Polygonal surface advection applied to strange attractors

S. Yan, N. Max, Kwan-Liu Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Strange attractors of 3D vector field flows sometimes have a fractal geometric structure in one dimension, and smooth surface behavior in the other two. General flow visualization methods show the flow dynamics well, but not the fractal structure. Here we approximate the attractor by polygonal surfaces, which reveal the fractal geometry. We start with a polygonal approximation which neglects the fractal dimension, and then deform it by the flow to create multiple sheets of the fractal structure. We use adaptive subdivision, mesh decimation, and retiling methods to preserve the quality of the polygonal surface in the face of extreme stretching, bending, and creasing caused by the flow. A GPU implementation provides efficient visualization, which we also apply to other turbulent flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2281-2290
Number of pages10
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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