High-level API overview
The Python programming interface gives you programmatic access to most of OVITO’s program features. Using Python scripts, you can perform many of the things you know from the interactive user interface (and even more):
Import from and export data to simulation files
Use modifiers to set up a data processing pipeline
Render images or movies of the three-dimensional scene
Access result data computed by an analysis pipeline
Write your own data modification functions
OVITO’s data pipeline architecture
If you have worked with OVITO’s graphical user interface before, you should already be familiar with the data pipeline concept: After loading a simulation file into the program, you typically build up a data pipeline by applying one or more modifiers that act on the data in some way. The result of this sequence of modifiers is dynamically computed and displayed in the interactive viewports of OVITO.
The Python interface of OVITO lets you construct data pipelines in the same way by setting up a sequence of
modifiers and configuring their parameters. The data pipeline is represented by an instance of the
Pipeline Python class, which manages
the list of applied modifiers. Furthermore, a data pipeline always has some type of data source, which is a separate object providing or generating
the input data that will be passed to the pipeline’s first modifier. Typically, the data source is an instance of the
FileSource class, which is responsible for loading the data from an external simulation file.
If you want to visualize the results of a
Pipeline, you need to place the pipeline into
the scene, i.e. the three-dimensional space that is visible in rendered images.
Only pipelines that have explicitly been inserted into the current scene by calling the
will show up in rendered images or OVITO’s interactive viewports.
Note that this happens automatically in the graphical user interface of OVITO, but you need to do it explicitly when using the
Python scripting interface.
The scene, including all explicitly inserted pipelines and other state information that would get saved along in a
.ovito file, is represented
Scene Python class. A script always runs in the context of one current
which is accessible through the
ovito.scene global variable.
Importing data from disk
from ovito.io import import_file pipeline = import_file("simulation.dump")
This high-level function creates a new
and wires it to a
FileSource, which will take care of loading the data
from the given input file into memory. The
FileSource object is accessible through the pipeline’s
>>> print(pipeline.source) <FileSource at 0x7f9ea70aefb0>
FileSource may be reconfigured to load a different input file if desired,
allowing you to replace the original input of the pipeline with new data. This is useful if you intend to batch-process a
number of simulation files, reusing the same processing pipeline. The File I/O section gives
more details on how to import and export data using the scripting interface.
Pipeline created by the
import_file() function contains no modifiers.
That means it will simply pass through the original, unmodified data loaded by the
FileSource from disk.
We can change this by inserting some modifiers into the pipeline’s
from ovito.modifiers import * pipeline.modifiers.append(ColorCodingModifier(property = 'Potential Energy')) pipeline.modifiers.append(SliceModifier(normal = (0,0,1)))
Modifiers are constructed by instantiating one of the built-in modifier classes, which are
all contained in the
ovito.modifiers Python module. Note how a modifier’s parameters can be initialized in two different ways:
When creating a new object such as an OVITO modifier, you can directly initialize its parameters by passing keyword arguments to the constructor function. Thus
is equivalent to assigning the values to the parameter fields one by one after constructing the object:
modifier = CommonNeighborAnalysisModifier() modifier.cutoff = 3.2 modifier.only_selected = True pipeline.modifiers.append(modifier)
Obviously, the first method of initializing the parameters is more convenient and is the recommended way whenever the parameter values are known at construction time of the object.
Keep in mind that it is possible to change the parameters of modifiers in a pipeline at any time, or to remove modifiers from a pipeline again. This option is useful if you want to sequentially process the input data in multiple different ways. Alternatively, you can also set up multiple data pipelines, all sharing the same data source or even some of the modifiers. The Data pipelines section provides more information on working with data pipelines and modifiers.
Exporting data to disk
from ovito.io import export_file export_file(pipeline, "outputdata.dump", "lammps/dump", columns = ["Position.X", "Position.Y", "Position.Z", "Structure Type"])
export_file() function takes the output filename and the desired format as arguments, in addition
Pipeline generating the data to be exported.
Furthermore, depending on the selected format, additional keyword arguments such as the list of particle properties to
export must be provided. See the documentation of the
export_file() function and this section
for more information.
Accessing computation results
Instead of directly piping the computation results to an output file, you can also request the pipeline
to return a
DataCollection object, which represents the output data leaving the pipeline:
data = pipeline.compute()
compute() method performs two things: It first requests the input data from
the pipeline’s data source. Then, it lets all modifiers of the pipeline act on the data, one by one. The final data state
is returned to the caller as a
DataCollection, which essentially is a heterogeneous container storing
a set of data objects that each represent different parts of a dataset:
>>> data.objects [SimulationCell(), Particles(), AttributeDataObject(), AttributeDataObject()]
In the example above, the
DataCollection.objects list contains a
Particles object, and several global attribute objects, which were either loaded from the source data file
of the pipeline or which were generated on the fly by modifiers in the pipeline.
DataCollection class provides various fields for accessing particular kinds of data objects,
for example, the
cell field returns the
storing the simulation cell vectors and position of the cell origin as a matrix:
>>> print(data.cell[...]) [[ 148.147995 0. 0. -74.0739975 ] [ 0. 148.07200623 0. -74.03600311] [ 0. 0. 148.0756073 -74.03780365]]
>>> print(data.particles.positions[...]) [[ 73.24230194 -5.77583981 -0.87618297] [-49.00170135 -35.47610092 -27.92519951] [-50.36349869 -39.02569962 -25.61310005] ..., [ 42.71210098 59.44919968 38.6432991 ] [ 42.9917984 63.53770065 36.33330154] [ 44.17670059 61.49860001 37.5401001 ]]
The Particles section provides more information on this topic.
Accessing a pipeline’s input data
Sometimes it may be necessary to access the original data that enters a pipeline.
The input data is read from the input file by the pipeline’s
This object also provides a
compute() method returning a
input_data = pipeline.source.compute() output_data = pipeline.compute()
Rendering images and movies
As mentioned earlier, to visualize data it is necessary to add the
Pipeline to the three-dimensional scene.
This is done by invoking its
add_to_scene() method, typically right after creating a new pipeline:
pipeline = import_file("simulation.dump") pipeline.add_to_scene()
Furthermore, to render an image or a movie, a
Viewport object is required, which defines the viewpoint from which
the scene is seen:
from ovito.vis import Viewport vp = Viewport() vp.type = Viewport.Type.Perspective vp.camera_pos = (-100, -150, 150) vp.camera_dir = (2, 3, -3) vp.fov = math.radians(60.0)
Viewport’s parameters control the position and orientation of the virtual camera, the type of projection (perspective or parallel),
and the field of view (FOV) angle. To automatically position the camera such that all objects in the scene are fully visible, you may call
Viewport.render_image() method must be called to render an image and save it to disk:
Note that as part of the rendering process, all pipelines that have been inserted into the current scene will automatically be evaluated.
The following sections provide more information on various aspects of OVITO’s Python scripting interface: