Postprocessing and Visualization Updates

COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.4 brings new postprocessing and visualization features and improvements, including arrows on streamlines, evaluation groups, and templates for creating reports. Browse all of the postprocessing and visualization updates included in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.4 below.

Arrows on Streamlines

Streamline plots have been improved with the addition of arrows on streamlines to highlight the direction of the velocity field. You can control the arrow distribution over the streamlines, helpful for visualizing the speed.

You can find this feature in use in the following models:

An example of including arrows on streamlines. A streamline plot with arrows in the Rotating Disk model from the Application Library. A streamline plot with arrows in the Rotating Disk model from the Application Library.

Evaluation Groups

Evaluation groups offer a more structured workflow for performing numerical evaluations than what has been available in previous versions of the COMSOL Multiphysics® software. The relation between evaluation groups and evaluation features is similar to that between plot groups and plots. You can enable automatic update to Evaluate all of the evaluation features in the evaluation groups that refer to the computed solution.

You can see this functionality in use in the following models:

Report Templates

For anyone that creates reports often, report templates are useful for creating standardized, fine-tuned definitions of the contents of your reports. This can be used to streamline the workflow both on a user level and when standardizing report contents within a project or organization. The templates can also be saved to files that can then be distributed to other users.

Extrusion Data Set

The extrusion data set extrudes a 2D geometry into a 3D geometry that can be used when postprocessing. This makes it easier to exploit situations where you know the solution's behavior in the z direction and only need to solve for the behavior in the plane. The data set can also be used in situations where a 3D plot would look better than the corresponding 2D plot even if the plotted expression does not depend on the z-coordinate.

You can see this functionality in use in the following models:



An example of extruding a 2D geometry into a 3D geometry in COMSOL Multiphysics 5.4. The 2D geometry and 3D surface plot of an extrusion data set in the Slope Stability Disk model from the Application Library. The 2D geometry and 3D surface plot of an extrusion data set in the Slope Stability Disk model from the Application Library.

Surface Slit Plot

The surface slit plot is used for visualizing discontinuous fields; you specify one expression to be plotted on the upside and another to be plotted on the downside. Depending on what side you are looking from, you either see the value for the upside or the value for the downside.

You can see this functionality in use in the following models:



An example of using a surface slit plot in a model. A surface slit plot is used in the ship hull model from the Application Library. A surface slit plot is used in the ship hull model from the Application Library.

glTF™ Export

The glTF™ file format is made for exchange of 3D scenes. By exporting a 3D plot group to the glTF™ format, you get a file containing a 3D representation of the contents of the plot group. These files can then be opened in the latest versions of Powerpoint, as well as in 3D visualization software such as, for example, Mixed Reality Viewer or Paint 3D from Microsoft®. You can also find glTF™ viewers online that run in web browsers.

API Functionality for Custom Plots

You can now write methods, using new application programming interface (API) functionality, for creating customized 2D and 3D plots. These new plot types do not require the evaluation of any physics or mathematical expression. Instead, you can provide the raw plot data yourself. For all of the new plot types, you provide coordinates, colors, and connectivity (if applicable). The following plot types are supported:

  • Annotation
  • Arrow
  • Line
  • Point
  • Surface
  • Tube


An example of a custom Tube plot created by writing a method. The method written here creates a Tube plot in the form of a spiral. The method written here creates a Tube plot in the form of a spiral.

New Camera and View Toolbar Buttons

The Graphics window has the following new toolbar buttons for making navigation in 3D models easier:

  • Go to XZ View (replaces the Go to ZX View button)
  • Rotate Right 90°
  • Rotate Left 90°
  • Orthographic/perspective projection


Faster Rendering for Large Plots

The time spent in generating visualizations consists of first evaluating the data and then rendering the graphics data using hardware acceleration (if available). The time it takes to generate visualizations is typically dominated by the first step, evaluating the data, but for large plots, the second rendering step can take noticeable time as well. For this second step, a new rendering algorithm renders large plots up to 3 times faster than previous versions.

Other Important User Interface Enhancements

  • Warning nodes in the model tree inform you of potential errors that were not serious enough to trigger an evaluation error
  • A new lighting model improves the quality of 3D plots when Scene Light is enabled

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