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Working with Time in ParaView. John Biddiscombe CSCS Swiss National Supercomputing Centre. Contents. Data Formats for time-dependent data Overview of GUI controls Animation Controls Connection between GUI and internals Comparative Visualization mode Temporal Pipeline Overview

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john biddiscombe cscs swiss national supercomputing centre

Working with Time

in ParaView

John Biddiscombe


Swiss National Supercomputing Centre


Data Formats for time-dependent data

Overview of GUI controls

Animation Controls

Connection between GUI and internals

Comparative Visualization mode

Temporal Pipeline Overview

Time Dependent Filters (vtkTemporalXXX)

Manipulating Time in Filters (C++ code)…

Gotchas & Bugs

Future Plans

formats supported
Formats Supported
  • Exodus (used by several US research facilities)
  • vtkPVDReader (vtk XML Collection)
    • filename.pvd + Filename-00.vtu/vti/vtp etc
  • vtkFileSeriesReader
  • vtkXML * Reader
    • PolyData, UnstructuredGrid, StructuredGrid, ImageData, RectilinearGrid, Multiblock, Heirarchical etc.
  • Legacy VTK files with 001, 002, 003 filenames
  • Ensight (case files, ASCII/Binary data)
  • OpenFOAM, SpyPlot, Phasta, STL, MFIX (untested by me)
  • Xdmf (extensible data model format)
    • XML light data with geometry/time information inside
    • Hdf5 – heavy – big data containing scalars/fields
  • (CSCS) custom readers include netCDF,H5Part (from CSCS web site)
vtk xml based file format
Vtk (XML based) file format

VTK Collection - Easy to create by hand if necessary

A General purpose holder for vtk XML files of all types

vtu=unstructured, vtp=polydata, vtr=rectilinear, vti=imagedata

Each individual file can be binary/text, compressed or not

<VTKFile type="Collection" version="0.1" byte_order="LittleEndian">


<DataSettimestep="0.01" group="" part="0" file="Foo_001.vtu"/>

<DataSettimestep=“0.02" group="" part="0" file=“Foo_002.vtu"/>

<DataSettimestep=“0.03" group="" part="0" file=“Foo_003.vtu"/>



The VTK Collection is in fact a generic holder for MultiBlockcomposite datasets which can store time information too.

The vtkXMLReader family is responsible for loading this kind of data.

User can use vtkXML_xxx_Writer to write N time steps of any kind of data and then add a little XML meta data to describe it.

Caveat : pvd time collections are not working well in parallel (NxM split of blocks)

pvd versus file list
.pvd versus File List
  • .pvd collection is a true Time compatible holder for data
    • Time steps can be specified with real time values
    • Don’t need to be contiguous or equally spaced
  • FileSeriesReader : Selecting *.vtu/p/i/etc
    • simple but efficient way of loading time series
    • One step per file
    • Can’t specify true time values
    • vtkFileSeriesReader is clever
    • Load one – get one
    • Load *.ext, get time series
    • No C++ changes required to reader
vtk fileseriesreader make reader time aware
vtkFileSeriesReader : make reader time aware




label="XML Unstructured Grid reader"



short_help=“blah blah“


The XML Unstructured Grid reader reads the VTK XML unstructured grid data file format. The standard extension is .vtu.

This reader also supports file series.


fileseriesreader slide 2
FileSeriesReader (slide 2)

Put details of your existing reader in ExposedProperties


<Proxy name="Reader"





<Property name="CellArrayInfo" />

<Property name="CellArrayStatus" />

<Property name="PointArrayInfo" />

<Property name="PointArrayStatus" />



fileseriesreader slide 3
FileSeriesReader (slide 3)

<StringVectorProperty name="FileName"






<FileListDomain name="files"/>


The list of files to be read by the reader. If more than 1 file is specified, the reader will switch to file series mode in which it will pretend that it can support time and provide 1 file per time step.



fileseriesreader slide 4
FileSeriesReader (slide 4)

The part which makes it ‘time aware’






Available timestep values.




old and new time in paraview
Old and New Time in ParaView

In PV2.x Time was generally animated by changing the TimeStep value of a reader (or filter sometimes).

