The following applications are all products, primarily managed by Kitware, that use VTK:


  • ITK – An open-source software toolkit for performing registration and segmentation that can use VTK to display results
  • ParaView – An open-source, multi-platform application designed to visualize data sets using VTK
  • VolView – A system for interactive volume visualization using VTK

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Andretta Innovations LLC

Andretta Innovations LLC developed a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model 4D visualizer in Python/VTK. The program, designed by Dr. Thomas Andretta, post-processes WRF netCDF output files into a multi-dimensional visual presentation for meteorologists and research scientists. It has options for displaying terrain, microphysics species, and wind vectors as functions of the model time step, grid spacing, and elevation. The example shows a snowstorm from December 26, 2003, 1800 UTC, in eastern Idaho. Multiple snowbands (purple) are visible over a wide valley and adjacent mountains. Low-level winds are strongest (green to blue) over higher terrain. Streamtracer tubes (white) highlight a small circulation center in the valley.


MAX3D is a visualization software package used for analyzing and visualizing X-ray diffraction in 3D reciprocal space. It uses VTK as rendering engine and Qt as GUI builder. It has been installed and used in over 100 labs around the world. It supports multiple vendor-specific image formats, such as Bruker, Mar, Rigaku (d*TREK and R-AXIS), and Stoe, etc.

A 3D volume (or image) is the central data object of MAX3D. A typical use of MAX3D starts with synthesizing a 3D volume from a sequence of 2D diffraction images. Then, users have various ways to explore the diffraction volume in 3D reciprocal space, such as volume rendering, slicing, sphere view, 1D plots. One important feature of MAX3D is the use of volume of interest (VOI), specified by a box widget. Users can reload a higher-resolution volume within the VOI, produce 2D/1D projections of VOI and export them for further analysis in other software in addition to aforementioned features.


Infolytica’s MagNet for SOLIDWORKS Add-In

MagNet for SOLIDWORKS is the foremost 3D electromagnetic field simulator embedded in the industry leading CAD software. A combination beyond compare: just one design environment for drawing the model and analyzing the performance of any EM device such as power transformers, sensors, MRI, actuators, solenoids and much more. MagNet utilizes VTK’s glyphing, slicing, clipping annotation and other capabilities to display visual elements.

Void coil solution

Multi-field extension of topological analysis: Techniques for multivariate (multi-field) data do exist in information visualization, where parallel coordinates, spider plots, etc., are widely used. But, these tools are of little use for scientific datasets, where the interpretation of data is intimately tied to physical space/time or to the scale of scientific datasets, which is routinely measured in gigabytes or terabytes. Techniques for multi-field analysis would be of enormous benefit across the diverse range of application domains that rely on (scientific) visualization, including aerospace, materials engineering, climatology and meteorology astrophysics, radiology, and surgical planning.

DuPont on X-Ray Tomography: Genetic modifications in plants can lead to structural modifications within plants seeds. DuPont has been investigating changes in arabidopsis seeds since its genetic code was completely known. Wild-type seeds with no genetic alterations are compared with seeds that have genetic alterations made. A three-dimensional movie of three arabidopsis seeds mounted on a glass fiber is available for download. Download animation (2.2MB AVI)

Geocap GeoScience Environment: Geocap offers a rapid application development tool for geoscience research and development. The building blocks (data) and their logical interaction are available through 2D and 3D visualizations via a high-level scripting language.

Visualization of AFM Images of Nanoscale DNA Templates
Used in Nanodevice Fabrication
The two pictures on this page are visualizations of the same Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) image done in different ways with VTK. The pictures show two short strands of DNA stretched across the gap between a pair of gold electrodes. The two strands of DNA are visible at the bottom the trench between the electrodes. Proteins can be synthesized that will bind to specific unique locations in the DNA template. The resulting DNA template structure enables researchers to assemble the components for a nanoscale device in the precise order or location needed. The DNA strands in the images are only 1 nanometer tall, and the seemingly enormous trench is only 400nm wide. By comparison, a human hair is 40,000 nm wide. VTK has several valuable features, which make it ideal for visualization of the 512x512 “range” images produced by AFM’s. The availability of spot lights in VTK has been essential for displaying fine surface detail in AFM images. The use of 2 spotlights to make the 1 nm tall strands of DNA stand out may not be readily apparent when gold spotlights are used, but it is easy to see with the orange spot lights. The ability to make arbitrarily large image files with vtkRenderLarge makes it extremely easy to generate images for publication. For example, the images on this page were originally 2400x2400 resolution before downsizing. Some of the other useful features of VTK for AFM image visualization are available in the object classes vtkImageGaussian for smoothing, vtkImageWarp to create a polygonal surface from an image, and several object classes for polygonal surface decimation.

