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A new method of optimal viewpoint selection for volume rendering based on shuffled frog leaping algorithm is presented. Utilizing the opacity, luminance and structure features of the projected views of three-dimensional volume datasets, a viewpoint evaluation function is constructed to identify the importance of voxels and the structural information within the volume data. Combined with this function, shuffled frog leaping algorithm is used to optimize the computation process, so as to acquire an optimal viewpoint or a series of optimizational viewpoints. The experimental results show this method can not only focus the important structure and the region of interest within the volume data more effectively, but also improve the convergence rate and accuracy, while having a standout performance to select a global optimal viewpoint, thus can be used to guide the direct volume rendering for large scale volume datasets.