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3D Data Visualization Tools, Techniques and Example

26th Apr, 2024
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    3D Data Visualization Tools, Techniques and Example

    When graphic content is produced using 3D software, the process is referred to as 3D visualization. Similar terms include 3D rendering, excellent CGI, 3D graphics, etc. As 3D visualization has gained popularity over the past few years, producing high-quality digital content has become increasingly important. The manufacturing, engineering, construction, entertainment, and video game industries all use this technology. This article will learn more about the definition, benefits, suggested software, and future of 3D data visualization online. 

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    What is 3D Data Visualization?

    This visualization is made in three dimensions to provide qualitative and quantitative information about an object. Three-dimensional information gives the impression of height, width, and depth. The three stages of a three-phase 3D visualization are the scene, the geometry, and the rendering. Data analysis and 3D data visualization tools are becoming more and more crucial as datasets expand. Since 3D Visualization can be viewed from any angle, it is more difficult to understand than 2D Visualization and more complicated. 

    Data points are plotted on three axes in a 3D scatter plot to show the relationship between three variables. The position of the marker that symbolizes each row in the data table is determined by the values of the columns set on the X, Y, and Z axes. 

    The plot can be given yet another dimension by adding a fourth variable to the size or color of the markers. The term "correlation" describes the connection between two variables. There is a strong correlation between the corresponding variables when the markers in a 3D scatter plot are nearly straight lines in any direction. 

    Few examples where visualizing 3D data is impactful: 

    • Improving or analyzing architectural Visualization 
    • Product design, manufacture, and presentation 
    • Media and entertainment 
    • 3D Visualization are effective in presentations and communications by marketing a product on eCommerce or retail. 
    • Media & Advertising etc. 

    How to Adopt 3D Visualization?

    The following are components of a 3D object Visualization: 

    1. Renderer 
    2. Scene 
    3. Camera 
    4. Mesh 
    5. Lighting 
    6. Animating. 

    Before rendering any 3D objects to the screen, configure the scene, the camera, and the renderer. If these three requirements are satisfied, 3d data visualization javascript graphics will be displayed on the HTML page.

    1. Renderer

    Some of the fundamental properties of the scene are set in the renderer, which is also where the scene's outcome is placed. In 3D, there are many unique objects to choose from. For higher-density displays, decide on the background color, renderer size, and pixel aspect ratio. We first create a WebGLRenderer, then append it to the DOM after passing the window's size as a parameter.

    2. Scene

    Scenes hold all the rendered objects that the software has produced. The rendering camera, lights, objects, and characters are all included.

    3. Camera

    The position, field of view, and perspective provided by the camera create the viewport into our scene. The field of view is expressed in degrees from the bottom to the top of the visible area. The aspect ratio is calculated by dividing the camera's viewable width by the visual height. To specify the distance and proximity at which objects were clipped or obtruded from the camera's field of view. There are four defenses of the perspective Camera. The Field of View, the Aspect Ratio, the Near Clip Plane, and the Far Clip Plane, respectively.

    For adding objects to the scene - 

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

    4. Geometry

    The geometry of an object is its mathematical formula. The geometry provides the vertices of the objects we want to include in the scene. 

    5. Material

    The characteristics of an object and how they interact with the lighting sources in the scene are referred to as its material.

    6. Lights

    While watching any screen, lights are frequently visible nearby. They support the model visual and the animated direction or position—different types of light. 

    Different Light types are shown below- 

    • AmbientLight 
    • PointLight 
    • DirectionalLight 
    • Spotlight 
    • HemisphereLight 

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    Why 3D Visualization Matter?

    Three-dimensional visualizations can represent visualizations from all angles when the camera is off in a scene. When using two-dimensional formats for decision-making, planning, and customer targeting, there is a limit to how much information can be taken in and used for visualization. Three dimensions allow for drawing appropriate characters if the scene changes. It easily exchanges information with the features inside. 

    GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is one application that enables three-dimensional geographic visualizations and more interaction. The user can see the extent of the change and how building design affects the neighborhood and its residents because they are immersed in the environment. 

    How Does 3D Visualization Work?

    We will go through the fundamental steps to develop three.js program shown below. If you want to learn in detail, You can get started in three.js from this link. You can also see a few 3d visualization or animation examples from this link

    Step 1: Add the HTML file, and load the three.js file.

    Step 2: Add main.js code file. Create an empty scene to add the objects.

    Step 3: Add a camera, pass parameters FOV(field of view), aspect ratio, near plane, and far plane.

    Step 4: Create WebGL renderer, pass the size of the window and then append it to dom.

    Step 5: Add geometry can be of different types of the cube, sphere, etc

    Step 6: Add material passing the colors and light sources to the scene.

    Step 7: Create the mesh and add colors to the cube using mesh.

    Step 8: Animate the scene; the animated code goes inside render, animate the x and y rotation of cube.

    What Are the Benefits of 3D Data Visualization?

    Below are some advantages of visualizing 3D data: 

    • Impactful Communication 

    With the help of 3-D visualization, the user can comprehend the complexity of the data by viewing the object from the x, y, and z axes in a 3-D manner. 

    • Design flaws identification 

    Users of 3D visualization can perform object visualization and see design flows before building, which can speed up project execution.

    What Are the Best Tools for 3D Data Visualization?