In PV3.x Time is an information variable/object passed down the pipeline which makes it possible for filters to modify time before passing it to their source. For this reason, the GUI sets the time inside the Rendering/Mapping code and not via a TimeStep variable.

Some older (custom) readers may still have a TimeStep variable, but this is being phased out and its use is not encouraged – unless you are trying to do something ‘a bit special’ (see later slides).

reader xml
Reader XML

For any reader

If you omit this (this is all you need in the XML)

Then you won’t see the time information.

  • <DoubleVectorProperty
    • name="TimestepValues"
    • information_only="1">
    • <TimeStepsInformationHelper/>
    • <Documentation>
      • Available timestep values.
    • </Documentation>
  • </DoubleVectorProperty>

It connects the TIME_STEPS key to the GUI

the old method xml for reference
The old method (xml for reference)


name="TimeStep" command="SetTimeStep"

number_of_elements="1" default_values="0"



<IntRangeDomain name="range">


<Property name="TimeStepRangeInfo" function="Range"/>



<Documentation> Set the current timestep. </Documentation>


And for convenience we usually provided a GetTimestepValues(vector)

c reader requestinformation
C++ Reader : RequestInformation

Scan files/data structures and build a list/vector/array of times

Set TIME_STEPS for discrete time data (most readers really)



&this->TimeStepValues[0], this->TimeStepValues.size());

Set TIME_RANGE if continuous, but can also be set for discrete

double timeRange[2];

timeRange[0] = this->TimeStepValues.front();

timeRange[1] = this->TimeStepValues.back();


vtkStreamingDemandDrivenPipeline::TIME_RANGE(), timeRange, 2);

c reader requestdata
C++ Reader : RequestData

Find the correct time step (index into array of step values)

if (



// usually only one actual step requested

double requestedTimeValue = outInfo->Get(vtkStreamingDemandDrivenPipeline::UPDATE_TIME_STEPS())[0];

this->ActualTimeStep = vtkstd::find_if(

this->TimeStepValues.begin(), this->TimeStepValues.end(),

vtkstd::bind2nd( WithinTolerance( ), requestedTimeValue ))

- this->TimeStepValues.begin();


c reader requestdata1
C++ Reader : RequestData

Time stamp the output DataObject using DATA_TIME_STEPS

output->GetInformation()->Set(vtkDataObject::DATA_TIME_STEPS(), &requestedTimeValue, 1);

Nothing bad happens if you don’t – But filters which use the time information won’t get what they need.

vtkTemporalPathLineFilter builds lists of data times for each frame and joins the dots.

You can read the UPDATE_TIME_STEPS key, but it might not be the same, and is strictly only present during RequestUpdateExtent


GUI Controls

Animating with Time

animation gui controls
Animation GUI Controls
  • Time value displayed in toolbar –
  • Time step mode – user can change step
  • Sequence mode – user can change time freely
  • VCR style toolbar has play controls
  • (play, step forward/back, jump to start/end)
  • Data with Time support shows the timesteps in the information tab. (Lacks ability to click on timestep and jump to it)
  • Animation control has settings for time stepping and keyframes
  • Abort button to stop movie generation not obvious
time modes in animation inspector
Time Modes in Animation Inspector

Snap to TimeSteps

  • When you click ‘play’ the animation will begin at whatever time step you are on and continue until it either reaches the end (or is stopped manually).
  • When stopped the animation will continue from where it left off if restarted.
  • Each frame played represents a single time step of the input data
  • There is no need to set any keyframes or specify any particular property to animate.
  • The Track selection is used to select or create keyframes
time modes in animation inspector1
Time Modes in Animation Inspector

