By default, RealFlow opens with a “Single View”. This window shows a perspective view of the simulation space. The “Quad View” provides a split screen separated into four windows, showing a “Top View”, “Front View”, “Side View” and “Perspective View”. A fifth alternative is called “SceneCamera View” (shortcut: 5) and is only available with an imported camera or one of RealFlow’s cameras. You can easily toggle between 2D and 3D views either with the number keys (1-4) or the appropriate entry from the “View” menu. It is also possible to choose from different shading modes and display various information about the nodes, e.g. the amount of grid cells.
The viewport windows are fully customizable in terms of colours, background, information and size. Some of these settings have to be made under “Preferences”. Other options are, again, part of the “View” menu and will be explained there. These options include shading methods, switching perspective or background pictures, for example. Most of the viewport-related functions can also be accessed from the associated right-click menu.
Each viewport shows a domain with a colour gradient and a multi-coloured grid. This grid represents RealFlow’s world scale: a grid cell represents an area of 1 m x 1 m by default. This size is not only an assistance for you to adjust or align objects, it also allows you to estimate the real scale of your scene. This is important, because many of RealFlow’s settings are related to scales and dimensions. It also affects simulation time and the number of particles, because larger particle amounts take significantly longer to simulate. The grid’s scale is a kind of basic unit and all of RealFlow’s physical objects (emitters, bodies, RealWave meshes and even many daemon boundaries) are based on this size. Additionally, RealFlow’s dynamics engines, also called solvers, work best at this special scale or even-numbered multiples of it. Under “Preferences” you can alter the default grid size.
The layout also shows some basic scene information about the objects in your scene. This information is displayed on the upper left and contains things like number of particles, or a node’s name. The current point of view can be seen there as well. At the lower right of the active viewport you can see information about time. “TC” is the abbreviation for time code and is directly connected to the timeline. Please note that RealFlow’s default frame rate is 25 FPS, but this can be adjusted to your own needs. The time code format is:
hours : minutes : seconds : frame
“ST” represents simulation time and tells you for how long the current scene is calculating.
The viewports are fully controllable with combinations of keys and mouse movements. RealFlow’s viewports support OpenGL, a fast method to display, draw and shade objects. The 3D modes (“Perspective View” and “SceneCamera View”) have three degrees of freedom for changing the point of view: Panning, zooming and rotating. The 2D views (“Top”, “Front”, “Side”) are restricted to panning and zooming.
RealFlow's mouse control possibilities.
Updating the viewports is a very CPU intensive task and may take up to 30% of your processor’s capacity with slower graphic cards. Especially when you have large scenes with large particle amounts the simulation process might slow down tremendously. For these cases there are simple, yet effective methods to save CPU power:
- Use only one viewport while simulating, best is one of the 2D views.
- Minimize RealFlow’s entire workspace as much as possible.
- Click in an empty area of the viewport and then press Alt + D to deactivate the viewport. This is one of the most effective ways to accelerate your simulations!
- Use RealFlow’s “-nogui” (command line) mode for the simulation process.
- Uncheck the “Display at frames” option under "Preferences".
There are a few more shortcuts to alter perspective and display modes. These commands are also available from the "View" menu, and they are:
for “Front View”
for “Top View”
for “Side View”
for “Perspective View”
for “SceneCamera View”
for “Bounding Box”
for “Flat Shaded”
for “Smooth Shaded”