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Producing an animation of structural time-history response

Producing an animation of structural time-history response

Producing an animation of structural time-history response

Hi all,

I'm a structural engineering master student work on a seismic evaluation of a temple structure in Portugal. For the evaluation, I have created a 3D block model of the structure and will use a discrete element code to analyze the behaviour of the structure under a variety of seismic (earthquake) records. The software that I will use for the analysis has the ability to produce snapshots of the structure at regular intervals which can then be put together to make a movie of the response. However, producing the images slows down the analysis. Furthermore, since the pictures are 2D images from a specified angle, there is no possibility to rotate and view the response from other angles without re-running the model (a process that would take 3 days of computer time).

I am now looking for an alternative method for creating a movie of the response of the structure. What I want is a very lightweight solution, where I can just bring in the block model which I have and then produce the animation by feeding in the location and the three principal axis of each block at regular intervals to produce the animation on the fly. The blocks are described as prisms with the top and bottom planes defining all of the vertices. Since the model is produced as text files, I can modify the output so that it can be read and understood by the animation code. The model is composed of about 180 blocks with 24 vertices per block (so 4320 vertices). The location and three unit vectors describing the block axis are produced by the program and I can write them out in a way that I want.

The main issue is that the quality of the animation should be decent. If the system is vector based and allows for scaling, that would be great. I would like to be able to rotate the model in real time with simple mouse dragging without too much lag or other issues.

I have very limited time (in fact I am already very behind). That is why I wanted to ask the experts here so that I don't waste my time on something that will not work in the end. I have been using Rhino and Grasshopper to generate my model but I don't think it is the right tool for this purpose. I was thinking that Processing might be able to handle this but I don't have any experience with it. Another thing that I would like to be able to do is to maybe have a 3D PDF file for distribution. But I'm not sure if this can be done with 3D PDF.

Any insight or guidance is greatly appreciated.


RE: Producing an animation of structural time-history response

Hi Greg,

Thank you for your message. I'm waiting to get a trial for HyperView to see what it can do. However, while I'm waiting I was wondering if it can be used with external data that is not on the list of its interfaces. My analysis software is Itasca 3DEC which is discrete element modeling program.


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