Snap to TimeSteps : * * * Warning * * *

  • When dataset 1 is loaded it may have time values
    • 0, 1, 2, 3, …..N
  • When dataset 2 is loaded it may have time values
    • 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, …..M
  • Playing an animation in Snap To TimeSteps mode will traverse ALL KNOWN Timesteps – which means
  • 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 …..max(M,N)
  • This can cause unexpected results!
  • Future time support should allow you to ‘Snap to active pipeline steps’ so that only the times exported for a particular dataset/filter will be traversed. (In development).
  • Fix : Use Sequence mode and ‘lock’ the start and end times to prevent changes
time modes in animation inspector2
Time Modes in Animation Inspector

Sequence Mode

  • The start and end times correspond to the max and min values of time in the data you loaded.
  • If you manually change the start/end times you can ‘Lock’ the new times – this prevents them being reset to the default start/end times if new data is loaded.
  • Animation will now ignore the Time steps present in the data and use interval=(end/start)/(numFrames-1)
  • This is frequently NOT WHAT YOU WANT
time modes in animation inspector3
Time Modes in Animation Inspector
  • Worked example
    • interval=(end/start)/(numFrames-1) 60.001424 - 50.001424 = 10
    • Num Frames = 10
    • We should get our original time steps back (1s per step)
    • In fact we get 10/(numFrames-1) = 1.11111111s/frame
    • Need to use 11 frames to get 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10
    • Note : In the some versions of PV3 selecting time values which are not exactly the same as those present will produce no update. It should snap to the nearest time step, but does not. See SnapToTimeSteps for a fix.
time modes in animation inspector4
Time Modes in Animation Inspector

Real Time

  • Animates using the ‘Wall time’
  • Not always useful for the majority of filters/data sources that we use
  • Useful to animate ‘as fast as we can’ if data was stored with time representing a real clock value and we wish to ‘play back’ data in real time.
  • In this mode not all times may be displayed. Some will be skipped or some may be on screen for ages.
  • Could also be very handy for integrating generators of data (eg sensor equipment) into the gui and displaying the real time update of the sensor (no examples of this yet though)
comparative view inspector
Comparative View Inspector
  • Allows MxN array of views on the same data
  • Allows a variable to be changed along the X axis.
  • Wrong - limitation <is> used to be that time must be between 0.0-1.0 for the view to operate
  • Solution :
  • TemporalShiftScale with
  • 1/N scale factor
  • (or use Normalize flag set if present in CVS)
same data at multiple t
Same Data at multiple T
  • Uses Time steps of selected object
  • Avoid mismatched time display in same window.
  • FilmStrip uses X
  • Comparative : X&Y
  • Works, but patience required
comparative viz summary
Comparative viz Summary
  • Much easier than
    • Creating multiple windows manually
    • Setting up Shift/Scale
    • Instantiating Pipelines
    • Setting view/display properties
    • Can also use other plot styles.
pipeline introduction
Pipeline Introduction

The pipeline is demand driven with

data flowing downstream

Information flowing up and down stream

In PV3 Time is part of the Information flow.



Data source





how does it work
How does it work
  • How does the pipeline actually fit together
    • All filters are connected together by Executives which receive information from downstream (and upstream) and decide
    • Are the data inputs valid
    • Are the data outputs valid
    • Is everything else valid
    • Has anything changed since I last updated
  • In PV3 Time is passed as information and the executives can LOOP portions of the pipeline over multiple time steps
  • This means that filters can request multiple time steps
  • This enables us to implement Time Dependent Algorithms
pipeline looping
Pipeline Looping
  • vtkTemporalDataSet
    • When the pipeline is looped to generate multiple time steps, the executive generates a dataset collection
    • The collection is passed to the temporal algorithm
    • The algorithm can request any number of time steps
    • But usually 2 (linear interpolation)
    • In order to make looping work, some information keys are used internally
information keys
Information Keys

During Updates, the pipeline makes 4 request passes…

  • DataObject, Information, UpdateExtent, Data

Keys exported by time aware sources

  • TIME_RANGE (continuous), TIME_STEPS (discrete)
  • Time aware reader will declare N steps 0.0, 0.1, 0.2…..etc

