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Table of Contents


Tecplot Chorus provides a robust framework for managing CFD projects, such as parametric studies, that require multiple simulation cases with tools to evaluate the results. You can evaluate overall system performance and visually compare tens or thousands of simulation cases in a single environment, helping you make decisions faster and with more confidence than ever before.

Before You Start the Tutorials

Before beginning a tutorial from this guide, we suggest you read through Chapters 1 and 2 of the User’s Manual to introduce yourself to the Tecplot Chorus user interface and familiarize yourself with the product’s basic concepts of operation. It may be helpful to have Tecplot Chorus open while reading these chapters so you can experiment a little.

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Covers the Tecplot Chorus workspace, the menu bar and global toolbar, context menus and toolbars, and sidebars. Reading this chapter will orient you to the main user interface controls of Tecplot Chorus, making it easier to find what you’re looking for when you are working on the tutorial.

Chapter 2 - Projects

Covers the Welcome Screen, Project basics, variable properties, and directory management. You will get practice with many of these concepts in the pages that follow. You may want to review Chapter 2 again after completing the tutorial.

Tutorials In This Guide

This Getting Started Guide is divided into tutorials, each of which contains one or more exercises covering various aspects of the topic at hand. In general, you should go through them in order, as the early tutorials tend to explain concepts in more detail than later ones. However, once you have some familiarity with Tecplot Chorus and Tecplot 360 EX, you can skip around if you like.

The tutorials are:

A Virtual Tour

Uses a data set included with Tecplot Chorus to explore its various features. A good overview of the most-used Tecplot Chorus features.

SO2 Plume Migration Study

Uses an industrial CFD simulation involving sulfur dioxide concentrations as an introduction to how you might use Tecplot Chorus in the real world.

Electronic Actuator Optimization

An optimization study involving the design of an electronic actuator used in aircraft. Shows you how to use constraint visualization to help you find the "sweet spot" in your design space.

All of the datasets can be downloaded in the Chorus Getting Started Bundle.

Dive in and master the view!

A Virtual Tour

Tecplot Chorus provides a robust framework for managing CFD projects, such as parametric studies, that require multiple simulation cases with tools to evaluate the results. You can evaluate overall system performance and visually compare tens or thousands of simulation cases in a single environment, helping you make decisions faster and with more confidence than ever before.

This tutorial will take you on a tour of Tecplot Chorus’s most important visualization features, including:

  • Opening a project

  • The project views available in Tecplot Chorus

  • Viewing images and data associated with cases in a project

What you should be doing during this tour is playing with the features as we introduce them. We’ll tell you what they do and what they’re for, but getting your hands on the product is the best way to become familiar with how it feels to work with it. You’ll be working only with sample data that’s included with your copy of Tecplot Chorus, so don’t worry about messing up or erasing anything. The data can also be downloaded in the Chorus Getting Started Bundle.

Opening a Project

We’ll open an example project included with Tecplot Chorus. The example projects are stored in the sampledata folder in your Tecplot Chorus installation.

  1. Start Tecplot Chorus. The Welcome Screen appears.


    The Welcome Screen on a fresh install of Tecplot Chorus lists the example projects under Recent Projects. If "Example 1" is listed, simply click it to open the project and skip the next step. If Example 1 is not listed, continue with the next step.

  2. Choose File → Open Project., navigate to the sampledata folder inside your Tecplot Chorus installation folder, and open the file example1.chprj.

    The project only takes a second to open; then the Tecplot Chorus Welcome Screen disappears and a Table View of the project appears.

    example1 table

    Other views can be opened using the View menu or buttons on the toolbar. Don’t open anything yet, though; we’ll get to that soon enough.

    chorus toolbar view buttons

What’s in a project?

Each simulation you run with a different combination of input parameters (or independent variables) results in its own record in Tecplot Chorus, referred to as a case.

For each case, Tecplot Chorus keeps track of the simulation’s inputs (independent variables) and outputs (dependent variables) along with optional informational fields you provide and any associated image or data files. Since these pieces of information are "data about data" (where the solution files generated by the simulation are the actual data), they are sometimes collectively referred to as metadata.

For now, let’s just look at an existing project and see how it’s laid out.

