Tips and Tricks

Array of Slices in MVS

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Array of Slices in MVS

In this episode of our Tips and Tricks, we’ve provided a video tutorial on how to create arrays of slices.  Instead of using multiple slice modules, each of which creates only a single slice, we’ll demonstrate a method to create any number of parallel slices perpendicular to the x and/or y axes. Instead of using multiple slice modules, each of which creates only a single slice, we’ll demonstrate a method to create any number of parallel slices perpendicular to the x and/or y axes. The files used by this video include: x-grid_objects.v y-grid_objects.v grid-slice.v...

read more

Isolines In Depth

Posted by on Dec 8, 2011 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Isolines In Depth

We get quite a few questions about isolines, usually about how to adjust properties.  In this post I want to cover some important features in isolines as well as how to get the most out of this important module. The isolines module in EVS-PRO and MVS is very sophisticated and has some features we haven’t seen in any other product.  A series of contours are generated for you between your data min and max.  For linear data (not log processed) that is normally “n” (# of Isolines) equally spaced contours between two bounds.  You can also override the bounds so that they are a subset of your actual min/max. Please note, it is not always possible to have a contour AT your data min or max.  Creating contours requires that you have some data both above and below the desired contour level.  One way to understand this is that your max value may occur at only a single point (node) in your grid.  A countour around (or at) it would have no area. If your data is log processed isolines does a more intelligent job of positioning the contours.  The “# of Isolines” slider (defaults to 3) sets the number of contours per DECADE.  That means that for the example below with a min of 0.001 (log = -3) and max of 80999.184 (log = 4.908), there will be nearly 8 decades of range to this data.  In other words, the data spans nearly 8 orders of magnitude (Max/Min ~ 100 million).  This means there will be roughly 24 contours, though that number can vary a bit depending on your min and max.  This is because the contours will be spaced roughly equally in log space and will always include even decades (e.g. 0.01, 100, 10000). The settings above with this application will give us the following isoline contours. So now let’s use some of the more advanced features of isolines.  Sometimes our isolines will stand out better on our surfaces if they are not colored. We’ve turned off the “Color Lines” toggle and set the Default Color to be a medium gray. One confusing/troubling issue with isolines is that they are drawn as LINES.  Unlike a triangle which has area and gets bigger as you zoom in, lines are drawn in pixels.  A one pixel wide line will APPEAR wide when your viewer is small (as the pictures above), but as you zoom in the width of those lines will not change.  This makes the lines seem thinner when the image resolution is high.  Below is the same settings zoomed in. In this situation there are two ways to make the lines wider.  The quickest is to edit the properties of the isolines.  You normally do that by first selecting the isolines “object” in the Viewer and then go to Editors…Object…Advanced_Settings. If isolines are your only line object, OR if you want all line objects in the Viewer to be wider, you can actually skip the step of selecting the object.  If you do, you’ll be changing the properties of all line objects. I wouldn’t be thorough if I didn’t mention the other way to make “wide” lines.  The tubes module can be connected to the blue-black output of isolines and will turn your lines into tubes.  Tubes are drawn with...

read more

Plume_Shell vs. Plume_Volume

Posted by on Jul 29, 2008 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Plume_Shell vs. Plume_Volume

This tip will explain the differences between the new plume_shell and plume_volume modules. Understanding the important differences between these modules can significantly improve your visualizations.  Primarily, the output from plume_shell is a hollow shell and the output from plume_volume is a volume of solid cells.  Plume_volume provides a volumetric subset of volumetric input data.  It should normally be used only if you plan to have other modules connected to its output.  If the end goal is only visualization, you should normally use plume_shell which should be connected to the Viewer. In the image below there are identical plumes displayed using plume_shell and plume_volume. The plume_shell on the left has a much smoother surface. Image 1 – Default settings for plume_shell and plume_volume To make the plumes look identical, select ‘Remove Normals Generation’ from each of the plumes. Image 2 – Remove Normals Off To display transparent plumes, the most visually appealing image is usually plume_shell with the Culling Mode set to normal (off) (Image 4D). The plumes below are shown at 50% transparency. Image 3 – Culling Mode still on (default) Image 4 – Culling Mode off Finally, plume_volume is necessary to show a slice through a plume. As shown in Image 5, slices through plume_shell are only outlines of the plume. Image 5 – Slices through plume_shell and plume_volume Hopefully these images demonstrate that plume_shell should be used when possible as the surface of the plume generally looks smoother. Networks using plume_shell will also be faster than networks using plume_volume. Generally whenever the objective is additional subsetting or volumetric operations on the output plume_volume should be used.  For example, you can cut, slice, further subset (E.G. on an additional dataset using plume_volume) the output of plume_volume.  However, since plume_shell is only a shell, most subsequent subsetting will not provide the desired...

read more

Adding Parameters/Modules to an existing animation

Posted by on Jul 2, 2008 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Adding Parameters/Modules to an existing animation

