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Blue Waters Webinars

3D Scientific Visualization with Blender

Photograph of Brian Kent


Brian R. Kent

National Radio Astronomy Observatory


Dr. Brian R. Kent is a scientist with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia. His publications and studies in astrophysics and computing include scientific visualizations of a variety of theoretical and observational phenomena. He is interested in visualizing data for scientific analysis as well as reaching a broad audience with the stunning visuals that modern 3D graphics can provide. Dr. Kent received his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University. You can see his animations and visualizations on YouTube at: The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.


Scientific data can take on many forms - catalogs, data cubes, images, and simulations. The software program Blender gives scientists a useful tool for displaying data in a manner used by three-dimensional (3D) graphics specialists and animators. The interface to this popular software package is introduced with attention to features of interest in a researcher's data.
I will give an overview of rendering 3D data with Blender, including generating models, applying textures, creating animations, and controlling cameras. Users will be able to take this overview and create renderings of their own data.

Session details

When: 10:00 CST, February 13, 2019
Length of session: 75 – 90 minutes
Target audience: Anyone interested in rendering 3D graphics - catalog, data cubes, and maps. Examples will be based on astronomy data, but can be adapted for use in a wide range of scientific fields.
Prerequisites: None.
Reference materials
Slides: PDF

Webinar video

Slides: PDF (5 MB)
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