Rainbow streamlines

This tool creates a rake of streamlines from the line tool. Each streamline in the rake has a different, solid color in a sequence like a rainbow. This helps the eye track the individual streamlines among a group, which should make viewing some types of flow more clear. One example is flow around a vortex core, as seen in the example image below.

Download the tool and icon (2011-8-18)

Example image using the shuttle model showing the three coloring methods using the default setting of 12 streamlines and 6 colors. 

Usage notes

This tool does not actually emit the streamlines from the line tool. It uses the line too position to create individual streamlines from the cursor tool. Therefore the streamlines can only be moved one at a time. For best results first use the line tool to emit streamlines the usual way, then when the desired location and number of streamlines is determined use this tool.

The options in the GUI are,

  • Fluid part(s): selects the parent part(s) for the streamlines (all volume parts, individual 3D parts)
  • Vector variable: select the variable to use to create the streamlines (lists all vectors)
  • Number of traces: (integer value)
  • Method: Which rule to use to color the streamlines (smooth, cycle, group)
  • Number of colors: Total number of different colors to use

 Screenshot of the GUI options.

The example image above shows the 3 color schemes.

  • Smooth will make one unique color for each streamline no matter how many streamlines there are. This is good for small number of streamlines.
  • Cycle will use n# of colors, one for each streamline in sequence. After cycling through all the colors it will start back at the first color. This is useful for large numbers of streamlines or for emphasizing small-scale flow features.¬†
  • Group is similar to smooth, except that there are only a limited number of colors used so adjacent streamlines have the same color.


  • Cannot be used for 2D flow (since the GUI selection tool only allows selection of 3D parent parts)
  • Does not calculate pathlines or other particle trace types


EnSight version: 9.2, 10.0
OS: all