Exploring the Table View

The Table View appears immediately when you open a project. You may also open a Table View at any time by clickingtableon the toolbar or by choosing View → New Table View. Here it is again (this time without the other parts of the Chorus workspace to distract you).

table view

The Table View is the least interesting view from a visual standpoint, but it is incredibly useful for looking at the project’s actual numbers. And of course, it’s already open, since we just opened the project, so it’s where we’ll start.

Each row in a Table View represents a single case associated with a unique combination of input values. Poke around a bit and you can see that:

  • Each case is represented as a row, and the values associated with it are represented as columns. Each case has the same set of variables.

  • Tecplot Chorus assigns each case a numeric Case ID. The first Case ID is 1, and each new case imported is assigned the next number higher. This can be useful shorthand when discussing a particular case with others.

  • We can easily tell that there are 191 cases in the project, because the highest Case ID is 191. (Scroll down to the bottom to see.)

  • Besides the Case ID, there are seven additional columns, labeled "Mach No.," "Alpha," "Beta," "# Iterations," "Lift Coef.," "Drag Coef", and "Pitch Mom. Coef." You may need to scroll right to see all of them. Each column represents a variable.

    Aerospace engineers will recognize the first three as common independent variables (inputs to a simulation) and the others as likely dependent variables (outputs from the simulation).

  • There are subtle tick marks at the top of each cell. These indicate where each cell’s value falls within the range of the variable in the project, with the left edge representing the minimum value of the variable and the right edge representing the maximum. As you scroll down in the table, then, the tick mark in the Case ID cells moves predictably from left to right. Check out how it moves in other columns, which are not necessarily in order.

  • If you’ve been playing with the filters, you may see shading in some columns, or some of the values being displayed in red rather than in black, to help visualize the effects of the filters. The shading represents the proportion of low and high values being filtered out. A value is colored red if it violates the column’s filter.

table view detail

It is also possible for a project to include variables that are informational in nature, rather than being inputs or outputs. These might record the date, the identity of the engineer who ran the simulation, what cluster it ran on, and similar housekeeping information. This example project doesn’t have any such variables.

It’s also possible to append additional cases and variables to a project, and also to calculate variables within Tecplot Chorus. (See Chapter 2 in the Tecplot Chorus User’s Manual for more details.)

You can sort the table in ascending order on a variable by clicking a column header. Clicking the same header a second time sorts in descending order. This makes it easy to determine the range of any variable in the project. Try it out!

There’s a view similar to the Table View that shows only the selected cases. You can show it by choosing Selected Cases from the View menu. It’s particularly useful for seeing the values of cases you’ve selected in other views.

Exploring the Matrix View

The Matrix View lets you visually sift through the cases in your project using image thumbnails associated with some or all of the cases in the project. Rows, columns, and optionally pages can be assigned to represent any variable in the project.

To open a new Matrix View, choose View → New Matrix View, or click matrix view in the toolbar. The Matrix View appears next to or partially on top of the initial Table View, depending on how much room is available in the Tecplot Chorus workspace.

Managing Windows

Each time you click a toolbar button to open a view or plot, Tecplot Chorus opens a new view or plot of that type, even if you already have one open. Tecplot Chorus tries to position the new window so that you can see at least parts of some of your other windows, but there isn’t always room.

If, when you open a window, that plot covers an existing window, the existing window is still there, but hidden. Don’t worry that you have "lost" a plot you have painstakingly set up when you open a new one; the old plot’s still there behind the new one.

Click the tile button in the toolbar to display all open windows in a grid, making it easier to find the one you want.

In our initial view (yours may be different depending on how you’ve sized the Tecplot Chorus window), only a few image thumbnails are visible.

example1 table matrix

If your screen is small, you might want to maximize the window so it uses all of the workspace, then use the Zoom slider in the lower right corner of the window to make the thumbnails as small as possible, so you can see more of the cells in the Matrix View. You should be able to fit most or all of them in, like this:

example1 matrix

At this point, you can see:

  • Some cells in the matrix are blank. In the example project, some of these are missing cases—simulations that haven’t been run. Real projects will often be even more sparse.

    Another reason a matrix cell might be blank is that none of the cases that belong in that cell have an image associated with them. This isn’t the situation in the example project, however.

  • Tecplot Chorus has assigned the variables Mach No. and Alpha to the rows and columns of the matrix, respectively. You can change these variables.

