Key 3D Data Visualization Tools and Best Practices - XenonStack

What is 3D Data Visualization?

3-D Dimensional data which provides the perception of depth, breadth, and height. Three-dimensional visualizations developed to provide both qualitative and quantitative information about an object.3D visualizations visualized with the three-phase process of scene, geometry, and rendering. Datasets increase in size, the need for analysis and visualization tools for the data also becomes essential. 3D visualization generation viewed from any angle. Analysis operations, like visualization operations, may be either scene-based or object-based and deal with methods of quantifying object information.

Some examples of 3D shapes are prisms, pyramids, spheres, cones, cubes, etc.


How to Adopt 3D Visualization?

The following are elements that make up a 3D object Visualization –

  • Renderer
  • Scene
  • Camera
  • Mesh
  • Lighting
  • Animating

Before rendering any 3D object onto the screen, set up the scene, camera, and renderer. These three things will render javascript graphics on the HTML page. Below shows the basic structure of any 3D object.

Renderer

The renderer is the place to put the result of the scene and set some fundamental properties of the scene. In 3D, multiple and different objects available. Set the background color, the size of the renderer, and the pixel aspect ratio for higher density displays. Create WebGLRenderer, we pass it the size of the window as a parameter and then append it to the DOM.

Scene

A scene is the container of all the objects rendered by programs. It contains the objects, lights, some characters and comprises a camera to capture for rendering.

Camera

The camera gives the properties which result in the viewport into our scene, position, the field of view, and perspective. Field of view, from the bottom to the top of the viewable area in degrees. Aspect ratio, the camera’s viewable width divided by the visible height. Near and far to specify the closest and furthest point at which items clipped, or out of the camera’s view.

The Perspective Camera takes four arguments. The Field of View, the aspect ratio, the near clip plane, the far clip plane.

Adding objects to the scene –

  • Create a Geometry
  • Create a Material
  • Create a Mesh
  • Add mesh to the scene

Geometry

Geometry is the mathematical formula of an object. A Geometry gives us the vertices of the objects that we want to add to the scene. Different types of geometry types are –

Material

A Material defined as the properties of an object and its behavior with the light sources of the scene. Different types of materials –

Lights

It is common to see lights around the area while watching any screen. They aid the visualized direction (animated models) or position and also the model visible.

Different Light types –

AmbientLight, PointLight, DirectionalLight, SpotLight and HemisphereLight.

Animating

For applying animation inside the render loop, change the properties. Mesh created, access to a group of features useful to apply animation effects.


Why 3D Visualisation Matters?

Three-Dimensional visualizations represent visualizations in all angles with just turning off the camera in the scene. While considering the two-dimensional formats, there is a limit on how much information to take and use visualization for making decisions, planning and targeting customers. Three-Dimensional allows to draw which character if scene changed. It easily communicates with the internal features. Some of the applications include GIS(Geographic Information Systems), geographic visualizations in a three-dimensional view, provides more interaction which is essential for understanding. It gives a sense of immersion of the environment where the user appreciates the scale of change and visualizes the impact of building design on the external environment and the inhabitants.

GIS examples will include city planning, build information planning, coastal analysis, and modeling and wind farm assessment.


How 3D Visualization Works?

Steps to make the three.js program –

Add the HTML file, load the three.js file.


<html>
<head>
<title>three.js example</title>
</head>
<body>
<script src="three.js"></script>
</body>
</html>

Add main.js code file.

Create the empty scene to add the objects.


/*  var scene = new THREE.Scene();  */

Add a camera, pass parameters FOV(field of view), aspect ratio, near plane, and far plane.


/*  var camera = new THREE.PerspectiveCamera(75,    window.innerWidth/window.innerHeight,0.1,1000);  */

Create WebGL renderer, pass the size of the window and then append it to dom.


/* var renderer = new THREE.WebGLRenderer();
renderer.setSize(window.innerWidth, window.innerHeight, false);
document.body.appendChild(renderer.domElement);  */

Add geometry can be of different types of the cube, sphere, etc.


/* var geometry = new THREE.BoxGeometry(1,1,1,1);  */

Add material passing the colors and light sources to the scene.


/* var material = new THREE.MeshNormalMaterial({color: 0x00ff00}); */

Create the mesh and add colors to the cube using mesh.


/* var cube = new THREE.Mesh(geometry, material );

scene.add( cube );

camera.position.z = 5;  */

Animate the scene; the animated code goes inside render, animate the x and y rotation of cube.


*/   
var animate = function () {
requestAnimationFrame( animate );

cube.rotation.x += 0.01;
cube.rotation.y += 0.01;

renderer.render( scene, camera );  */

Benefits of 3D Visualization

 

Effective Communication

3-D visualization gives the user the ability to understand the complexity of the data by seeing the object in a 3-D way from x, y, and z-axis.

Identify design flaws

3D visualization enables the users to see design flows and perform visualization of objects before building impacting time execution of the project.


Tools for 3D Visualization

Chart 3D

Charts 3D allows users to create 3D visualizations of the data without doing any code. After users import datasets, Charts 3D generates an interactive graphic, such as a, scatter plot, geospatial plot or line graph. Users can switch between 3D and 2D and can filter the data.

Charts 3D leverages the power of 3D create engaging and insightful visualizations.

Features –

Data Import – Import CSV or XLSX files.

Create Visualization – Select the chart type to be used for visualizing data among Scatter, Bar and Geospatial plot.

Chart Interaction – Allows to Rotate, Zoom, and Pan the graph to view from different perspectives.

3D View – Can switch between a 2D and 3D view of the graph when presenting insights.

Export – Easily export and share visualizations

Three.js

Three.js provides 3D visualizations; it comes with canvas, SVG renderers to render whatever we want to put on the screen, it also includes access to WebGL, no need to write too much code.

Three.js provides built-in lights for applying to materials MeshLambertMaterial and MeshPhongMaterial. These lights affect the elements in different ways depending on the type of light and their properties as well as the features of the materials themselves.

To render 3D graphics on a webpage, requires WebGL (Web Graphics Library), a Javascript API for rendering interactive 3D with any compatible web browser without the use of plugins. It accesses a computer’s specialized graphics hardware using JavaScript and renders the output to a webpage in HTML canvas element. Three.js works with WebGL, as it has many useful functions pre-written, which would otherwise require a lot of effort.