This section describes buttons located in the toolbar on the right hand side of the graphic work space.
This toolbar contains buttons allowing users to control workspace elements and interact with them to obtain necessary information. Within this button set you can find geometry access button to select or change 3D object visibility. You can adjust view range or camera orientation. Apart from this functionality you can find tools to measure distance or get point coordinates.In the bottom right corner there is a button that opens and closes the terminal.On the bottom there is a context toolbar that displays options depending on the current selection in the graphic workspace. When simulation is running additional panels for plotting graphs will appear. These panels will have similar toolbars with utilities to adjust axes ranges, change visual plot properties or obtain data by selecting location on the chart.
Some buttons have associated panels that appear next to the toolbar. To close those panels you need to click once again on appropriate button or just press the ESC key.
3D graphic context
After clicking button you should see a panel opened next to the toolbar. This panel contains a list of all accessible objects in the graphics workspace. This list may contain not only single objects but also object groups. All objects/groups have also available a button. This button allows to change the visibility of an object. When this button is assigned to a group then the visibility of all elements in this group changes.
Some objects might have additional buttons on the right side. For example the
Mesh group has 2 additional buttons. The first one controls the visibility of mesh edges and the second one changes the visibility of boundary faces. Last thing to describe here is the search field at the top of this panel. Using this tool you can filter the object list by names or types. For example if you type
box then you will see only those objects that names start with the word
box or are primitive boxes. Filtered objects will be searched among root list and all object groups.
In the following section we will cover the topic of controlling camera location, orientation and zoom. First set of buttons are action buttons, which means that there is no panel associated with the button. Action is performed right after the button is clicked. These buttons allows you to:
- – fit all visible objects in the 3D workspace view.
- – align camera screen with XY plane and fit objects in workspace.
- – align camera screen with XZ plane and fit objects in workspace.
- – align camera screen with YZ plane and fit objects in workspace.
Next button opens panel for custom views. After clicking on the icon you should see a panel containing numbers from 1 to 9. Each number is an access button for a saved view. By default all buttons are disabled, because there is no view assigned to it. To designate a view to a specified button you should adjust camera to view your model in a desired way. Then you open panel and click on the Set button under the number icon. The Set button will appear when you hover over desired number button. Since this moment number button will be active. Now you will be able to restore saved view any time you want just by clicking on number button.
Another utility to control view allows you to align camera with normal to a selected surface. To do this first click on the button. This will open a panel which will indicate that program is waiting surface selection(see figure beside). To align view you have to press CTRL and then click on some surface with the left mouse button. Every time you click on a surface, while indication panel is opened, the view will be adjusted to the newly referenced surface. If you want to finish the view selection just press ESC key or once again click on the button.
The last thing which we have to mention here is the View Projection adjustment. This is a property that defines how your workspace shall be rendered, either using
Parallel projection renders each point of 3D objects by projecting it using rays that are parallel to camera screen normal vector. This kind of projection is similar to projection used in case of 2D documentation drawings. What is important here is that this projection doesn’t distinguish objects in reference of their distance from the camera.
Perspective projection is more natural because people perceive in the same manner.
Default value for the projection property is set to Perspective. But in some cases it is very convenient to change this rendering behavior. If you want to change this property just:
- Open View Projection panel by clicking on button.
- Select desired projection type by pressing appropriate icon in the panel.
- Close panel using ESC key or by once again clicking on the button in the toolbar.
In every CFD simulation mesh quality is one of the most important factors. One way to examine mesh quality is to use the CheckMesh utility under MeshTools in the context panel. This utility prints quality factors but does not provide all the necessary information, such as how boundary layer was created on specific walls. The only way to examine boundary layer is to visually check volumes near a boundary. Following utility aims to show finite volumes inside domain. You can do this by creating domain section.
To create section first click on button. This will open a panel containing properties of your section plane. Together with the panel you should see a blue plane in the graphics workspace which is a graphical representation of your cutting plane. Section is defined by 3 parameters:
- Normal vector – it’s a normal vector of the section plane. To set this parameter you should provide 3 coordinates or use buttons below input fields that will automatically set plane to be aligned with XY, XZ or ZY plane.
- Location – defines a point which must lie on the plane. You can set this point to be the center of your mesh domain by clicking on the Mesh Center button.
- Representation – choose one of 2 possible section representations. If you select the button then mesh section will be displayed as cells cuts. In the case of mode your section will be displayed as a set of cells. Each finite volume that intersects the defined plane will not be cut by it, but will be displayed as a whole cell.
By default Section View is disabled, and specifying plane isn’t enough to show section. To enable section with current plane properties you should click on check-box in the panel title. If instead you want to disable the Section View you should once again click on the check-box and whole mesh will be shown again.
