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Review of Visualisation Systems

5.3 IRIS Explorer

5.3.1 - Hardcopy
5.3.2 - File output
5.3.3 - Video/Animation

5.3.1 Hardcopy

Hardcopy output of visual information is provided by colour Encapsulated PostScript through the Render module. Other modules producing visual output, such as Graph, Histogram, DisplayImage, do not output PostScript, though a new module NAGGraph, available soon, will do so. The Render module File menu has a Print selection with options to set an output size in inches and orientation (Landscape or Portrait), sending directly to the printer or to a file. When sending to a file it is also possible to output RGB.

5.3.2 File output


DataScribe is a visual programming interface for creating user-defined data readers. It takes ASCII or binary data files and turns them into IRIS Explorer Lattice data types, or vice versa. It works only to/from the various Lattice types (see Data Import section).

Image Formats

ReadImg and WriteImg module

These IRIS Explorer modules read/write a lattice containing a 2D image to a file. The lattice can have 1, 3 or 4 data variables denoting greyscale, RGB or RGB Opacity.

ImportImage and ExportImage modules

These user-contributed modules convert between an IRIS Explorer Lattice containing a 2D image and one of the following formats:


The File menu of Render can also be used to output files in IRIS Inventor format. The file can subsequently be read into a Showcase document on an SGI machine whilst retaining the 3D relationships recorded therein.

ReadXXX and WriteXXX modules

IRIS Explorer's internal data formats (Lattices, Pyramids, Geometry including camera and lighting specifications) have an associated module for writing out to a file, whether in ASCII or binary. Binary output typically is used where the file is to be read back into Explorer at a later time, using the corresponding ReadXXX module. ASCII format is useful to elucidate the data structures and for visual inspection during debugging. Storage of a colourmap is as a specific instance of a Lattice. Parameters and Pick data types can be output to the IRIS Explorer log window using PrintXXX

5.3.3 Video/Animation

The AnimateCamera module is provided to animate the viewing position. Typically, camera positions are output from the Render module and are input to AnimateCamera in Learn mode. In Run mode, AnimateCamera interpolates at user-specified intervals to produce camera geometry which is then input to Render. Camera positions can also be stored in a file and read into AnimateCamera using FileList.

Loop control modules such as For, Trigger, While, and Repeat allow the generation of a sequence of parameters to drive, for example, automatic isosurface calculation using the IsosurfaceLat module.

WriteAnimation writes incoming 2D lattices into a single 3D image in FIT format, which is defined and used by the IRIS ImageVision Library. This format is accepted by SGI moviemaker in which it can be edited and saved in movie format which is accepted by SGI movieplayer. This forms flip book animation.

The module pair WriteMovie and ReadMovie allow an SGI movie file of concatenated images to be written out and read back in frame by frame. When used in conjunction with the loop control constructs this allows flipbook animation of images.

A suite of modules is available to control an external video recorder connected to a hardware video board. The hardware supported includes the VideoLab Board, Starter Video, VFR and VC and the options available are frame rate, timing and output format, all of which can all be set from the VideoDevice module.

The VideoControl module controls an external video device and has support for V-LAN as well as VC and VFr. There are 3 modules designed to work with the Starter Video board, VideoStarterIn, VideoStarterInWin and VideoStarterOut:

There are similar versions of VideoStarterInWin and VideoStarterOut for the VideoLab board called VideoLabInWin and VideoLabOut with only slightly different options.

Review of Visualisation Systems
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