Feature Focus

June 6, 2011

The art of generating good models is a keen understanding of the tradeoffs between accuracy and performance. A common mistake for beginners is to create models that are overly complicated. A good "rule of thumb" when modeling is to start simple, generate some initial results, and then add in complexity where required to make the final results relevant.

One of the simplest ways to reduce model complexity is in the geometry. A two-dimensional region with hundreds or thousands of points will result in a mesh with hundreds of nodes, as one of the requirements of the finite-element method is that every region point must also be a node in the final output. Region points that add no information simply waste calculation time, increase the output file size, and make visualization of the results harder to understand. To address this, SVOffice™ 2009 includes a line simplification tool that uses standard algorithms to locate and remove unnecessary detail from your geometry, without changing the overall shape.

Consider the following simple example:

Original geometry, region points highlighted

Geometry after line simplification

Each point is tested and is only removed if its effect on the model falls below a user-specified tolerance, specified as a percentage of the overall model dimensions.

Here are the steps to access this feature:

  • Open the model to be modified,
  • Select Model > Geometry > Tools > Line Simplification...,
  • Select a line simplification method and a tolerance (or use the defaults),
  • Use the Highlight button to identify potential problem points to be addressed, either manually or automatically,
  • Use the Generate button to remove geometry points based on the chosen algorithm and tolerance.

Here is a more complex example. Notice that the "highlight" feature is used after simplification to identify problem spots that require manual editing. In this way, "holes" in the model geometry can be located without resorting to trial and error.

Original model with overly detailed geometry

Simplified geometry, with potential trouble spots highlighted

Please contact us directly for more information on this feature, or feel free to download the student version of our software and try it out!

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