VES: Development in Iterations

October 21, 2011

My name Is Pat Marion; I’m an engineer at Kitware and part of the VES team. VES is the VTK OpenGL ES 2.0 Rendering Toolkit. We’ve already released a 0.0.2 version of KiwiViewer, the demonstration app for VES, on iPhone and iPad, available in the App store. We have a lot of things coming soon, including KiwiViewer for the Android market and new demos to show at VisWeek 2011.  Here’s a sneak peak at one of the demos-


The VES git repo will be released early next month after another round or two of iterations. We’ve been doing a lot of iterations (usually just one or two weeks in length) for the past eight weeks to push VES forward as quickly as possible.

Here’s how the iterations proceed in our git repo: a new a topic branch is created and owned by one of the VES team members. Work-in-progress on the topic is staged so that other team members can try the feature, or simply read through the code.  Next, iterate (duh!) – the topic is merged to master as soon as we’re comfortable so that everyone can base new work on it.

At this early stage in development, it is to everyone’s benefit to merge early. We keep a close eye on valgrind and benchmark the frames-per-second so that we never lose performance. Who cares if the merge comes with a few loose ends; those will be tied up in the next iteration, which starts now!

And so, here we are, iterating on our code at high speed to prepare demos for VisWeek. Last week I added support for 2D text annotations using VTK’s freetype classes. The annotations can be anchored to 3D points on a mesh, allowing for updated annotation positions as the camera moves around the scene.  This feature was demonstrated in the demo video linked above.

Another demo in the iteration pipeline is basic animation support. Using ParaView’s animation controls, you can export animation geometries for viewing on mobile devices. The animation timeline is controlled with touch interaction, and in the next iteration we want to flex the VES render-to-texture functionality to generate keyframe thumbnails along the timeline.

We’ll be showing these demos and more at VisWeek, including a 3D image slice widget and a mesh clipping widget, so we’ll see you there in Rhode Island! Come find us and our iPad and Android tablets at the Kitware table and stay tuned for a source code release announcement. As always, if you are interested in learning more about VES and our mobile visualization capabilities, please contact Kitware for more information.

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