BioImageXD – is a multi-purpose post-processing tool for bioimaging. The software can be used for simple visualization of multi-channel temporal image stacks to complex 3D rendering of multiple channels at once. Animations of 3D renderings can be easily created using virtual camera flying paths or key-frames. Image processing tools include deconvolution, registration, and tens of tools for mathematical and logical processing and noise reduction. Analysis tools cover both object-based and voxel-based approaches with, for instance, versatile tools for colocalization analysis, numerous segmentation methods with elaborate numerical analyses, and an advanced motion tracking algorithm. All processing and analysis methods can be built into pipelines and run for hundreds of datasets at once with the Batch Processor, and simulated image data can be created for method validation. BioImageXD features an intuitive graphical user interface, designed to enable accurate scientific quality and control, as well as image processing in high throughput.

VisTrails is an open-source scientific workflow and provenance management system that supports data exploration and visualization. VisTrails provides a general infrastructure that can be combined with existing systems and libraries to record and manage data provenance. Official releases come with several packages including VTK, matplotlib, and ImageMagick. The system is written in Python/Qt and runs on Mac, Unix, and Windows.

3D Slicer is a free, open-source, extensible application for visualization and image analysis, particularly for medical images. Funded and directed by the National Alliance for Medical Image Computing (NA-MIC), the Neuroimage Analysis Center (NAC), the National Center for Image-Guided Therapy (NCIGT), and numerous other NIH and government initiatives, 3D Slicer is being applied to research and applications ranging from pre-clinical animal studies to surgical planning and guidance, medical robot control, and population studies.

MapInfo: MapInfo Corporation (NASDAQ: MAPS) provides location-based business intelligence solutions that enable customers to find, serve, and grow their customers by establishing meaningful, long-term Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. MapInfo is now adding 3D features to its software, powered by VTK.

Osirix is an image processing software dedicated to DICOM images (“.dcm” / “.DCM” extension) produced by imaging equipment (MRI, CT, PET, PET-CT, SPECT-CT, Ultrasounds, etc.). It is fully compliant with the DICOM standard for image communication and image file formats. OsiriX is able to receive images transferred by DICOM communication protocol from any PACS or imaging modality (C-STORE SCP/SCU and Query/Retrieve : C-MOVE SCU/SCP, C-FIND SCU/SCP, C-GET SCU/SCP, WADO) .

OsiriX has been specifically designed for navigation and visualization of multimodality and multidimensional images: 2D Viewer, 3D Viewer, 4D Viewer (3D series with temporal dimension, for example: Cardiac-CT), and 5D Viewer (3D series with temporal and functional dimensions, for example: Cardiac-PET-CT). The 3D Viewer offers all modern rendering modes: Multiplanar reconstruction (MPR), Surface Rendering, Volume Rendering, and Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP). All these modes support 4D data and are able to produce image fusion between two different series (PET-CT and SPECT-CT display support).

Visualization of Diffpack Simulations: Diffpack has been extended with VTK to yield a new and powerful simulation and analysis tool. It demonstrates how to filter general Diffpack data into specific VTK data formats (vtkStructuredGrid and vtkUnstructuredGrid). The same object-oriented software design philosophy used in both Diffpack and VTK enables straightforward coupling (on the source code level) to achieve interactive simulation and visualization.

Visbox: The VisBox is an affordable, yet complete, projection-based VR system. It is a general purpose VR system that can be used for a variety of applications. VTK applications run on the VisBox with the added benefits of life-size stereo graphics, head tracking, and direct manipulation. Shown here is a simple VTK application that runs on the system. It allows the user to view isosurfaces for volume datasets in stereo with head tracking. Correct off-axis projections are displayed when head movements are made, allowing the user to intuitively examine and comprehend complicated structures.

National Library of Medicine Visible Human:The Visible Human project provides computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and physically imaged cross sections of human data. VTK is used to generated the isosurfaces and volume renderings of the data. (This image is courtesy of Bill Lorensen at General Electric Corporate Research and Development in Niskayuna, NY.)