About Vizir

Vizir is a light, simple and interactive mesh visualization software, including :

  1. A curved meshes visualizator: it handles high order elements and solutions;
  2. Hybrid elements mesh visualization (pyramids, prisms, hexahedra);
  3. Solutions visualization : clip planes, capping, iso-lines, iso-surfaces.

Installing Vizir

On Linux

Vizir appImage for Linux (tested with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS) can be downloaded here.
Save the executable and add the following line to your ~/.bashrc file:

alias vizir='/path/to/vizir.appImage'

Make sure that the appImage is in executable mode by entering the following command:

$ chmod +x /path/to/vizir.appImage

Open a new terminal window, Vizir can now be launched by entering the command below:

$ vizir

On Mac

Vizir DMG for Mac (tested with MacOS Sierra and High Sierra) can be downloaded here.
Mount the .dmg and copy the application (e.g. the vizir.app file generated) in your Applications directory.
Add the following line to your ~/.bash_profile file:

alias vizir='/Applications/vizir.app/Contents/MacOS/vizir'

Open a new terminal window, Vizir can now be launched by entering the command below:

$ vizir

On Windows

Vizir archive for Windows (tested with Windows 10) can be downloaded here.
Extract the archive, double-click on vizir.exe to launch vizir.
A mesh can be loaded by doing:

File > Open Mesh

And choosing the wanted mesh.

Handling meshes

File format

Vizir imports meshes stored in .mesh or .meshb files. Files ending by .mesh are ASCII files, and thus need more time to load than .meshb binary files. More information about this format can be found at: https://github.com/LoicMarechal/libMeshb.

To import a mesh from the command line:

$ vizir -in FILENAME.mesh(b)

Element and mesh types

Vizir handles several mesh types that are categorized and described in the next lines. Surface geometries can be meshed using either triangles or quadrilaterals, whereas volume geometries can be meshed using hexahedron, tetrahedron, prisms or pyramids. Each mesh element can be implemented using P 1 interpolation or higher order. Each surface and volume element is defined by a set of points and edges:

  • straight edges if P 1;
  • curved edges if P 2 or higher order;

In Vizir, each item has its own referencing system. This is illustrated in the next pictures:

P 1 edge

P 2 edge

P 1 triangle

P 2 triangle

Q 1 quadrilateral

Q 2 quadrilateral

Q 1 hexahedron

Q 2 hexahedron

P 1 tetrahedron

P 2 tetrahedron



 Vizir handles three types of meshes: adapted, hybrid and curved. Hybrid meshes are made of several types of elements, as illustrated in the figure below:

Hybrid mesh made of pyramids, hexahedron and tetrahedron

Hiding/displaying elements and surfaces

In order to hide an element, select it with Shift + left mouse and press x. To display hidden elements just press X. A similar thing can be done with whole surfaces: first select an element of the surface you want to hide with Shift + left mouse and then hit s. To show the last surface that has been hidden hit S.

Clip planes

Setting a clip plane through a volume can be achieved via the F1 and F2 meta keys. To enable/disable a cut view press F1 . To enter/quit the clip plane editor press F2. When this editor is enabled you can see a frame showing up around the geometry. The following commands are available from this editor:

  1. Translate the plane in the direction of its normal by pressing the middle button of the mouse and by displacing it;
  2. Orientate the plane by pressing the left button of the mouse and by displacing it;

An other option to set a clip plane is to use the dedicated widget:

Window > Open & Tools > Mesh Visualization > Clip Planes

Initial mesh

Translating the clip plane

Rotating the clip plane

Once a satisfying view has been obtained, the clipped volume elements can be shown by pressing v. In order to get a flat surface, these elements can be projected on the clip plane by pressing C.

Initial view of the clip plane

Displaying clipped volume elements

Projection on the plane


A mini-mesh can be described as a subset of the global mesh. It is a convenient way to focus on a small region of the whole geometry, especially if many mesh elements are used to discretize it. To create a mini-mesh, select an element with Shift + left mouse , and then click on the right button of your mouse and select Mini mesh.

Initially, the mini-mesh is made of one element — the one you selected. To extend the mini-mesh to its direct neighbors press +. To shrink the mini-mesh by removing the most exterior elements, press -.

Global mesh


Searching entities

Click on P to see all the nodes with their references. If there are too many nodes you may want to focus on an area by creating a mini-mesh, or you can create a clip plane and display the volume entities clipped by the plane.

To search a specific entity by its reference, first select the wanted type in the below toolbox (fourth field from left to right), type the reference number in the search bar just on the right and hit Enter.

Applying solutions to the mesh

Similarly to meshes, solutions can be loaded from .sol or .solb files. To apply a solution to the current mesh, click on the right button of your mouse and select Select solution . Click on m to show/hide the solution and the associated colormap. More options such as isolines or isosurfaces are available under:

Window > Open & Tools > Solution Inspector

States and views

In Vizir a state designates the following set of attributes:

  • viewing position and angle;
  • hidden surfaces;
  • solution over each item;
  • colormap status (on/off), color of the edges and surfaces;
  • Vertex/reference status (hidden/displayed);
  • clip planes, status of the clipped elements (hidden/displayed/projected on the plane);

Once a good image has been obtained, the corresponding state can be saved. Then the same configuration can be achieved quickly on other meshes by loading the aforesaid state. This can be useful to create a movie, since it would require to capture images from the same viewpoint at each iteration.

Saving states

To save the states in a .state file there are two steps to follow:

Step 1 : First save the current state as you manipulate the mesh with:

Save/Load > State > Save Current State

You can save several “current states” in a row.

Step 2 : When you have finished you can save your current states all at once in a file by doing:

Save/Load > State > Save States in File > FILENAME.state

Loading states from file

To load a state from a .state file do:

Save/Load > State > Load States in File

Then you can chose which state to activate by selecting one in the below toolbox (first field from left to right).


Vizir also implements the concept of views. A view is similar to a state, however it holds information only regarding the viewing position and angle. Thus loading a view will only change the viewpoint.

To save/load views the process is the same as for states, the only difference being the .view extension that is used by default.


Vizir offers shortcuts allowing for a fast interaction through the keyboard and the mouse. These shortcuts are summarized in the following tables.

Mouse interaction

Keyboard shortcuts




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