ParaView/Users Guide/CAVE Display

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( NOTE: This page is currently undergoing changes.)


  • ParaView has basic support for visualization in CAVE-like/VR or Virtual Environments (VE).
  • Like typical computing systems, VE's consists of peripheral displays (output) and input devices. However, unlike regular systems, VE's keep track of the physical location of their IO devices with respect to an assumed base coordinates in the physical room (room coordinates).
  • Typically VE's consists of multiple stereoscopic displays that are configured based on the room coordinates. These base coordinates also typically serve as the reference coordinate for tracked inputs commonly found in VE's.
  • VR support in ParaView includes the ability to
 1) Configure displays (CAVE/Tiled Walls etc) and 
 2) The ability to configure inputs from VRPN/VRUI servers.

Configuring Displays

  • ParaView can operate in a Client / Server fashion. The VR/CAVE module leverage this by assigning different processes on the server to manage different displays. Displays are thus configured on the server side by passing a *.pvx configuration XML file during start-up.

Configure Inputs

  • Configuring inputs is a two step process
 1) Define connections to one or more VRPN/VRUI servers.
 2) Mapping data coming in from the server to ParaView interactor styles.
  • The client acts as a central point of control. It can initiate the scene (visualization pipeline) and also relay tracked interactions to each server process managing the displays. The VR plugin on the client side enables this. Device and interaction style configurations are brought in through the ParaView state file (This will also have a GUI component in the near future).

Prerequisites for Compiling

Follow regular build instructions from In addition following steps needs to be performed

  • VRPN needs to be installed on the client side.
  • MPI needs to be installed on the server side.
  • Make sure to enable BUILD_SHARED_LIB, PARAVIEW_USE_MPI and PARAVIEW_BUILD_PLUGIN_VRPlugin when building for CAVE support.
  • Consequently, VRPN_INCLUDE_DIR , VRPN_LIBRARY and VRPN_QUAT_LIBRARY should also be set.

Structure of Display Config File

<source lang="xml"> <?xml version="1.0" ?> <pvx>

 <Process Type="server|dataserver|renderserver">
   <Machine name="hostname"
            LowerLeft="-1.0 -1.0 -1.0"
            LowerRight="1.0 -1.0 -1.0"
            UpperRight="1.0  1.0 -1.0">

</pvx> </source>

Example Config

  • The following example is for a six sided cave with origin at (0,0,0):

<source lang="xml"> <?xml version="1.0" ?> <pvx>

<Process Type="client" />
<Process Type="server">
 <Machine Name="Front"
          LowerLeft=" -1 -1 -1"
          LowerRight=" 1 -1 -1"
          UpperRight=" 1  1 -1" />
 <Machine Name="Right"
          LowerLeft="  1 -1 -1"
          LowerRight=" 1 -1  1"
          UpperRight=" 1  1  1" />
 <Machine Name="Left"
          LowerLeft=" -1 -1  1"
          LowerRight="-1 -1 -1"
          UpperRight="-1  1 -1"/>
 <Machine Name="Top"
          LowerLeft=" -1  1 -1"
          LowerRight=" 1  1 -1"
          UpperRight=" 1  1  1"/>
 <Machine Name="Bottom"
          LowerLeft=" -1 -1  1"
          LowerRight=" 1 -1  1"
          UpperRight=" 1 -1 -1"/>
 <Machine Name="Back"
          LowerLeft="  1 -1  1"
          LowerRight="-1 -1  1"
          UpperRight="-1  1  1"/>

</pvx> </source>

  • A sample PVX is provided in ParaView/Documentation/cave.pvx. This can be used to play with different display configurations.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • PVX file should be specified as the last command line argument for any of the server processes.
  • The PVX file is typically specified for all the executables whose environment is being changed using the PVX file. In case of data-server/render-server configuration, if you are setting up the environment for the two processes groups, then the PVX file must be passed as a command line option to both the executables: pvdataserver and pvrenderserver.
  • When running in parallel the file is read on all nodes, hence it must be present on all nodes.

Basic Steps for a Successful Setup

  • On a terminal run the server (For example we want to run 6 processes each driving one display in the cave. Change the number of process according to the number of displays).
 # PV_ICET_WINDOW_BORDERS=1 mpiexec -np 6 ./pvserver  /path/to/ConfigFile.pvx

Note: PV_ICET_WINDOW_BORDERS=1 disables the full-screen mode and instead opens up a 400x400 window. Remove this environment variable to work in full-screen mode.

  • Open another terminal to run the client. (note: this client connects to the server which open up 6 windows according to the config given in cave.pvx). Change the stereo-type according to preference (see # ./paraview --help).
 # ./paraview --stereo --stereo-type=Anaglyph --server=localhost
  • --server=localhost connects the client to the server.
  • Enable the VRPlugin on the client.
  • Load the state specifying VRPN or VRUI client connection and interaction styles.