Keys used during requests

  • UPDATE_TIME_STEPS (Filter says ‘I want these’)
  • Interpolator says I need times 0.1 and 0.2 for example

Keys set during execution

  • DATA_TIME_STEPS (Source says ‘I made these’)
  • Data generator says I generated times 0.1 and 0.2

Keys used internally by executives

  • REQUIRES_TIME_DOWNSTREAM (looping will be needed)
  • CONTINE_EXECUTING (multiple passes inside algorithm)
linear interpolation
(Linear) Interpolation
  • vtkTemporalInterpolator
    • Linearly interpolates between 2 time steps
    • When Time T.5 is requested it requests times T and T+1
  • 2 Modes of Operation
    • Continuous
    • Discrete
  • Continuous Mode
    • DiscreteTimeStepInterval=0.0
    • Filter generates no TIME_STEPS on output – just a TIME_RANGE
    • GUI can request any timebetween min/max
  • Discrete Mode
    • DiscreteTimeStepInterval>0
    • Filter generates (max-min)/DiscreteTimeStepInterval steps
    • GUI sees discrete data with new TIME_STEPS values
linear interpolation1
(Linear) Interpolation

Continuous mode

  • Input data (left) has N discrete time steps
  • Output data (right) has no time steps
  • It does report a TIME_RANGE
  • So the GUI knows that any time between min/max can be requested
interpolation continuous mode
Interpolation – Continuous mode

Data Courtesy : David Graham, Plymouth UK.

linear interpolation2
(Linear) Interpolation

Discrete mode

  • Example :
  • DiscreteTimeStepInterval=0.01
  • New time steps are generated and the output data ‘looks’ like it has 10x as many time steps.
  • Note that no interpolation of the data has been performed yet, only when something is actually rendered/requested will the interpolation take place.
linear interpolation3
(Linear) Interpolation
  • What can be interpolated
    • Any Dataset which does not change topology between time steps
    • Point positions are interpolated
      • Connectivity (cells are copied)
    • Point Data is interpolated
    • Cell Data is interpolated
    • ImageData/PolyData/Rectilinear/Unstructured
      • All can be interpolated if cell connectivity and number of cells remains the same
    • MultiBlock/MultiGroup/Heirarchical/AMR
      • If the tree structure remains the same between time steps and the individual leaves satisfy above conditions
    • Other interpolation methods could be added
fixing problems with the interpolator
Fixing Problems with the interpolator
  • Discrete mode
    • Given an input with N time steps, but a few are accidentally missing (lost of never generated)
    • Set DiscreteTimeStep Interval to the original time step size (say 0.1 or 0.01 etc)
    • Data saved every Nth frame to save IO time.
    • Output now seems to be exactly the same as the input – except that the steps that were missing from the input are recreated using interpolation when requested on the output
    • Animate using ‘Snap To TimeSteps’ mode
    • Animation will look like intended original
problem fixing example interpolation
Problem Fixing Example (Interpolation)


Missing data, low sampling

Problems for particle tracer



interpolation use a cache
Interpolation – Use a cache

If animation from 0->t is performed using a TemporalInterpolator, the interpolator will request 2 time steps each time it updates

Interpolating at 0.1 spacing between 2 steps causes

Step 0 + Step 1 : Output Step 0.1

Step 0 + Step 1 : Output Step 0.2 Each step N times!

Step 0 + Step 1 : Output Step 0.3

Use a TemporalDataSetCache to store 2 timesteps and prevent this repeated re-execution of the pipeline

Data source

(time aware)






branching time use a cache
Branching Time – Use a cache

It’s not just the filter delivering the data at T, but the whole upstream pipeline that is protected…

Consider the case where a pipeline branches and different T values are requested. The cache prevents updates from one section propagating too far upstream and forcing the other branch to be re-executed needlessly.

