Joe Galliera

Tips to make Flow Simulation result graphics look better

Blog Post created by Joe Galliera Employee on Dec 8, 2009

To spruce up the trajectory animations in Flow Simulation, here are a few things that you can do:

1) Turn on the Lighting effects (see below pics).  On the left, without lighting; on the right, with lighting on.  Locate the Apply Lighting button on the far right of the toolbar on the FloWorks tab.  (Bonus tip: To turn Lighting on by default, on the SolidWorks drop-down menu click Tools > Options, then click the Third-Party button at the bottom and in the dialog that opens scroll down to View Options and the fourth one from the bottom of this section is Apply Lighting (default).)



2) Impulse the trajectories.  After you create the animation, click on the More button on the animation toolbar, right-click on the flow trajectory timeline (colored purple to mean that it will launch), change the Restart time to a non-zero value by clicking the up button once.  When it plays it will impulse the flow from the inlet, which makes for a more dramatic animation.
Note: To play the animated GIF below, click on the picture.


3) Change the View orientation.  Just like you do with SW animator, change the view orientation by a right-click on the assembly (or part) name to turn off the lock orientation.  Create a control point at the beginning of the timeline, move the vertical time bar to a new time and then simply move and rotate the model, a new control point will automatically be created.  Now when you play, the model will gradually change its orientation from one control point to the next.

Here's a tweak for Flow Simulation to use when you want to create nice flow trajectory images for reports, publishing, or marketing, especially for close ups.

You can adjust the image quality of the flow trajectories by the following procedure:

In SolidWorks (with Flow Simulation add-in active), go to Tools > Options > click on the Third Party button at the bottom.  Scroll down to the section called "View Options" and locate the field for "Trajectory image quality."

Trajectory image quality allows you to adjust the quality of rendering of 3D pipes, arrows or spheres that are used to visualize flow and particle trajectories. You can change the value of Trajectory image quality in the range from 1 to 100, the bigger the value, the higher the quality of the 3D trajectories visualization. The default value is 10. Please note that high values can result in a significant increase in CPU time required to build the trajectories, especially in the case when the number of trajectories is also high.

Here is a chart to see exactly what changes the image quality value has on the rendering.

A quality of 1 makes a obviously faceted rendering, 10 is a little better and 100 is very smooth.  Not shown on the chart, I did not see much difference between the image quality for 50 and 100 except with the reflection of light.  Pipes show the least effect of image quality except for shininess and appearing slightly larger.


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