Version controlled source code available via svn

We have set up a subversion repository for the demo source code. It now works cross-platform (MacOSX, Linux, Windows) and we have added a few command line options as well as SpaceBall and Joystick support. The Tutorial subpage explains in detail how to install this code using CMake. Current version is v0.2, and we are still in the process of refining and cleaning up the code.

GLSL version available

A GLSL version of the simple HyperBalls demo can now be downloaded from the Sourceforge website ( The GLSL version is compatible with a wide variety of graphics cards. Still, the graphics card must support at least Shader Model 3.0.

Journal of Computational Chemistry: GPU-accelerated atom and dynamic bond visualization using hyperballs: A unified algorithm for balls, sticks, and hyperboloids

Pasted GraphicThe main HyperBalls article is now available at the Journal of Computational Chemistry. The title is "GPU-accelerated atom and dynamic bond visualization using hyperballs: A unified algorithm for balls, sticks, and hyperboloids".
Keywords: GPU computing;ray-casting;improved ball-and-stick and licorice representations;HyperBalls;pixel accurate representation
Abstract: Ray casting on graphics processing units (GPUs) opens new possibilities for molecular visualization. We describe the implementation and calculation of diverse molecular representations such as licorice, ball-and-stick, space-filling van der Waals spheres, and approximated solvent-accessible surfaces using GPUs. We introduce HyperBalls, an improved ball-and-stick representation replacing tubes, linking the atom spheres by hyperboloids that can smoothly connect them. This type of depiction is particularly useful to represent dynamic phenomena, such as the evolution of noncovalent bonds. It is furthermore well suited to represent coarse-grained models and spring networks. All these representations can be defined by a single general algebraic equation that is adapted for the ray-casting technique and is well suited for execution on the GPU. Using GPU capabilities, this implementation can routinely, accurately, and interactively render molecules ranging from a few atoms up to huge macromolecular assemblies with more than 500,000 particles. In simple cases, based only on spheres, we have been able to display up to two million atoms smoothly.
By: Matthieu Chavent, Antoine Vanel, Alex Tek, Bruno Levy, Sophie Robert, Bruno Raffin, Marc Baaden
Journal of Computational Chemistry, Volume 32, Issue 13, pages 2924–2935, October 2011

HyperBalls demo source code now online !

It now is possible to download the code of a simple HyperBalls demo and compile it (
There are still a few constraints, first related to availability. For the moment, the code works quite well on a Linux machine, but not on MacOs X. This is due to a limitation of the current OSX OpenGL implementation and we are working on alternatives. We will soon try to test the demo on a Windows machine.
Second, the hardware requirements: The current version of the program only works on Nvidia cards (Cg shaders). We will very soon provide a GLSL version, compatible with a wide variety of graphics cards. The graphics card must support at least Shader Model 3.0.

We hope to provide more demos and code soon, so stay tuned and send us your feedback!

HyperBalls website site now launched !

We are very excited to launch this website dedicated to the HyperBalls representation. This site will be regularly updated to add new content, demos, tutorials, videos and so on ...

We are currently working on a minimal source code that will be released very soon. This source code will allow a user to load a pdb file, rotate the camera and zoom in or out. It will be possible to interactively change parameters to depict either
Ball and stick, licorice or HyperBalls representations.

Our next goal is to discuss the possible implementation of HyperBalls within largely used software with the developers of common molecular viewers such as VMD, Yasara, Pymol... If you are interested, please contact us! If you think that the HyperBalls representation can be useful for your own scientific field (not necessarily just molecular visualization) please contact us too !