under review entitled:
"Focused Shape Visualisation via the Simple Medical Imaging Library Interface"
Visualisation and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on, 2014, Submitted
Upon acceptance, more details, plugins and revision history will be released. If you have any feedback, feel free to post as a ticket, email the mailing-list or message me on SourceForge.

Cheers Shakes - L3mming

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