More User Conveniences for the FLOW-3D GUI
Our Development Note this issue highlights many new user conveniences in the graphical user interface (GUI) that will be introduced with the release of FLOW-3D Version 9.2.
Many users have asked for the ability to change the mouse mode, for moving, rotating and magnifying objects in both the Model Setup and the Display tabs. With Version 9.2, this request is being satisfied. The left mouse button will rotate objects and meshes in the workspace or display area. The middle (or scroll) button will be used for magnifying objects. The right button will be used for moving objects. The icons for Rotate, Zoom and Move have been removed from the Toolbar.
Another frequent user request is the ability to undo actions. Ten levels of un-do and re-do the viewpoint have been added. The two new buttons for these actions are now in the Toolbar.
At this time, the only undo-redo capability provided is to eye-point changes made in either the workspace in the Meshing & Geometry tab or in the viewing space in Display. Changes to the mesh, to models initiated, to parameters entered for fluids, solids, etc., cannot be undone.
Another area of improvement sought by users—especially those who make extensive use of FLOW-3D's multi-block meshing—is a summary of the total number of cells among all blocks in a multi-block problem. Right-click on Mesh in the Tree Structure in the Meshing & Geometry tab and select Mesh Block(s) Info to bring up an informational box (shown below) that lists the total number of computational cells and provides information about the number of cells in each mesh block.
Initial Fluid Region
Many users have found the FAVORize button in the Meshing & Geometry tab to be very useful for obtaining a quick view of how, using FLOW-3D's FAVOR™ method, the mesh will resolve the geometry of a problem. Now, with Version 9.2, initial fluid regions can also be displayed. In the FAVOR dialog (shown at left), select View fluid. The complement of fluid region can also be displayed.
Other new and useful additions to the GUI for setting up problems include:
- The "snap-to-geometry" function for creating meshes now works with cylindrical coordinates as well as Cartesian coordinates.
- Material names (fluid and solid) are now written into the prepin file, for reference purposes.
- Users can set simulation units from the main menu which are written to the project and results files.
A new Pause button is located in the Simulate tab. This allows the solver to be paused to release the solver license token, release the CPU and swap the executable out of memory (may be machine-dependent).
When users talk to us about changes to the GUI, visualization tools are almost always the most important. One change that is not visible, but one that will be noticed is that we have improved post-processing speed by 20-30%. In addition, memory and CPU requirements have been reduced by as much as 50% for creating and loading 3D images.
One of the most important changes to post-processing is the ability to save and retrieve plotting settings in both Analyze and Display. A Save Settings button in the Analyze tab saves all settings the user has selected in a preferences file (*.pref), which will determine the settings for both Analyze and Display. This preferences file can be retrieved between FLOW-3D sessions by clicking on a new Load Settings button, also in the Analyze tab. A third new button—Reset Settings—will discard the preferences and return the GUI to its default settings.
In addition, settings made by the user in the Display tab are retained between renders.
Interactive slicing of 3D images through the planes of the mesh has been enhanced so that users can view and probe iso-surfaces inside the displayed fluid. To activate, select Slice from the Mesh menu in the Display tab. Slider bars are given to move the mesh in all six coordinate directions. Show below on the left: Mesh pushed through the domain. On the right: View of results after mesh hidden.
Using STL Files
Users who import STL files into 3D Display can now manipulate these images to change colors, apply transparency and transform (move, rotate, scale). This will allow users to display sharper images of geometry in their FLOW-3D results. Imported STL files appear in the Object List in the lower left corner of the Display tab, and operations to change the display of the image can be accessed from there.
New and useful additions to the GUI for viewing the simulation results include:
- Users will be able to plot displacement vectors for the elastic stress model in 2D and 3D Display.
- Animation capture of 3D results using the rubber-band feature has been enhanced by enabling the user to specify coordinates and the height and width of the captured animation. In this way, the user can ensure uniformity of the size of multiple animations.
- Users can change the colors of different components, as well as apply transparency to or hide individual components in Display.