What is Visualization: Definition and 85 Discussions

Visualization or visualisation (see spelling differences) is any technique for creating images, diagrams, or animations to communicate a message. Visualization through visual imagery has been an effective way to communicate both abstract and concrete ideas since the dawn of humanity. Examples from history include cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek geometry, and Leonardo da Vinci's revolutionary methods of technical drawing for engineering and scientific purposes.
Visualization today has ever-expanding applications in science, education, engineering (e.g., product visualization), interactive multimedia, medicine, etc. Typical of a visualization application is the field of computer graphics. The invention of computer graphics (and 3D computer graphics) may be the most important development in visualization since the invention of central perspective in the Renaissance period. The development of animation also helped advance visualization.

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  1. W

    I A way to comprehend the geometry of a hypercube

    It's extremely hard, if not outright impossible, for our limited brain to visualize 4D objects. 3D objects are fine, but 4D is just impossible (except, maybe, to some people). However, at one point I figured out a way to comprehend (in some ways "visualize") the 4-dimensional hypercube, which...
  2. psyche A

    Drawing diagrams in physics is so difficult for me!

    TL;DR Summary: I have a hard time doing well in physics questions from my undergraduate course. The reason for this is because I don't understand how to draw the motions of the objects in diagrams. Basically, I'm terrible at diagram making and visualisation of events that occur within a physics...
  3. jaketodd

    B Very basic questions about visualizing spacetime

    I'd like to start with: Does the rubber sheet analogy still hold true enough? Or is there really no visualization (it's all mathematical constructs)? Does this picture analogy hold at all here? With the curved geodesics influencing the paths of things. Thanks!
  4. B

    I What does a complex vector "look" like?

    I'm trying to picture a complex vector in my mind. A real vector is usually drawn as an arrow pointing in some direction in space and having a positive real magnitude "length". I'm trying to understand a complex vector the same way. Is it drawn as an arrow pointing in some direction having a...
  5. Slimy0233

    Requesting Resources and Animations to understand Solid State Physics

    TL;DR Summary: I need animations to understand physics better. Any links and animations would be very appreciated. I have started learning Solid state physics and I am struggling somewhat to understand and imagine certain things. I feel like this is one area of physics which needs extensive...
  6. Ennio

    I Exploring Proper Time in FLRW Metric: Meaning and Visualization

    The FLRW metric has been introduced to characterize the homogeneity and isotropy of the Universe and accordingly to obtain "easy" manageable solutions in Friedmann equations. The FLWR metric is where the LHS can be written as where is the proper time (despite we know that time is...
  7. DaveC426913

    Tornado path visualization - what is this data?

    Does anyone have a clue what the gold points and associated lines represent? I notice that all the gold lines form closed loops (so they're not travel paths) and they cross themselves (so they're not contours). I can't think of any type of data that would result in this. I've tried to follow...
  8. frost_zero

    B Accurate Visualization of GR - Science Clic

    If I had a nickel every time someone depicted curvature of space-time as a marble on rubber membrane I would have a lot of nickels however that description is not accurate; A channel called science clic has the most accurate visualization of bend of space-time I have ever seen however if anyone...
  9. D.S.Beyer

    I Discussing Interior Schwarzschild Proper Lengths & Gaussian Curvature

    I'd love have a little discussion about the Interior Schwarzschild Solution. Here's a diagram I slapped together to illustrate the key points. (I assume everyone reading this familiar with embedding diagrams, and using an axis to 'project' a value, in this case the spatial z-axis is replaced by...
  10. Martian2020

    B Visualize 2D Intrinsic Curvature of Spacetime (1s+1t) in 3D

    Via web search found https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/what-dimension-does-space-time-curve-in.852103/ Read it and watched two videos mentioned: I understand we cannot perceive 5D ;-), so extrinsic visualization of maximum of 2D intrinsic curvature is possible. So time+1d space is all we...
  11. T

    I Another spacetime visualization

    Ispired by PeterDonis remark about "river model" in some thread a time ago I made next visualization picture. The graph desctibes, how the flat Minkowski spacetime is changed in presence of mass (black hole). It do not need much explanation, almost everything is described at the picture. To me...
  12. person123

    Widgets for Visualizing Engineering

    Hi! First off, I'm just an upcoming junior in Civil Engineering, and I have little teaching experience. I have done well in engineering classes so far though, and I've thought about ways to improve how classes are taught. While there are some widgets for engineering, like those in MATHTAB and...
  13. Avatrin

    Visualization of vector fields

    Summary:: Seeding and visualization techniques Hi I am looking for resources where I can learn the following: Seeding strategies and algorithms for vector fields (texture-based, geometry, topological) Different techniques for visualizing vector fields (streamlines, glyph-based, LIC etc)
  14. W

    I How to visualize the maths behind a formula?

