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The VolViewer main application window.

VolViewer is an open source application for the interactive visualisation and quantification of biological data. The application is written in C++ using OpenGL and Qt.


  • Real-time volume rendering using an optimized 3D texture slicing algorithm.
  • Interactive transfer functions to independently adjust opacity and luminance for up to three data channels.
  • Real-time per channel thresholding, brightness and contrast operators.
  • On-the-fly gradient computation for local illumination.
  • Iso-surface computation with surface smoothing.
  • Section viewing in any orientation / position.
  • Real-time volume clipping.
  • 3D measurements, filters & segmentation.
  • Key frame interpolation for easy movie creation/export by interpolating transformations, clipping and transfer function states.

Requirements: An OpenGL 2.1 / GLSL 1.20 compatible GPU with a recomended 512MB of memory.

Image Gallery / Sample Data *

VolViewer Figure2.gif VolViewer Figure3.gif VolViewer Figure5.gif VolViewer Figure7.gif
Antirinhium Meristem Antirinhium Seedling Arabidopsis Leaf (GL2:GUS expression in red) Arabidopsis Meristem (Ath8:::GUS expression in red)
Download Download Download Download

* all data courtesy of Karen Lee [1]


Although we try to keep up to date builds for Linux and MacOSX these sometimes lag behind the windows builds. So if you want the latest version / features, it is best to build the application from the trunk of the SVN. The build system is based on qmake for easy cross platform compilation.

Windows (32bit) Windows (64bit) Linux (64bit) MacOS X (i386/x86_64/10.5+)

Source Code

Public SVN: https://cmpdartsvr1.cmp.uea.ac.uk/banghamlabSVN/VolViewer/

Video Demos

This video shows the interactive visualisation capabilities of VolViewer.
This video illustrates how to capture the shape of cell outlines using the measurement tool.
This video shows the measurement and clipping capabilities of VolViewer to capture a 3D cell.


VolViewer has appeared in the following:

  • Bundled with the commercial Optical Projection Tomography Bioptonic 3001 scanner: Bioptonics Viewer
  • Showcased in the Qt Ambassador program: [url]