The Visualization ToolKit (VTK) is an open-source, freely available software package for image processing and visualization that can be used in medical imaging applications. VTK allows applications to be written directly in C + +, Tcl, Java, or Python. It supports the surface rendering libraries of OpenGL, Silicon Graphics GL, Hewlett-Packard Starbase, and Sun Microsystems XGL. It also supports VolumePRO volume rendering hardware and allows mixing opaque surface geometry and volume rendering. Rendering properties include ambient, diffuse, and specular lighting and color, as well as transparency, texture mapping, shading (flat/Gouraud), and backlighting. The C ++ code and/or Tcl, Java, Python scripts are independent of renderer type since it is set at run time with environment variable. VTK supports many file formats including TIFF, BMP, SLC, PLOT3D, and VRML.

Data types include polygonal data ( points, lines, polygons, triangle strips), images and volumes (i.e., structured point datasets), structured grids (e.g., finite difference grids), unstructured grids (e.g, finite element meshes), unstructured points, and rectilinear grids. Visualization functions include color mapping, marching cubes, dividing cubes, thresholding, cutting, clipping (2D and 3D), connectivity, multivariate visualization, 2D and 3D Delaunay triangulation, and surface reconstruction. Image processing functions include Butterworth filters, diffusion filters, convolution, FFT, mor phological filters, thinning, arithmetic operations, gradient estimators, histograms, and thresholding.

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