Visual elements

OVITO distinguishes between the underlying data and the visual representations produced from that data. One typical example for this separation between data objects and their visual representation is the Position particle property, which holds the XYZ coordinates of a set of point-like particles. To visualize this data, OVITO automatically creates a visual element of the Particles type, which is responsible for rendering a corresponding set of spheres in the viewports, using the Position particle property as input data. The Particles visual element provides several parameters that let you control the visual appearance of the particles, e.g. the glyph shape (spheres, discs, cubes, etc.).

This separation of data objects and visual elements provides additional flexibility with OVITO. It becomes possible to visualize the same data in multiple ways (several visual elements using the same input data) and to visualize multiple datasets side by side (one visual element rendering different input data objects).

Visual elements are usually created automatically by OVITO's data pipeline system alongside with the imported or computed data. They all appear under the "Visual elements" section of the pipeline editor as indicated in the screenshot. You can disable individual visual elements by un-ticking the checkboxes next to them in the pipeline editor. This will turn off the visualization of the corresponding data in the interactive viewports and in rendered images.

The following types of visual elements exist in OVITO:

Visual elementDescription
ParticlesRenders a set of particles using different glyph shapes
BondsRenders the bonds between particles as cylinders
VectorsRenders arrow glyphs to graphically represent a vector particle property
Simulation cellRenders the simulation box as a wireframe geometry
Surface meshRenders a smooth polygonal surface mesh
Triangle meshRenders a triangle mesh loaded from a mesh geometry file
Voxel gridRenders a voxel grid
Trajectory linesRenders a set of continuous lines to visualize the particle trajectories created with the Generate trajectory lines modifier
DislocationsRenders dislocation lines extracted by the Dislocation analysis modifier