The section plane graphic representation is equipped with handles. Each handle allows you to manipulate plane properties just by dragging the component of an appropriate handle . For example if you want to move your plane in its normal direction you should press the CTRL key and drag green arrow while holding left mouse button. Similarly you can adjust plane normal vector by dragging yellow arcs near the arrows. This will rotate plane along selected arc.
simFlow lets you easily access some geometric information about your 3D model. First utility allows you to obtain coordinates of selected points. Second allows you to measure distance between two selected objects.
To find coordinates of a specific point on your geometry or mesh you have to:
- Click on button to open the Pick point panel.
- Press CTRL key and left click on the desired location in the 3D space. After the selection you should see a black ball with cross indicator in the target place.
- When the point hit is registered program will display coordinates of this location.
If you want to mesure distance, then:
- Click to open the Measure panel.
- Press CTRL key and left click on the desired location in the 3D space. Note that after the selection is registered you should see ruler indicator being attached to the selected point. Also you should see that icon moved to second button in the panel.
- Now do the point pick again to get coordinates of the second point. After the selection you should see resulting distance between two chosen points in the panel Distance field.
Center of rotation
By default the center of camera rotation is located in the center of all currently visible graphic objects. When you zoom in to see some geometry details, it might happen that the rotation around the center of all geometries is not convenient. For this kind of situation simFlow allows you to change the center of rotation. This operation can be performed in configuration panel by clicking on button. When panel is opened you can select one of the following options:
- Automatic – center of all visible geometries.
- Geometry Center – when you select this option program will wait until you select one of the objects in the 3D workspace. When selection is done then the new center is set. Each next selection will update the rotation point.
- Picked point – after choosing this option you will have to pick some location in 3D workspace to obtain rotation point coordinates.
- Specific point coordinates – you need to type explicitly coordinates of the new rotation point.
If you are fine with the new point you can close the panel with ESC key.
Workspace image capturing
During project work it is required to share your work with other coworkers in a form of a report or help requests. This task usually requires creating screenshot of your geometric model, mesh or chart. simFlow responds to this need and allows users to take a picture of the current 3D workspace or chart plot. To capture a picture you have to just left click on button. After that new window will appear. There you will have to select destination directory and choose file name and the image format. As you can see creating picture capture of current workspace is extremely easy and straightforward. In regular situation you have to type the name of the file each time you want to create a picture. But to enhance your productivity simFlow introduced automatic file naming utility. While using it you will not have to type the name every time, but you will only define prefix for your file names. Each click on button will take a screenshot of your workspace and write down file with the name <prefix>_<number>. To enable this utility you have to:
- Right click on the button. Panel near the button will appear.
- Click on Auto file naming check-box to enable this utility.
- Select “drop folder” for your pictures. This will be the location where all new files will be stored.
- Type file name prefix. This prefix will be used to create new file name in the following way:
- Select extension for your file (
- Close the panel with ESC key or again right click on the photo icon.
- Take a picture of the current workspace by left clicking on button.
If auto file naming utility is enabled, dialog window for saving files will not be displayed. Program will take a screenshot in a background process and you will not be disturbed with any notifications.
Console is a place where the output from applications executed by simFlow is printed. Initially console is closed and it opens whenever an application generates output. When the process is finished then console will remain opened. Because console takes some area in the application workspace it might be convenient to close it while interacting with the 3D graphics objects. You can close/open console by clicking on the button at the bottom of the toolbar.
As we have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the toolbar will change according to the current context. When workspace changes from 3D graphics to chart type, then the content of toolbar changes as well. Following sections will describe other utilities relevant to working with the chart workspace.
Many times when you work with charts, you need to zoom in to a part of a graph to see some smaller details. Usually, after this operation you want to come back to the previous chart view to be able to see the whole plot. simFlow enables you to do this in 3 ways by clicking the following buttons:
- Adjust both axes range to fit the whole plot in the view.
- Adjust only X axis range.
- Adjust only Y axis range.
Obtaining data from selection
This utility allows you to read accurately values from your plots. To use this tool, as usually, click on the appropriate button: . When the panel is opened, the program waits for your input. You have to select a point on a curve in the plot. Then, the program will find closest point to the picked one. Results will be displayed below the graph with X,Y values and curve name.
To change display properties of a dataset graph, click on the button. This will display a panel with a few input fields and a list of curves. Using this panel you will be able to change basic properties of the plot, like:
- Change the chart title
- Change X and Y axis label
- Toggle X/Y grid visibility
If you want to change the background color, then click on button. Then, using the color handle, adjust appropriate colors of plot or chart background depending on the button selection at the top of this panel.
Loading data from file
Last tool concerning charts allows you to load external date into current chart. To import data, first click on the button. Then you will see a dialog allowing you to select a file from your computer. The data should be loaded and displayed on your chart immediately after the selection. The data in the file should be in two columns separated by one or more spaces or tabs. The two columns will be interpreted as X and Y data respectively.