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Smokeview (Version 6) - A Tool for Visualizing Fire Dynamics Simulation Data Volume II: Technical Reference Guide



Glenn P. Forney


Smokeview is a software tool designed to visualize numerical calculations generated by the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of fire-driven fluid flow. This report documents some of the algorithms Smokeview uses to visualize fire dynamics data giving some of the technical and programming details. Details on the use of Smokeview may be found in the Smokeview User’s Guide. Smokeview uses the 3D graphics library OpenGL to visualizing fire and smoke data. This library is used to specify the location, color and lighting of objects residing within a 3D world defined by FDS. In the context of FDS, these objects may be used to represent geometry (such as blockages) or to visualize data. Smokeview presents fire modeling data using visualization techniques such as tracer particles, 2D shaded contours, iso-surfaces or flow vectors. Soot data or smoke is visualized using a variation of the 2D shaded contour technique where transparency rather than color is used to represent the opacity or optical thickness of smoke. The details used to implement various techniques for visualizing smoke will be discussed.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1017-2
Report Number


CFD models, field models, fire simulation, scientific visualization, visualization


Forney, G. (2013), Smokeview (Version 6) - A Tool for Visualizing Fire Dynamics Simulation Data Volume II: Technical Reference Guide, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created August 28, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018