When adding an additional parameter or module to the animator after you have created a handful of scenes it may speed things up if you change the settings for the parameter to what you want for all currently existing scenes prior to adding the parameter to the animator. For example, if you are adding an object (like an additional plume_shell) that you want to appear only later in the animation you can change the module’s visible setting to zero prior to adding it to the animator. By setting the visibility to zero prior to adding the module to the animator, the module’s visibility will be zero for all existing scenes in the animation. This step saves you from having to set it to zero in each and every scene. To change a module’s visibility setting, select the object and then either uncheck the “Object Visible” checkbox on the viewer, or open the object editor and on the main page of General Object Settings there is a radio button to set the...

read more

Hardware Recommendations and the Future of EVS and MVS

Posted by on Oct 5, 2007 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Hardware Recommendations and the Future of EVS and MVS

A common question asked of us at C Tech is information regarding suggestions for computer purchases. Read on to see our current recommendations, as well as a sneak peek at features in the upcoming Version 9 release of EVS and MVS. EVS and MVS both are advanced software packages. Choosing the correct system configuration can help EVS perform tremendously, and is not always a matter of price. In fact, often times, less expensive equipment can outperform more expensive hardware in EVS and MVS – if the correct components are chosen. Hardware recommendations are always difficult. The computer world changes at a fast pace – usually there are major improvements to computers every six months. For this article, I’m going to list our current 2007 recommendations for systems, as well as explain some of the reasoning behind specific options. There are three main factors in building a system for running EVS and MVS. First, you need to decide on your memory, or system RAM. The amount of memory required is completely dependent on the types of models you are going to build with EVS/MVS – in particular, the higher resolution model you create, the more memory you should have in your system. System memory doesn’t impact performance until you run out – once you use up your memory, the performance of the entire system slows dramatically. Fortunately, RAM has dropped significantly in price over the last few years. Over time, larger amounts of memory have become available at lower prices, so this is a fairly easy one to improve in your system. Also, having extra RAM will not hurt anything in your system. Given current ram prices, I always recommend at least 1 GB of RAM for any system running Windows XP, and 2 GB of RAM for any system running Windows Vista. If you plan on making large or detailed models, adding at least 1GB of extra RAM is an easy way to help the performance of your system. For making high resolution models, I’d recommend at least 2 GB of RAM, and preferably 4 GB. That being said – 2 GB is very useful, but adding much beyond that becomes less of an improvement. This is due to the way Windows handles memory – only 2 GB of system memory will be allocated to a single process, so adding 4 GB is only useful in that you are guaranteeing that there will always be enough memory for EVS, as well as the operating system and any other programs running. However, Windows Vista, in particular, can easily use nearly a full GB of ram for the operating system tasks, since it pre-loads a lot of process information into system memory, so 3 or 4 GB is quite useful there. Second, you need to decide on a graphics card. This is an important one for EVS/MVS – so much of what you do will be impacted by the choice of graphics card, since this will determine how well the Viewer responds to user interaction. Fortunately, graphics card manufacturers improve their products at an amazing pace. Unfortunately, they are not always good about keeping their OpenGL drivers in perfect shape, and EVS/MVS uses (and needs) a feature rich implementation of OpenGL. The most important factor in determining a graphics card isn’t...

read more

Placing Isolines on the Top of a Model

Posted by on Feb 7, 2007 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Placing Isolines on the Top of a Model

For our next article in the “Tips and Tricks” section, I thought I would discuss another frequently asked question – How do you place isolines on the top surface of a model? As many of you know, this is quite straightforward if you are using the standard kriging modules in EVS to build your model. However, it can get tricky if the model is already created. This can happen if you are trying to use an old EVS Field File of a model that was generated in the past, or if you are bringing in the results of a groundwater modeling simulation. Fortunately, there is a way to accomplish this… As I mentioned, if you are using the standard kriging modules, this is fairly straightforward. Just add a geologic_surface module to your network, and connect it to isolines. The geologic_surface module provides elevation data directly for isolines, and allows you to pick any of the surfaces of the model. But what happens when we start using a model coming from somewhere else? Let’s look at this same network, but this time, we’ll use an EFB (EVS Field File) that was saved previously… There’s no Krig_3D_Geology anymore, which means we have no surface to connect to isolines! If we still had the original geology file, we could add a Krig_3D_Geology to our network, and set it up to run the way we did before, but that would be a lot of extra information, and also adds an element of risk – it may be difficult (if not impossible) to exactly match the information that was used when creating the EFB file. To make matters worse, this EFB file may have come from some other source – like the results of a groundwater model package. In that case, we may have never had a geology file that we can use. Fortunately, there is a way to get there – the slope_aspect_splitter module. This module was added in Version 8.5, and has many uses. In this case, it will let us take a 3D model and split off just the top surface of the model. First, we’ll need to get a second Explode_and_Scale module. We’ll connect the green-gray and gray-brown ports from the main Explode_and_Scale module to our second, but in Explode_and_Scale#1, we’ll turn off all of the layers except the first. This Explode_and_Scale will now output a copy of just the first layer of our model. Without this, we would get isolines on the tops of each layer – not just on our top surface of the model. We’ll pass Explode_and_Scale#1 into our new slope_aspect_splitter module, then connect it’s first blue-black port to our isolines. Our network now looks like this: Once you have this connected, you’ll see isolines. By going into isolines and choosing Elevation as my Iso Component, and setting the min and max values appropriately, I was able to create the following picture: In this case, everything worked with all the default settings for slope_aspect_splitter. This module is the one that does all of the difficult work for us. Let’s look at its user interface: This module works by taking all of the external surfaces of a model, and splitting them into two separate outputs for us based on the slope or aspect of individual triangles in the...

