GLNebula is a system designed for the real-time visualization of planetary nebulae models (and in general, any static one-component scalar field, provided that the data is in the correct form). produced by three-dimensional photoionization codes such as Cloudy 3D.
It uses three files: each one represents the emission values of one ionized element inside the nebula. The files are arranged in a cubical grid with one scalar per cell (see the File structure section of the manual), by using particles to represent each cell, real-time framerates can be achieved with large grids while keeping the appearance of being a full volume.
Each file is assigned to a particular color channel, so the scalar values of every element correspond to a certain color intensity, which coupled with color blending, transparency and texture support, preserve realism (see the screenshots section).
Due to the fact that the models tend to be of a very high resolution and that the program is using some OpenGL extensions not supported by integrated GPUs, a relatively modern video card is most recommended (a GeForce 2mx or equivalent is the minimum).
- Real time visualization of large models
- Free user-controlled camera: By operating the mouse, the user can rotate the model and zoom in and out of it.
- Two particle types: GLNebula uses camera-oriented quads (billboards) and point-sprites
coupled with display lists to provide fast performance.
- Full visualization parameters control: you can modify the transparency, particle size and type,
channel saturation, treshold value, etc. to adjust the model to your needs.
- Session management: Save the current visualization for posterior use, or restore
a previous one.
- Snapshot support: Write a png image of the current display window and optionally
embed a caption with relevant information to the visualization (session name, data files used and their assigned color).