    I just finished my freshman year in computer engineering at my college, and after some physics and materials science classes I noticed a pattern. Everybody—at least in my class, I don't about the rest of the world—is just memorizing formulas, myself included. I'm really trying to not just...
  15. Amartansh

    I Visualization of fields in waveguides

    Can someone provide me intuitive visualization of how E or H field can be longitudinal in a waveguide (TM/TE)? TEM is easy to visualize, but how EM wave can behave like sound in a waveguide (constant phase and amplitude plane in the same direction)? [Moderator: large bold font removed. In the...
  16. D

    I Favorite Visualization of General Relativity?

    I am collecting ways to visualize the curvature of spacetime -- and movement of objects affected by gravity -- as per Einstein's GR. Alternatives to the bowling ball / trampoline image so often used in the popular press. Images that show the similarities / differences between Newton & Einstein...
  17. ParticleMan

    I Open Source Quantum Mechanics Visualization Software

    Are there any folks here who use open source alternatives to Matlab and Mathmatica for visualization of quantum mechanics? Also, are you aware of any introductory quantum material for that tool? If not, do you think such a thing would be worthwhile for visual leaners? Why or why not? I have...
  18. W

    I Anyone know about BIRT Visualization Software?

    Hi All, I would like to learn Tableau , but AFAIK, it is not available for free beyond a trial basis. I have heard of BIRT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIRT_Project as a freeware substitute. Has anyone tried it or heard something from people who have used it? Thanks.
  19. Spinnor

    NASA’s new visualization of the 2017 hurricane season

    "How do you observe the invisible currents of the atmosphere? By studying the swirling, billowing loads of sand, sea salt and smoke that winds carry. A new simulation created by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., reveals just how far around the globe such aerosol...
  20. L

    MHB Visualization of Integration by Parts

    Hello all, I am trying to understand the rational behind the visualization of integration by parts, however I struggle with it a wee bit. I was trying to read about it in Wiki, this is what I found...
  21. J

    Geometry Differential Geometry book that emphasizes on visualization

    Hello! I would like to know if anybody here knows if there's any good book on academic-level dfferential geometry(of curves and surfaces preferably) that emphasizes on geometrical intuition(visualization)? For example, it would be great to have a technical textbook that explains the geometrical...
  22. A

    I Exploring Quantum Mechanics: A Visual Journey

    This is an interesting QM video. It would be interesting to get opinions about it from the QM students and experts alike.
  23. LLT71

    I Instant distance visualization

    how can one visualize an idea of "instant distance". seems a bit abstract that at some time "t" we can evaluate "instant distance" by *speed(t)*dt". imagine a speed versus time graph. now, there are two scenarios paradoxing in my head: if I assume that "dt" is a point on a time axis it seems...
  24. J

    Velocity Estimate from Schlieren Flow Visualization

    Hi, I recently came across a blog on schlieren visualization (http://ottobelden.blogspot.in/2010/07/homemade-schlieren-photography-setup.html). I replicated it with the following: Convex lens (130 mm dia and 350 mm focal length), LED light source (5 mm white LED) and smartphone camera (Moto G4...
  25. GhostLoveScore

    Visualization of electric field around dipole antenna

    I came across these videos that show how electric field looks around the dipole antenna at three different distances Far field Near field Something between far and near field That got me thinking - there is a point when the field is reversing and the electric field closes into a loop and...
  26. V

    I 3D space curvature visualization

    I want to program space curvature vizualizaion. I want to have an observer as a player that moves in 3d curved space and surrounding objects that will show curvature by distortion when player passes near them. I am concerned about some points: 1. What curvature to choose in order to experience...
  27. N

    Best visualization of joint/marginal distributions?

    I'm trying to get a better visualization of joint/marginal distributions. It's my weakest conceptual area as I pursue the actuary exams, and I want to fully understand this on a more statistical level. I've taken linear/diff-eq/multivariate, so I'm completely comfortable with the integration...
  28. P

    Visualization of Fiber orientation in simple shear flow

    I need help on where i can find the numerical study and a MATLAB code on how to visualize the distribution function and orientation tensor of fibers in simple shear flow for different closures as it is shown in Fig.1 and Fig.2 of the following paper...
  29. jerromyjon

    Explore Quantum Visualization and Single Particle Interference Simulation

    I wonder if anyone knows of a slow motion simulation of single particle double slit interference? I can easily visualize this in my mind but I lack the tools to construct it myself. I picture an electron as a small blue circle being emitted at a random deviate angle from perpendicular to the...
  30. S

    Zero Electric Potential Concept and Visualization

    Homework Statement Hi, I've been having problems visualizing and interpreting a situation where there is zero potential in a point, equidistant, between two opposite charges. What is the significance of this? Here's a sample problem:Consider two point charges. One has a charge of +1 μC and the...
  31. M

    How can I improve my ability to visualize mathematics?

