Creating contour plots with lines for 3D objects in ParaView

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the transition between contour levels using a flood type contour.  In this situation adding lines at the contour level transition can make a plot more easily readable.  ParaView does not offer this feature directly, but this same effect can be obtain by using several tools together.

Step 1: Generate Surface Contour Plot

For instruction on how to do this see Exporting Restart Files for ParaView.  In this case the surface temperature is being plotted.

Step 2: Extract Surface from 3D Mesh

[Note: If you are already working with a 2D object such as a slice, i,j,k-plane, or an iso-surface then this step can be skipped]

The contour filter will be used to generate our curves defining the transition levels.  However, if it used directly on the 3D mesh then it will generate 3D iso-surfaces rather than iso-curves bounded on the surface.  To get this effect, the filter Extract Surface is used.  This filter is only available on ParaView 3.8 and newer.

Step 3: Create Contour Lines

Once extract surface is used and a shell of the 3d mesh is left, the contour filter should be applied.  In the section label iso-surfaces select Delete All and then New Range.  The data range entered here must be exactly the same as the value range used to generate the surface contour plot.  Additionally, the number of contours must be equal to the resolution from the surface contour plot plus one.  Select Ok after this has been set and then hit apply in the contour window.  The final step is to turn the original surface plot back on by clicking on the eyeball icon next to it and then changing the contour color to maximize contrast with the surface plot (black is generally the best choice.) 

George Fan
Date Created
2013-06-23 06:17:32
Date Updated
2013-06-23 06:18:26