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How is EnSight Uniquely Suited to Visualize FLOW-3D Data?

This article was contributed by Darin McKinnis of CEI, maker of Ensight visualization software.

FLOW-3D model of dam visualized with EnSight.
FLOW-3D model of dam visualized with EnSight.

Direct FLOW-3D Data Reader

EnSight directly reads FLOW-3D's “flsgrf” results files, and compressed “.flz” files. Other options include particle tracks, ghost element handling, time control and reading STL geometry.

FLOW-3D data reader dialog from EnsightFLOW-3D data reader format options tab in Ensight.
Left: FLOW-3D data reader dialog. Right: FLOW-3D data reader format options tab.

FLOW-3D Data Reading Wizard

The FLOW-3D reader wizard is an excellent way for FLOW-3D users to access EnSight.The wizard performs several operations automatically according to the user preferences so that the first few normal steps in looking at your data are done automatically for you. The wizard can be expanded to include more capabilities.

Volume Rendering

Volume rendering of a FLOW-3D model for casting process simulation.
Volume Rendering of a FLOW-3D model of a casting process.

Volume Rendering is useful for peering inside the 3D domain and is particularly useful for looking at complex 3D distributions like temperature, density, velocity, and pressure. Volume Rendering is standard technology used in medical imaging like MRIs, seismic data processing in oil & gas exploration, and 3D weather and climate research. EnSight is unique in bringing this visualization technology to general CFD and making it available to structured (IJK indexed) or unstructured CFD data.

STL Geometry Loading

Ship geometry in a FLOW-3D model with the ship overturning.
Ship geometry in a FLOW-3D model with the ship overturning.

EnSight's FLOW-3D reader looks in the dataset for additional model geometry stored in the STL format. Examples include the ship in the swamping simulation shown on the left. In FLOW-3D, STLs are loaded simply by checking the 'STL' box. In EnSight, simply check the "read internal STL" checkbox to bring in the geometry stored in the FLOW-3D data. EnSight can also bring in external STL geometry or even CAD files from CATIA, SolidWorks, NX, and more through direct CAD readers.

Reading Data on Remote Servers

EnSight is quite well known for its ability to load data on remote servers. It does this in an intelligent and efficient way by providing a separate server application that can be run on your remote server where the CFD data is computed and you can connect to that from your local desktop where you run EnSight’s main or client application. This is easily done using terminal windows if you are used to such things. If you are more comfortable in a GUI dialog, use the “Remote Server” utility to make a connection from your desktop to a remote server. Any computer platform can connect to any other computer platform.

The Remote Server icon will bring up a dialog which remembers your previous settings and with your password makes a connection to the remote server. It is easy and convenient. You are now leveraging the large memory and power of the server and the interactivity and graphics of your local desktop. Only EnSight makes this so simple.

MP Parallel FLOW-3D/MP Data Reading

EnSight can now read the data from parallel runs of FLOW-3D/MP. Since EnSight has been reading large parallel CFD datasets for over 10 years, it has the capacity to read and efficiently handle these large datasets.

Case Comparisons

Comparing two different gating designs for a casting using Ensight's visualization software.
Comparing two different gating designs for a casting.

Have you ever wanted to read multiple FLOW-3D datasets and compare them? With EnSight you can load up to 16 datasets. You can copy variables from one dataset over to the other and perform calculations like differences, even if the meshes don’t match up in meshing studies. There is no extra cost to do this and you don’t have to buy another product or version, it is included in EnSight Standard.

Wide Variety of Free 3D Viewer Options

How can you share simulation results with colleagues, customers, and management? Images are one way and movies provide the transient dimension, but the ideal way is with a 3D viewer that also handles transient results. EnSight does not expect that everyone would like the same 3D viewer. EnSight provides this 3D model sharing capability in several different file formats compatible with several different 3D viewers.

EnLiten provides WYSIWYG 3D model sharing. For customers requiring international language support or custom features we have CEI’s Reveal 3D viewer. EnLiten and Reveal are available on Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms, so that everyone on the team can share results. And both are free. Both EnLiten and Reveal from CEI provide stereoscopic viewing using the new 3D goggles and screens from nVidia.


We’ve described above just some of the unique advantages of EnSight for your FLOW-3D data. We didn’t even mention the plotting, extensive variable calculator, and many other unique quantitative features. So, please stop by our table at the 2011 FLOW-3D World Users Conference and we can talk about your requirements and Ensight's visualization capabilities.

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