Install the POSTPROCESS module

This is an optional unit that can be used to export scripts for postprocessing simulation data. For example, it can generate files that can be load in Blender for high quality photorealistic rendering, or in the POVray rendering tool. It is also used to output files for GNUplot.

Read the introduction to modules for a technical background on the modularity of the Chrono project.


The POSTPROCESS module is used to export data for batch rendering of animations etc.

Here are the main features:

  • Blender:
    • exports files that can be load in Blender using the add-in
    • converts the ChVisualization assets into Blender objects
    • using the Blender GUI, one can add more objects, or modify the imported ones by attaching additional textures etc.
    • the camera can be attached to moving objects
    • advanced functionalities for exporting scalar or vector fields attached to ChTriangleMeshConnected or to finite elements,
      rendered via falsecolor maps
    • renders object reference frames, contacts, joint references
    • etc.
  • POVray:
    • converts the ChVisualization assets that one has attached to rigid bodies into rendering primitives for POVray.
    • uses the same ChVisualization assets that one can use for the real-time visualization with the Irrlicht interface
    • allows the introduction of custom POV-specific statements
    • the camera can be attached to moving objects
    • contacts can be rendered in POVray as colored vectors and points
    • etc.
  • GNUplot:
    • create graphs using GNUPLOT.
    • launches gnuplot automatically from c++
    • creates .gpl scripts automatically from c++ with easy functions
    • save plots on disk as .EPS or .PNG or other formats.

In future we plan to support also other type of rendering software, because the architecture of this system is not limited to POVray.


  • To run applications based on this unit, there are no requirements. Note however that you may want to
    • install Blender to load and render the output files if you are interested in the POVray output,
    • install POVray to load and render the output files if you are interested in the POVray output,
    • install GNUPLOT to display plots if you are interested in the GNUPLOT output.
  • To build applications based on this unit there are no requirements.

Building instructions

This unit corresponds to an additional shared library, called ChronoEngine_postprocess, that can be linked to your application if you want to use it. The file extension will be .dll for Win and .so on Linux.

  1. Repeat the instructions for the full installation, but when you see the CMake window, you must add the following steps:
  2. Set the ENABLE_MODULE_POSTPROCESS as 'on', then press 'Configure' (to refresh the variable list)
  3. Press 'Configure' again, then 'Generate', and proceed as usual in the installation instructions.

When you will rebuild the project, you could find demo_POST_xxxx in the binary directory, among other default demos.

How to use it

Please mind that, in order to use Blender or POVray or GNUPLOT, these have to be installed and their environmental variables set properly.

  • Look at the API section of this module for documentation about classes and functions.
  • Look at the C++ source of demos to learn how to use the functions of this module.