Simple filter(s)

(no special time requirements)

Data source

(time aware)

Temporal DataSetCache


(requires multiple time steps, e.g.. Particle tracer)




(modifies time values)

branching time caution in the gui
Branching Time – Caution in the GUI

When different values to T are visible/manipulated

Only display the leaf nodes of the pipeline

Rendering intermediate portions can trigger unwanted/confusing updates



Simple filter(s)

(no special time requirements)



Data source

(time aware)

Temporal DataSetCache


(requires multiple time steps, e.g.. Particle tracer)




(modifies time values)

multiple inputs
Multiple Inputs

Related Cautionary Note #1

multiple inputs1
Multiple Inputs
  • Time dependent filters with multiple inputs
  • Trigger updates on all inputs
  • Particle Tracer is one example

Avoid this.

Save Seeds if possible


Data source

(time aware)

Temporal DataSetCache

Particle Tracer




Slice – Seed Points

(for example)

snaptotimesteps example
SnapToTimeSteps Example

Data source

(time aware)




Time To Text



Snap To TimeStep

Time To Text

time display side note
Time Display Side note

Source : Time Source

Takes time from the UPDATE_TIME_STEPS

Actually it takes it directly from the view which is responsible for setting the key on the filter/output

Filter->Temporal->Annotate Time

Takes its time from DATA_TIME_STEPS

Which is the actual time step output from the filter

The two might not always be the same (snap to timestep for example)

temporal shift scale
Temporal Shift Scale

Changes time between the input and output of a filter

Can be used to compare the same data at 2 different values of T (though the comparative viz view is easier to use in some ways)

Invaluable for combining different datasets with different T values

See example pipeline below

Tout = PreShift + Tin*Scale + PostShift

NB. +ve PostShift produces +ve delay of output time

seems the wrong way around

but time 0 is now time N, so it takes N seconds to get to it

temporal shift scale1
Temporal Shift Scale

Pre-Shift = -50.0014

Scale = 1/10

Post-Shift = 3


50-0014 - 60.0014


3.0 – 4.0

developer tip hiding bad time data
Developer Tip : Hiding bad time data

In RequestData

if (outInfo->Has(vtkStreamingDemandDrivenPipeline::UPDATE_TIME_STEPS())) {

double requestedTimeValue = outInfo-> Get(vtkStreamingDemandDrivenPipeline::UPDATE_TIME_STEPS())[0];

if (requestedTimeValue<this->TimeStepValues.front() || requestedTimeValue>this->TimeStepValues.back())


this->TimeOutOfRange = 1;


output->GetInformation()->Set(vtkDataObject::DATA_TIME_STEPS(), &requestedTimeValue, 1);


if (this->TimeOutOfRange && this->MaskOutOfTimeRangeOutput) {

// don\'t do anything, just return success

return 1;


developer tip normalize time
Developer Tip : Normalize Time

In RequestInformation

if (this->NormalizeToUnitTime && this->TimeStepValues.size()>0) {

double t1 = this->TimeStepValues.front();

double t2 = this->TimeStepValues.back();

double t3 = (t2-t1)>0 ? (1.0/(t2-t1)) : 1.0;

for (unsigned int i=0; i<this->TimeStepValues.size(); i++) {

double t = this->TimeStepValues[i];

this->TimeStepValues[i] = t3*(t-t1);



Then everything comes out {0,1}

Feature might be available in ShiftScale. Regional Variations 

comparative vis using time shift
Comparative Vis (using Time shift)
  • Time shift + Interpolation + Trails
    • 3 time dependent features in 1 go
temporal shift scale2
Temporal Shift Scale

Periodic Mode :

Turns N time steps spanning t time units into

N*T steps spanning T*t units

Periodic End Correction

If simulation steps are {0,1,2…N-1} and {N-1} is identical to {0}

Periodic end correction OFF = {0,1,2…N-1,1,2,3..N-1}

Otherwise {0,1,2…N-1,1,2,3..N-1} causes duplicated step

If simulation steps are {0,1,2…N-1} and {N-1} is different from {0}

Periodic end correction On

Otherwise {0,1,2…N-1,0,2,3..N-1} causes duplicated step

periodic example
Periodic example

2 Separate Datasets

one 40 steps

one 80 steps

Duration 1s (approx)

Need 5+hours

80*3600*5 = 1.44E6

Tried 10,000 Periods in ParaView (1 day?)

