December 01, 2006
CEI has added major new features and performance improvements to its EnSight extreme visualization software just three months after the release of version 8.2.
CEI's latest release, called 8.2.2, includes faster and higher-quality transparency for both EnSight and EnLiten, video file playback as a texture within EnSight, and "lookmarks" that provide a thumbnail reminder of saved views within EnSight.
Transparency has been enhanced in EnSight 8.2.2 by implementing a new multi-pass "onion-peel" algorithm. The new algorithm replaces the old per-polygon sort method with a per-pixel fragment program, resulting in greater image quality and faster generation of scenes that include transparency.
"Transparency is an immensely important visualization technique that enables data to be displayed in illuminating ways," says Darin McKinnis, CEI's vice president of marketing and sales. "This faster and higher-quality algorithm will be a great help to our many customers dealing with large, complex simulations that benefit from transparency."
CEI has also implemented the new algorithm in EnLiten, enabling it to display transparent surfaces generated by EnSight. EnLiten is CEI's free application for viewing 3D scenes; it gives scientists and engineers the ability to share and collaborate with their colleagues anywhere in the world without the need for product licensing.
EnSight can now use video files as textures applied to a scenario. Video clips are time-synched to the transient data in EnSight, enabling tests or experiments captured on video to be visualized in conjunction with simulation data. This feature is valuable in car crash visualizations and other analyses where it is beneficial to combine real-world and "what-if" scenarios.
New "lookmarks" in EnSight save views as thumbnails that can be used as visual cues, enabling users to easily return to and navigate among different views of their data.
Other features in EnSight 8.2.2 include new pan and zoom capabilities in the EnVideo free animation viewer, and a range of interface improvements.
"For other companies, these new capabilities are significant enough to warrant a major point release that would be a once-a-year event," says McKinnis. "CEI engineers operate on an extreme fast track: Customers get all these great upgrades three months after a big release."
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