EC - Alternative Paths

So far, it was only possible to save simulation data under a single location specified in the “Export Central” dialogue under “Path”. With RealFlow 2014 this has changed and now you are able to specify different targets. This comes in very handy when you have limited resources on a drive with a risk of an overflow. Previously, in a situation like this, RealFlow continued with the simulation, but did not store any data.

Alternative paths must point to a different partition or drive. The reason is simply that, if it points to the drive/location, where the project file is located, you will get an overflow error when the disk is full.

To bypass this problem, you can now define several alternative paths. The workflow is pretty much straight-forward:

  • Click on the “Alternative Paths” button in the “Export Central” dialogue.

  • Add Path” opens a file browser where you can select a (network) volume or a directory.

  • Confirm with “OK” and repeat the second step if you want to add more locations.

  • Click on “Accept” to store the paths.

 

Please bear in mind that the default location under “Path” is still valid on the primary volume. Only if this drive is out of space RealFlow will use the alternative paths in the specified order. To change this order, open the “Alternative Paths” dialogue again and select the path you want to modify. Then, click on “Move Up” or “Move Down” to change the path's rank.

A path can be deleted from the list with the “Remove Path” button.


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It is also possible to determine how RealFlow should behave when a write error occurs when a disk is running out of space. Under Preferences > Simulation (General) > Stop simulation on write error you can tell RealFlow what should happen in that case. You should enable this feature when you export Alembic data, because RealFlow might crash when there is no space left to store the ABC files.

How the Files Are Stored

When the files are stored in an alternative location RealFlow will create the same folder as in the project's directories: particles will be stored in a “particles” folder, meshes under “meshes”, and so on. But, please always bear in mind that RealFlow does not use the project's name. In other words: there will be no copy of the current project's directory – only the subfolders are created. This also means that already existing files and data might be overwritten if another project points to the same drive and contains nodes with identical names, e.g. “Circle01”.

This is of particular importance with batch simulations. Imagine a stack of simulation where you only want to tweak a single parameter, e.g. a “Square” emitter's viscosity, but the rest of the scene remains the same. If you did not define different alternative paths for each scene RealFlow will always use the same disk and folders to store the content when you run out of disk space. In this case, all previously simulated data will be overwritten and only the last simulation pass will be available.

Alternative Paths and RealFlow's “Cache” Mode

Of course, the files from the alternative locations are recognized by RealFlow and loaded when a node is in cache mode or a preview is created. The only exceptions are, if you removed an alternative path from the list in the meantime, or renamed a directory or volume.

 

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