read more

Handling Aerial Photography

Posted by on Feb 2, 2007 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Handling Aerial Photography

With all of the new improvements EVS-Pro and MVS Version 8.5 added for handling images, I felt that it was time to introduce our first official post for the new “Tips and Tricks” section of This section of the website is intended for short discussions about features in the software, and how to make the best use of EVS or MVS within your organization. C Tech staff will periodically post a new tip to the website, each highlighting some aspect of the software. Unlike the help system, we will be focusing more on why a feature exists in EVS and how to use it, and trying to highlight the tips we find help us be more efficient or more creative in our own work. Sometimes (like today), we’ll talk about a new feature in the software. Often, we may just write a short tip on a way to improve your work flow. Comments and suggestions for new tips in the future are encouraged, and will help determine what topic may be discussed next. I’d like to kick off our new section with a discussion of aerial photography. EVS-Pro and MVS have always been able to display aerial photography and use it to annotate your model, but recently, some major improvements were made to the software that will really help you get the most out of your imagery in the future. Those of you familiar with the software have probably used the Read_Image and texture_map modules many times. Some of you may be quite comfortable with the issues involved, and have your own sets of workarounds to using these modules. One of the most exciting improvements in Version 8.5 is the new overlay_aerial module. This module should replace Read_Image and texture_map in your applications in the future. Not only does it handle more formats than the old modules (including handling GeoTiff, ECW, and Mr Sid files), it handles all images in a much cleaner, much simpler manner. First, let’s briefly look at how things used to be… For this post, I’m going to focus on a small site where I have five buildings and an aerial photo given to me as a GeoTiff file. To use this in 8.2 and earlier, the first thing I needed to do was to get a world file from my GeoTiff. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a tool in EVS to do this for me, so I used a small 3rd party utility that would create a world file (.TFW) from my GeoTiff. So now, I have my image, world file with the georeferencing, and a buildings file. I put together this simple application: This application uses create_grid to make a flat surface that can be used with texture_map. Eventually, I’d probably use a .geo or .gmf file with Krig_3D_Geology and geologic_surface to create a surface to texture_map, but this is a nice option if you just want to look at the photo without having geologic information. Here’s where things get tricky – When we do this, this is what shows up in the Viewer: There are a couple of issues here. First, our image doesn’t extend out to the top of the surface, so we get horrible streaking. This can be corrected by adding an image border in Read_Image, and playing with the border...

read more

Using EVS and MVS on Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2

Posted by on Aug 11, 2004 in Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Using EVS and MVS on Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2

Users of EVS and MVS With Microsoft’s release of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, many software packages have stopped working properly. C Tech is happy to inform its users that this is not the case with EVS or MVS. Floating license users will need to reconfigure their systems to handle licensing issues. Instructions are available below. Upon running EVS or MVS, you may notice a screen which pops up the first time you run EVS or MVS which looks like the following: This is not a cause for alarm. EVS and MVS briefly open a network socket to handle some of its floating license issues. The connection is closed almost immediately after being opened, and as such, does not leave an open connection available as a security vulnerability. Users are free to choose the “Keep Blocking” option – it should have no effect on the running of EVS or MVS. Once you choose an option, this window should never appear again. Floating License Users Floating License and Premier License customers will have to setup their systems to work properly after installing Service Pack 2. End users (clients) will have no issues, but all floating license and premier license servers will need to explicitly allow the license server to listen for licensing requests. This can be accomplished as follows. First, on the license server, you will need to open the new Windows Security Center from inside of the Control Panel. Once inside the Windows Security Center, choose to Manage Security Settings for Windows Firewall. Choose the Exceptions tab at the top of the screen as in the following screenshot: Choose the “Add Program…” button to add the Floating License server to the list of allowed programs. You will need to browse to the folder where you installed the license server, and choose the file ServiceCTechLicense.exe. This is installed to C:Program FilesC Tech Floating License ServerbinFloat_Server by default. NOTE: Premier License customers will need to choose the CTechPremierLicenseServer.exe program file, which is typically installed in C:Program FilesC Tech Premier License ServerbinFloat_Server. Once you choose “Open”, the program should appear in your Windows Firewall list of Exceptions, as in the screenshot below: NOTE: Premier Servers will be listed as CTechPremierLicenseServer.exe. If you choose “OK” in this screen, the license server will once again serve licenses correctly. If you have any issues or questions, you can always contact C Tech Technical Support regarding compatibility issues. Thank...

read more