The visualization of brain vessels on the cortex helps the neurosurgeon in two ways: To avoid blood vessels when specifying the trepanation entry, and to overcome errors in the surgical navigation system due to brain shift. We compared 3D T1 MR, 3D T1 MR with gadolinium contrast, MR venography and MR phase contrast angiography as scanning techniques, mutual information as registration technique, and thresholding and multi-vessel enhancement as image processing techniques. We evaluated the volume rendered results based on their quality and correspondence with photos took during surgery. It appears that with 3D T1 MR scans, gadolinium is required to show cortical veins. The visibility of small cortical veins is strongly enhanced by subtracting a 3D T1 MR baseline scan, which should be registered to the scan with gadolinium contrast, even when the scans are made during the same session. Multi-vessel enhancement helps to clarify the view on small vessels by reducing the noise level, but strikingly does not reveal more. MR venography does show intracerebral veins with high detail, but is, as is, unsuited to show cortical veins due to the low contrast with CSF. MR phase contrast angiography can perform equally well as the subtraction technique, but its quality seems to show more inter-patient variability.