Visualisation Applications



Overview: The scope of this document

This document is intended to provide a ground level introduction to 3D applications programs installed in BEARView for the purpose of visualising 3D datasets. Project leaders and researchers are invited to make use of the facilities in the BearView. The BearView visualisation setup comprises of a 4 metre by 2 metre flat screen Powerwall display that allows researchers to view and investigate 3D data sets in active stereo. It is essential that 3D dataset files are converted to Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) format before the visualisation stage in BEARView. VRML is a file format for describing interactive 3D objects. VRML is used in a variety of application areas such as engineering and scientific visualization.

This help page contains the following sections:

Visualisation Introduction

Visualisation Background

3D Model Viewed in Avizo

3D Models Viewed in ParaView

3D Model Viewed in Free WRL

Addtional Information

Visualisation Introduction

Visualisation is not about pretty pictures, but is actively used in areas of research for example scientific and data visualisation. For scientific visualisation, the goal is to produce images that inform and educate. Researchers will gain a different viewpoint and better understanding of their data, this is achieved with good visualisation that provides several  benefits which are:

  • Avoid distorting what the data has to say
  • Make large data sets coherent
  • Present many numbers in a small space
  • Show data in the most suitable form

Visualisation Background

This document does not focus on visualisation techniques or file formats for describing interactive 3D objects.  The help page requires the reader to have the prerequisites knowledge in visualisation techniques and the understanding of the file formats used in describing their 3D files before using the BearView resources. Because this document does not explain how to output or visualise non VRML 3D file formats or how to convert non VRML graphical format to VRML. Researchers and potential BearView users should have knowledge in converting non VRML graphical format to VRML. Researchers utilising commercial software, namely Ansys and Abaqus for numerical simulations and modelling can export (File->Export->VRML) their 3D model into VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) using the respective menu bar options .The  following 3D applications are available in BearView to visualise VRML 3D file sets:


3D Model Viewed in Avizo

Getting Started with AVIZO

Avizo is a commercial (license) software application for the visualisation and analysis of scientific and industrial data- this software is only available in BEARView.

Avizo take care of a large number of data types and modules allowing researchers to visualised and analysed 3D model data sets generated from scientific applications for example Abaqus, and ANSYS CFX. For more informative information on BEARView offering, browse the BEARView pages or open a Service Desk call to discuss access and using the BEARView facilities.

Visualization of 3D models in AVIZO

Image data is loaded in Avizo with the File/Open data... dialog. All file formats supported by Avizo are recognised automatically either by a data header or by the file name suffix. For example, to demonstrate 3D viewing in AVIZO, follow the below steps and load the StaticMixer.wrl file:

How to load image data:

1. Using the File/Open Data... browser

2. Reading 3D image data



Figure 1: Visualization results are displayed in AVIZO 3D Viewer Window.


3D Model Viewed in ParaView

ParaView is open-source (source code available for modification by anyone), and runs on a number of operating systems platforms.  ParaView is a multi-platform application used in the visualization and analysis of scientific data sets.  Users of ParaView can explore their data interactively in 3D or programmatically using the ParaView’s batch processing capabilities. ParaView is available to download from website: and is licensed under the permissive BSD license (royalty fee) for most purposes.

Paraview understands many scientific data format. Use the File menu and Open Button from the toolbar to load the StaticMixer.wrl file. Once you have enabled all the options on the data in the object inspector view, click the Apply button to finish loading the data.

Paraview Graphical User Interface (GUI) comprises the below sections:

File and Filter menu - Open files

Pipeline Browse - Displays the Visualisation Pipeline

Objects Inspector - Display and Information tabs



Figure 2:StaticMixer Visualised in ParaView

3D Model Viewed in FreeWRL

VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language is a text file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics. It has been superseded by X3D. FreeWRL is  X3D/VRML open source viewer for many platforms, and it is downloaded under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) free software license from:

Select File menu and Open Button from the toolbar to load the StaticMixer.wrl file, next click the "launch free WRL" button to view the model.



Figure 3: FreeWRL Launcher


Figure 4: You are now viewing the StaticMixer in FreeWRL


Addtional Information

As shown above, BEARView facilities can be used to visualise your datasets in 3D and 3D stereo.  If you are expecting to use this facility, further advice can be provided by opening a Service Desk call.

Last modified: 20 May 2015