    The following list of the top tools for 3D data visualization

    1. Chart 3D

    Users of Charts 3D can generate code-free 3D visualizations of the data. After users import datasets, Charts 3D creates an interactive graphic, such as a scatter plot, geospatial plot, or line graph. Users can filter the data and change between 3D and 2D views. 

    Charts 3D uses the capabilities of 3D to produce fascinating and insightful visualizations. 

    Features – 

    • Import CSV or XLSX files for data. 
    • Create Visualization - From the Scatter, Bar, and Geospatial plot chart types, choose the one to be used to visualize the data. 
    • Chart interactivity - Rotate, zoom, and pan the graph to see it from various angles. 
    • 3D View - When presenting insights, the graph can be viewed in both 2D and 3D. 
    • Easy export and sharing of visualizations 

    2. Three.js

    Three.js offers 3D visualizations; there is no need to write a lot of code because it includes a canvas, SVG renderers, and access to WebGL, so we can render anything we want on the screen.

    For applying to the materials MeshLambertMaterial and MeshPhongMaterial, Three.js offers built-in lights. Depending on the type of light, its characteristics, and the materials' characteristics, these lights have different effects on the elements.

    WebGL (Web Graphics Library), a Javascript API for rendering interactive 3D with any compatible web browser without plugins, is necessary to render 3D graphics on a webpage. It uses JavaScript to access a computer's specialized graphics hardware and renders the results to an HTML canvas element.WebGL is compatible with Three.js because it already includes many helpful functions that would otherwise require a lot of work.

    When to Use 3D in Data Visualizations?

    Let's examine the advantages and disadvantages of using 3-D to determine whether it's beneficial in your circumstance: 

    1. If you don't have a third dimension, don't use 3-D. Similarly, don't let 3D data visualization Excel tilt your pie chart! The tilting simply distorts your data by giving the segment size a falsely inflated appearance. 
    2. Think about what you are blocking. Some of your data will be obscured when you display it in three dimensions (called occlusion). Can I do that? You might be able to make it interactive, but doing so would be time-consuming and taxing on the viewer's cognitive abilities because they would have to create a mental model from memory, which is particularly challenging when viewing abstract material. 
    3. Think about the likelihood of perspective distortion. When plotting data in three dimensions, the farther away objects appear smaller, which is problematic when comparing the size or length of objects. When a relative position is crucial, such as when you must accurately estimate the distance or angle between objects, keep your data in 2-D. 
    4. Think about whether comprehending the data's general shape is your primary objective. For instance, there may be points that frequently overlap if you are continuously gathering measurements for a particular variable. Even though many of the points overlap in 2-D, the overall shape can be seen if the third dimension of time or iterations is added. This would be an excellent application for 3-D. 
    5. Think about the skills and needs of your readers. Does the reader need or have the time to examine the visualization from various angles? An engineer, for instance, must be able to see around an object when studying its airflow or how atoms interact with magnetic fields, especially if the object isn't symmetrical. However, it's possible that the reader won't need to investigate the third dimension, in which case, including it will only cause more confusion. Another possibility is that your reader won't be able to interact with the visualization in a way that allows it to make sense (what if most of your views come from mobile devices ?). 

    In conclusion, 3-D is acceptable if you have a third dimension, consider the drawbacks of a 3-dimensional display, and truly add value to your reader without putting them under unnecessary cognitive strain.

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    Visualization operations can be scene-based or object-based and focus on techniques for quantifying object information. Prisms, pyramids, spheres, cones, cubes, etc., are a few examples of 3D shapes. City planning, build information planning, coastal analysis, modeling, and wind farm assessment are a few GIS or 3d map data visualization  

    examples. While presenting data in 3D poses some risks, this article hopefully demonstrates that it is not the only way to convey information to a viewer. Please remember to think about adding a third dimension the next time you are making a chart.  

    People involved in 3D visualization must make the most of it and continuously seek small advancements. The journey is just beginning, and there are many exciting possibilities ahead.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    The main issue with 3D charts, the confusion brought on by the depth of field effect, is a problem that is inherent in the chart design itself, which makes them unique. For the eye and the brain, representing the third dimension on a two-dimensional surface is challenging. 

    2Is D3 the best visualization tool?

    Since D3 is a very flexible tool that can add dynamic properties to most of its functions, it is frequently chosen over other data visualization in 3d tools. There are no established visualization formats for D3.

    3Why is 3D data important?

    Three-dimensional visualizations can be used for various tasks, including making models, enhancing maps, making games, printing objects, developing virtual worlds, improving communications, and simulating homes. 

    4What is 3D image visualization?

    When graphic content is produced using 3D data visualization software, the process is referred to as 3D visualization. Similar expressions include excellent computer-generated imagery (CGI), 3D rendering, and so forth.


    Utpal Kar

    Blog Author

    Utpal Kar, a seasoned Corporate Trainer, excels in conducting training programs encompassing Advanced Excel, Power BI, Python, SQL Server, and Unix/Linux technologies. Notably, he holds a Python Certification from LinkedIn, showcasing his proficiency in the domain. Currently serving as a Corporate Trainer at Innovative Technology Solutions, Utpal specializes in Python, VBA Macro, Advance Excel, Power BI, and PostgreSQL, along with a breadth of other languages like .Net and Java. Prior to this role, he made significant contributions at NIIT Ltd., providing technical support and solutions to Franchisee Centres. With over 4 years at Innovative Technology Solutions, Utpal remains dedicated to enhancing skill sets and driving performance for professionals across various industries.

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