10. Axes Grid

Oftentimes, you want to render a reference grid in the backgroud for a visualization – think axes in a chart view, except this time we are talking of the 3D Render View . Such a grid is useful to get an understanding for the data bounds and placement in 3D space. In such cases, you use the Axes Grid . Axes Grid renders a 3D grid with labels around the rendered scene. In this chapter, we will take a closer look at using and customizing the Axes Grid .

10.1. The basics

To turn on the Axes Grid for a Render View , you use the Properties panel. Under the View section, you check the Axes Grid checkbox to turn the Axes Grid on for the active view.


Clicking on the Edit button will pop up the Axes Grid properties dialog ( Fig. 10.1) that allows you to customize the Axes Grid . As with the Properties panel, this is a searchable dialog, hence you can use the Search box at the top of the dialog to search of properties of interest. At the same time, the pqAdvanced26 button can be used to toggle between default and advanced modes for the panel.

Using this dialog, you can change common properties like the titles ( X Title , Y Title , and Z Title ), title and label fonts using Title Font Properties and Label Font Properties for each of the axes directions, as well as the Grid Color . Besides labelling the axes, you can render a grid by checking Show Grid . Once you have the Axes Grid setup to your liking, you can use the SaveAsDefaultButton to save your selections so that they are automatically loaded next time you launch ParaView. You can always use the ReloadButton to revert back to ParaView defaults.


Fig. 10.1 Edit Axes Grid dialog is used to customize the Axes Grid .

10.2. Use cases

To get a better look at the available customizations, let’s look at various visualizations possible and then see how you can set those up using the properties on the Edit Axes Grid dialog. In these examples, we use the disk_out_ref.ex2 example dataset packaged with ParaView.

AxesGridBasic AxesGridShowGrid

In the images above, on the left is the default Axes Grid . Simply turning on the visibility of the Axes Grid will generate such a visualization. The axes places always stay behind the rendered geometry even as you interact with the scene. As you zoom in and out, the labels and ticks will be updated based on visual cues.

To show a grid along the axes planes, aligned with the ticks and labels, turn on the Show Grid checkbox, resulting in a visualization on the right.

By default, the gridded faces are always the farthest faces i.e. they stay behind the rendered geometry and keep on updating as you rotate the scene. To fix which faces of the bounding-box are to be rendered, use the Faces To Render button (it’s an advanced property, so you may have to search for it using the Seach box in the Edit Axes Grid dialog). Suppose, we want to label just one face, the lower XY face. In that case, uncheck all the other faces except Min-XY in menu popped up on clicking on the Faces to Render button. This will indeed just show the min-XY face, however as you rotate the scene, the face will get hidden as soon as the face gets closer to the camera than the dataset. This is because, by default, Cull Frontfaces is enabled. Uncheck Cull Frontfaces and ParaView will stop removing the face as it comes ahead of the geometry, enabling a visualization as follows.


Besides controlling which faces to render, you can also control where the labels are placed. Let’s say we want ParaView to decide how to place labels along the Y axis, however for the X axis, we want to explicitly label the values \(2.5\), \(0.5\), \(-0.5\), and \(-4.5\). To that, assuming we are the advanced mode for the Edit Axes Grid panel, check X Axis Use Custom Labels . That will show a table widget that allows you to add values as shown below.


Using the pqPlus16 button, add the custom values. While at it, let’s also change the X Axis Label Font Properties and X Axis Title Font Properties to change the color to red and similar for the Y axis, let’s change the color to green. Increase the title font sizes to 18, to make them stand out and you will get a visualization as follows (below, left).

AxesGridCustomLabels AxesGridCustomAxesToLabel

Here we see that both sides of the axis plane are labeled. Suppose you only want to label one of the sides, in that case use the Axes To Label property to uncheck all but Min-X and Min-Y . This will result in the visualization shown above, right.

10.3. Axes Grid in pvpython

In pvpython, Axes Grid is accessible as the AxesGrid property on the render view.

>>> renderView = GetActiveView()

# AxesGrid property provides access to the AxesGrid object.
>>> axesGrid = renderView.AxesGrid

# To toggle visibility of the axes grid,
>>> axesGrid.Visibility = 1

All properties on the Axes Grid that you set using the Edit Axes Grid dialog are available on this axesGrid object and can be changed as follows:

>>> axesGrid.XTitle = 'X Title'
>>> axesGrid.XTitleColor = [0.6, 0.6, 0.0]
>>> axesGrid.XAxisLabels = [-0.5, 0.5, 2.5, 3.5]

Note you can indeed use the tracing capabilities described in Section 1.6.2 to determine what Python API to use to change a specific property on the Edit Axes Grid dialog or use help .

>>> help(axesGrid)
Help on GridAxes3DActor in module paraview.servermanager object:

class GridAxes3DActor(Proxy)
 |  GridAxes3DActor can be used to render a grid in a render view.
 |  Method resolution order:
 |      GridAxes3DActor
 |      Proxy
 |      __builtin__.object
 |  Methods defined here:
 |  Initialize = aInitialize(self, connection=None, update=True)
 |  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
 |  Data descriptors defined here:
 |  AxesToLabel
 |      Set the mask to select the axes to label. The axes labelled will be a subset of the
 |      axes selected depending on which faces are also being rendered.
 |  CullBackface
 |      Set to true to hide faces of the grid facing away from the camera i.e. hide all
 |      back faces.
 |  CullFrontface
 |      Set to true to hide faces of the grid facing towards from the camera i.e. hide all
 |      front faces.
 |  DataPosition
 |      If data is being translated, you can show the original data bounds for the axes
 |      instead of the translated bounds by setting the DataPosition to match the
 |      translation applied to the dataset.