  • Each discrete value of each variable gets its own row or column.

Try clicking on some cases. If you can still see the Table View you already opened, you will notice that when you click a cell in the Matrix View, the corresponding row in the Table View, if it happens to be visible, is highlighted. In Tecplot Chorus, selecting a case in one view selects it in all views. You can open a special, dockable Table View that shows only the currently selected cases by choosing View → Selected Cases.

It is possible to select multiple cases in the Matrix View. Try clicking the row or column headers instead of just on the matrix cells, and also try holding down Control, Shift, or both while you click cells or headers. See if you can figure out:

  1. The quickest way to select just columns 0.2, 1.2, and 1.8

    Answer: Click the header for column 0.2, then hold down the Control key while clicking the headers for col­umns 1.2 and 1.8.

  2. The quickest way to select the last three rows.

    Answer: Click the last row’s header, then hold Shift while clicking the third-to-last header.

Matrix View Properties

properties matrix

The Properties panel in the Tecplot Chorus sidebar lets you choose the options for the Matrix View. You’ll probably find this at the left of the Tecplot Chorus workspace. If the Properties panel is not already open, choose View → Properties to open it.

Each open view or plot has its own properties, even if the views are of the same type. If you have more than one Matrix View open, for example, each Matrix View has its own properties, which are completely independent of any other Matrix View’s properties.

Whither the Table View Properties?

We skipped over the properties for Table Views because there’s only one setting in it, and it has to do with filtering, a topic we don’t cover in this lesson.

If you explore the Matrix View Properties for a few moments, you will discover:

  • You can change the variable used for the rows and columns in the matrix. Try Mach No. against Alpha, then Alpha against Beta.

  • You can choose a third variable for paging. Since you’re now using Alpha and Beta for the rows and columns, try choosing Mach No. as the paging variable, then flip among the pages using the slider in the Properties panel.

  • You can use the four dependent variables as rows, columns, and pages too! Usually this isn’t very useful; most of the time there are many different discrete values of dependent variables in a project, so you’d end up with a lot of rows or columns for that variable, making your images very spread out and hard to work with. However, you might give "# Iterations" a try. Here it is with Mach No.

    matrix mach iterations

    Notice how some of the cells have a matrix multi image badge badge on them? This badge indicates that there are multiple cases that have the same value of the variables being represented as rows, columns, and pages, and that more than one of these cases have associated images. Hover over a thumbnail with a badge and you’ll see how many images are "stacked" in that cell via tooltip. The highlighted cell in the matrix represents seven images in total: the one whose thumbnail is shown, and six additional images.

    matrix tooltip

    In our example project, all the cases have images, so these seven images correspond to seven cases. Select the cell in the matrix and switch to the Table View (or open the Selected Cases view), and you can see that all seven of these cases are in fact selected.

  • The Show menu in the Properties panel shows only "Contour Image" as an option. Each case can have multiple images associated with it, although our sample project has only one kind of image. If there were multiple images associated with cases in the project, you could use this menu to choose which images you wanted to see as thumbnails in the matrix.

To review: Tecplot Chorus chooses thumbnails based on the variables you’ve chosen for the rows, columns, and optionally pages of the matrix. If multiple cases match these variables and have images, Tecplot Chorus chooses a representative case for the actual thumbnail display. You can turn on labels in the sidebar to see the value of unused variables, and you can use filtering to indirectly choose these values. We won’t talk about filtering in detail this lesson, but you might want to give it a try in the Filters sidebar.

Viewing Associated Images

Every thumbnail in the Matrix View represents one or more cases in your project—well, a case that has one or more images associated with it. (Cases that don’t have images look just as blank as cases that haven’t been run.) To view these images full-size from a Matrix View, follow this general procedure.

  1. Choose the type of image you want to view using the Show menu in the Properties sidebar. In our example project, only Contour Image is available.

    When your project has more than one type of image, you can view images of kinds other than that displayed in the Matrix View, but switching the matrix to show the kind of image you’re interested in will make it easier to find the cases that have those images.

  2. Select the case or cases for which you want to view the associated images.

    Don’t worry if you select some cases that don’t have an associated image (that is, cells that are blank in the matrix). Tecplot Chorus will ignore these when you tell it to view images.

  3. Click the right mouse button while pointing at a selected image and choose View Images. The images appear in a separate window.