    Hello everyone! I am having difficulties interpreting mathematical phenomenons visually speaking. I am trying to create an image in my head to explain how the mathematics works, for example, I have tried explaining the term brightness with close results but still flaws. So how do you become...
  32. S

    Visualization package for percolation paths

    Hello! Could you give me an example of visualization package or smth like that where i can get this kind of figure percolation paths ? Thanks!
  33. R

    SVD, PCA, multi dimensional visualization

    I just did some quick searches for open source multi dimensional data visualization, but can't find what I'm looking for. Before I spend time coding it up, I want to see if some one's done it already. The data will be points with multi (n>20) dimensional coordinates 1) I want to be...
  34. Mordred

    Thermo/hydro visualization of the Cosmos

    Anyone that has paid attention to my numerous posts, know that I am a self taught, wannabe cosmologist. I've studied numerous cosmology related articles including, high energy particle physics, perfect fluid and quantum metrics related to Cosmology in the form of the FLRW metrics. As a self...
  35. H

    (Free) data visualization software

    Greetings, I have never worked with any good data visualization tools, but it is a skill I would very much like to learn. Does anyone know of some good free data visualization software? If so, could you please describe it a little bit as well? Eg., is it code-based or drag-and-drop...
  36. K

    A positively curved visualization of gravity?

    Huffingtonpost ran a story heaping praise on a guy for demonstrating GR with the old "rubber sheet" analogy. This demo bothers me for several reasons, not least of which is that the surface is negatively curved, on which parallel geodesics diverge -- the exact opposite of what is supposedly...
  37. K

    MHB Visualization of rotation

    I am trying to visualize the following rotation of $\mathbb R^3$, but it is very difficult. I want to get the answer by intuition, and not by using the Rodrigues rotation formula or conjugation of matrices, etc. Help please. **Problem statement:** Determine the matrix that represents the...
  38. kira506

    What is the 4th dimension n terms of visualization ?

    I want sthg I can visualize in order to understand , I keep asking and am always told time , so how is time a 4th dimension ? I try my best but my mind is too weak to visualize things more complex than disney (so please , I want sthg in that standard ,consider me a curious 6 year old child)
  39. B

    Visualization of detector data / other ideas for viz application

    Greetings friendly physics folks, I could use some advice and/or general suggestions regarding a data visualization project I'm looking to get started on. If this looks like too much reading, please skip to the TL;DR below. The basic project components are: (1) A GUI of some kind...
  40. T

    Internal visualization (mind's eye), theoretical systems, and belief

    So I have a question or two that I've wondered about for a while and am hoping that this is the right forum to (maybe) get some answers. The thing I've been wondering about is how important the visualization process is in dealing with more abstract, theoretical problems, especially as it...
  41. A

    Low Reynolds Number Flow Visualization Techniques

    Just as the thread says, I am looking for some good flow visualization techniques at low Reynolds numbers. I am working on the design of a small recirculating water tunnel that I think can be built for ~$100. I cannot get a specific RE at the moment as I am still doing a preliminary feasibility...
  42. dlgoff

    What is The Grid - Visualization Maps

    What is "The Grid" -- Visualization Maps As PF grows, so does the number of questions about the "grid". While I was searching the internet for an image of a sagging transmission line to use in another thread, I found this cool interactive map by NPR. I thought I'd post it for those curious...
  43. E

    Visualization of metric tensor

    Barbour writes: the metric tensor g. Being symmetric (g_uv = g_vu) it has ten independent components, corresponding to the four values the indices u and v can each take: 0 (for the time direction) and 1; 2; 3 for the three spatial directions. Of the ten components, four merely...
  44. C

    Understanding K-Convexity: Visualization and Intuitive Explanation

    Hey! Can anyone help me with visualizing this concept or explaining it in more intuitive terms? : thanks!
  45. K

    Nested rotations in a fluid: Implications and Visualization

    A fluid visibly spinning clockwise doesn't necessarily have a net angular momentum. I figured that this might be the case by considering that the fluid rotations within might be counter-cyclical. It would appear that you could apply this relationship many-fold times, where a fluid consists of...
  46. M

    Visualization of uncertainty principle [graphs]

    Homework Statement I'm looking for graphs or other sources of uncertainty principle visualization (I'm suppose to use a Fourier transform to solve it and present visualization in MS Excel... but one thing at a time). Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution Digged google in 3 languages. I...
  47. D

    Visualization of space time contraction and gravity

    I am glad for a place like this where I can come to discuss what is on my mind with those interested. My delema is expanding my conceptual understanding of relativity and how it realates to space time and gravity. To begin I will go over how I have come to understand space time...
  48. fluidistic

    3D Visualization of Temperature Distribution Function

    I just downloaded scilab because Wolfram Alpha wouldn't want to plot the function I'd like. In a physics problem I've found the temperature distribution of a 2 dimensional system. I'd like to visualize this function in 3d. The function I want to plot is u(x,y)=\frac{1}{\pi} \arctan \left (...
  49. L

    Is Mathematical Visualization a Discipline or Just a Tool?

    What fields / disciplines of that field does mathematical visualization fall under. I know numerical computational geometry is one , where you wright algorithms to develop programs to visualize mathematics.
  50. F

    3D Visualization of Electromagnetism

    I would like some help in visualizing electromagnetism in three dimensions. I have researched extensively and have come up with nothing but sine waves and pond ripples. But just like sine waves representing sound, which are three dimensional compression waves, do not represent how sound...