Need a better model!

particle tracer pipeline one nasty example
Particle Tracer Pipeline (one nasty example)

DataSet 1



Particle Tracer


DataSet 2

Shift Scale




Seeds 1


Seeds 2

side note xml for temporal support
Side Note : XML for Temporal Support

<SourceProxy name="TemporalSnapToTimeStep"


label="Temporal Snap-to-Time-Step">

<InputProperty name="Input" command="SetInputConnection">

<ProxyGroupDomain name="groups">

<Group name="sources"/>

<Group name="filters"/>


<DataTypeDomain name="input_type" composite_data_supported="1">

<DataType value="vtkDataObject"/>



Will change in future : no way of saying : DataType : PolyData : Temporal_required


Particle Tracer


particle tracing
Particle Tracing
  • All Inputs must have same vector field
  • Multiple Multiblock Inputs supported (Temporal Required)
    • Meshes can be dynamic
  • Parallel operation
  • If input dataset has N time steps
    • Particle tracer will generate N-1 output steps
    • Output step 0 time value corresponds to input step {0,1} time
      • Nothing can be generated until 1 time period has passed
  • Seed points are supplied as separate inputs
  • Use SetTimeStep to combat odd time input combinations
request update extent
Request Update Extent

for (int i=0; i<numInputs; i++) {

vtkInformation *inInfo = inputVector[0]->GetInformationObject(i);

// our output timestep T is timestep T+1 in the source

// so output inputTimeSteps[T], inputTimeSteps[T+1]

inInfo-> Set(vtkStreamingDemandDrivenPipeline::UPDATE_TIME_STEPS(),

&this->InputTimeValues[this->ActualTimeStep], 2);

vtkDebugMacro(<< "requested 2 time values : "

<< this->InputTimeValues[this->ActualTimeStep] << " "

<< this->InputTimeValues[this->ActualTimeStep+1]);


particle tracing setup example
Particle Tracing (setup example)
  • Source (seedpoints)
    • LineSource 100 points
  • Time Step resolution
    • Leave as 1 – this can be used to scale time if the input time was not stored correctly (e.g. it goes 0…N but should be 0.1 0.2 0.3 etc)
  • Time Step (output index)
    • Set to zero initially – this will request steps, (0,1) from the input and the time actually corresponds to T=1 (but it will be the 0th step on the output)
particle tracing1
Particle Tracing
  • Force re-injection
      • every 1 or 2 time steps
      • Particles will be injected at the seed points every N steps
  • Input vectors
      • Usually a velocity field, but could be another
  • Initial Integration step
      • Used by Runge-Kutta integration to make incremental velocity field approximations
      • Can be smaller but 0.25 usually OK
  • Static Seeds - Static Mesh
    • Force optimizations
    • GEOMETRY_NOT_MODIFIED (work in progress)
particle tracing2
Particle Tracing
  • Ignore pipeline time
    • This is very important – the particle tracer generates less output steps than the input (-1) and so we cannot (yet) use the default animation controls due to bug mentioned earlier.
    • NB. This works now, but the comment is useful
    • We therefore instruct the particle tracer to ignore pipeline time and instead animate the Timestep property from 0 to N-2 (if the input has N steps, the Particle tracer has N-1 steps output, so we go from 0 to N-2 to get the correct number)
  • Particle filename (not shown)
    • An option to store particles to disk will be included at a future date.
side note ignore pipeline time
Side Note : Ignore Pipeline Time

if (this->IgnorePipelineTime) {

if (this->TimeStep<this->OutputTimeValues.size()) {

requestedTimeValue = this->OutputTimeValues[this->TimeStep];

} else {

requestedTimeValue = this->OutputTimeValues.back();


this->ActualTimeStep = this->TimeStep;

vtkDebugMacro(<< "SetTimeStep : requestedTimeValue “

<< requestedTimeValue << " ActualTimeStep "

<< this->ActualTimeStep);


else {

the usual stuff to get requested time


particle tracing3
Particle Tracing

To generate animation of particles

Use Sequence Mode Animation

Use N-1 Frames (because there will be N-1 steps generated – this data had 51 steps on the input indexed as 0-50), so we use 50 frames for output

Create a Keyframe on ParticleTracer TimeStep.

Set Keyframe index 0

Time to start time = 0.0 here

Value to TimeStep 0

Set Keyframe index 1

Time to end time = 7.99 in this example

Value to 49 (last index = 51-2)

Animation can now be played/saved as movie

pathline filter
Pathline Filter
  • Connects to output of Particle tracer
  • Can be used on any dataset with points (not just particles)
  • Now supports selection of subset
    • But needs to be updated to use vtkSelection type
    • Uses Ids from selection dataset to choose points for line construction
  • Is not strictly a vtkTemporalXXX filter because it does not loop time
    • Listents to DATE_TIME_STEPS on input and builds list from that
  • See other slides for example of usage

Temporal Statistics

temporal statistics
Temporal Statistics





Standard Deviation

More can be added

Can take time!



selection over time
03/06/2008Selection over time
  • The same procedure can be used to query a particle over all available time
  • Extract Selection over time filter builds a spreadsheet of values for the selected IDs over all time steps
    • NB: Can’t set a sub region of time using the animation controls yet, but this feature will be coming
  • Selection tutorial should cover possible types
  • Cell/Point/Global IDs can be used here
plot selection over time
03/06/2008Plot Selection over time

Which Point to display

Which field(s)


Animations with

Non simple time

how to animate a slice on a time dependent dataset
How to animate a slice on a time-dependent dataset


When I try to animate, time changes as well as the slice

I can’t set time start/end to constants and then animate slice alone

ParaView hangs because of zero increment

Trying to fool it with tiny increments is not safe.

Show animation viewer and double click time track

Now animate the slice or other property using sequence mode

And keyframes to suit.

demo 1
Demo 1
  • How to animate a slice, and then animate the data?

Double click on these tracks

setup a slice keyframe
Setup a slice keyframe
  • Create Slice offset keyframe
  • Animate a slice 50 frames one way
  • 50 frames back again
  • Note that extents are +/- 1.5 = 3
  • Check values when adding keyframes
change the time track itself
Change the Time track itself
  • Double click Time track
  • Time is variable
  • It has its own keyframes
  • Fix time from frames 1-50
  • Animate time from 50 to 50+60
sequence mode coordination
Sequence mode coordination
  • Make sure the Animation inspector has the same information as the animation viewer
  • And….the keyframes
  • When you add/remove them, or adjust the start/end time, they get rescaled
  • Could do with a ‘locking keyframe time’ option here
  • The time here should be thought of as frames
demo 2
Demo 2

Fixed, forward and reverse time in one animation

Animation (frame) time

View (data) time

We need tracks per dataset – to combine different sources

animate camera from python
Animate Camera from Python

phi = range(0, 360)

for i in phi:

view.CameraPosition = [2400*math.cos(i*math.pi*2.0/360), 2400*math.sin(i*math.pi*2.0/360), 300]


imgfile = "/path/to/snapshot.%03d.png" % i

view.WriteImage(imgfile, "vtkPNGWriter", 1)

To be Continued

Python versions of TimeAnimationCue, Scene, View

Exercise for the reader (Utkarsh) : recreate fancy time animations in Python


Few Time dependent filters in ParaView so far

But …

Already powerful tool for animations/analysis

Animation improvements and time step handling will make it hard to beat in terms of features and flexibility