Getting Started

Using PVGeo in a Python Environment

If you’d like to use PVGeo in Python (>=3.6) without ParaView then simply install PVGeo to your active Python environment (please note that we do not support the use of PVGeo in a Python 2 environment unless it is directly in ParaView’s build).

Install PVGeo via pip:

pip install PVGeo

Required dependencies

Optional dependencies

PVGeo has a few non-required dependencies that enable more algorithms and features when available. All requirements can be found in the requirements.txt file in the repo but the needed requirements for PVGeo to work will be installed with PVGeo. Some useful dependencies:

  • discretize: Adds algorithms that harnesses discretize’s finite volume code and file IO methods.

  • pyproj: Adds algorithms that can perform coordinate transformations

  • omf and omfvista: Provides support for the Open Mining Format (OMF)

Using PVGeo in ParaView

If you’d like to use PVGeo directly in ParaView’s graphical user interface, you must follow the remaining steps in this section very carefully which set up an isolated Python 2.7 environment that will be shared with your installation of ParaView. Note that after you create this environment, you should leave it alone and install PVGeo using the steps in the section above for the Python environments you use everyday.

A Brief Introduction to ParaView

ParaView is an open-source platform that can visualize 2D, 3D, and 4D (time-varying) datasets. ParaView can process multiple very large data sets in parallel then later collect the results to yield a responsive graphics environment with which a user can interact. The better the processor and graphics hardware the machine or machines hosting the software, the faster and better ParaView will run. However, it can run quite well on a laptop with a standard graphics card such as a MacBook Pro.

Since ParaView is an open source application, anyone can download the program and its source code for modifications. The easiest way to get started with ParaView is to download the compiled binary installers for your operating system.

For further help, check out the documentation provided by Kitware. In particular, the two worth looking through for a quick tour of ParaView are the The ParaView Guide and The ParaView Tutorial. One is a tutorial of the ParaView software and shows the user how to create sources, apply filters, and more. The other is a guide on how to do scripting, macros, and more intense use of the application.

Install ParaView

Open the downloaded installer from ParaView’s website for ParaView 5.6.x (or greater) and follow the prompts with the installer.

Tour around software: Take a look at Section 2.1 of The ParaView Tutorial for details of the application’s GUI environment. Chapter 2 of the tutorial as a whole does an excellent job touring the software and its workflow for those unfamiliar with the software and its general capabilities.

One convenient feature is to save the state of the ParaView environment. This saves all the options you selected for all the filters you applied to visualize some data. Select File->Save State… (Note: this saves the absolute path of the files loaded into ParaView, so be sure to select Search for Files Under Directory… when opening these state files).

Install PVGeo

We highly recommend using Anaconda to manage your Python virtual environments, and we know installation via Anaconda Python distributions will work on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. To begin using the PVGeo Python package, create a new virtual environment and install PVGeo through pip.

$ conda create -n pvgeoenv python=2.7

If you’d like to link PVGeo to ParaView, you must use a Python 2.7 virtual environment. Once you create this 2.7 environment, you can opt to never use it again as it is only necessary for holding PVGeo and its dependencies for ParaView to use. If you’d like to use PVGeo outside of ParaView, any version of Python will work (except Python 2.x on Windows).

$ source activate pvgeoenv
(pvgeoenv) $ pip install PVGeo

Non-Windows Users

Now you must install VTK to your virtual environment. For Linux and Mac users, simply install VTK through pip:

# Now install VTK
(pvgeoenv) $ pip install vtk

Why not on Windows? If you are installing PVGeo for use in ParaView, the VTK Python package is available under the ParaView installation and PVGeo will use that library. Otherwise, if you’d like to use PVGeo on Windows outside of ParaView, you must use a Python >=3.6 version and install VTK through conda or pip.

Install PVGeo to ParaView

Use the latest release of ParaView: PVGeo is compatible only with version 5.6.x (and higher) of ParaView. You can find the ParaView downloads page

To use the PVGeo library as plugins in ParaView, we must link the virtual environment that you installed PVGeo to ParaView’s Python environment and load a series of plugin files that wrap the PVGeo code base with ParaView’s Graphical User Interface.

Linking PVGeo

First, let’s link PVGeo’s virtual environment to ParaView by setting up a PYTHONPATH and a PV_PLUGIN_PATH environmental variables. First, retrieve the needed paths from PVGeo. Do this by executing the following from your command line:

(pvgeoenv) $ python -m PVGeo install


Having Trouble?

Try executing the following command to debug the launcher creation (this will help us if you create an issue):

`bash (pvgeoenv) $ python -m PVGeo install echo `

Mac OS Users

The above script will output the paths you need to set in the environmental variables moving forward. If you are on a Mac OS X computer, then that script will output a shell command for you to execute for the install. If you are on a Mac, run that command and skip to [Loading the Plugins](#loading-the-plugins)

Windows Users

Setting up environmental variables is a bit involved for Windows. Remember how we ran python -m PVGeo install? Well this created a new file on your Desktop called PVGeoLauncher.bat. We will use this file to safely launch ParaView it is own environment with environmental variables appropriately set.

  1. Go to your Desktop and right-click to select New->Shortcut.

2. Browse… to the PVGeoLauncher.bat on your Desktop. Not sure where this file is? Check the output of the install command from above.

3. Click Next and give your shortcut a meaningful name like ParaView+PVGeo and select Finish.

  1. Now right-click that newly created shortcut and select Properties.

5. For the Start in field, we will use the path to your ParaView installation (top-level). To discover this, go to where ParaView is installed. Likely in C:\Program Files and find the ParaView 5.6-xxxxxx folder. Go into that folder and then copy the full path by copying the path in the navigation bar at the top of the window. Paste this path into the Start in field.

  1. Click Apply then Okay

  2. Now launch ParaView using your new shortcut!

6. Test that the install worked: open the Python Shell and import the modules delivered in this repo by executing import PVGeo and import pvmacros. Errors should not arise but if they do, seek help via the Slack community.

Loading the Plugins

Now you must load the plugin files through ParaView’s Plugin Manager. Select Tools -> Manage Plugins then select Load New on the bottom right of the popup dialog. Navigate to the directory declared in PV_PLUGIN_PATH and load the plugins files. Note that we have included a file called; this will load all of PVGeo’s Plugins for convenience. If you wish only to load specific suites, then load the desired suites by their individual plugin .py files. Once the plugins are loaded, expand them in the plugin manager and be sure to select Auto Load.


Not sure where your PV_PLUGIN_PATH is located?

Re-run the install command with an additional argument echo:

(pvgeoenv) $ python -m PVGeo install echo

Now test that the install worked by ensuring the various categories for the PVGeo filters are in the Filters menu such as PVGeo General Filters. Errors should not arise but if they do, post to the issues page and the errors will be immediately addressed.


If an error arises or you are having trouble, feel free to join the PVGeo community on Slack and ask for help

You can also post to the issues page if you think you are encountering a bug.

Using Outside Modules in ParaView

If you installed PVGeo according to the instructions above, then any Python package installed through pip/conda in that virtual environment will be accessible in ParaView. For some further reading on using virtual environments with ParaView, see this blog post

Update PVGeo

Use pip to update PVGeo in your python environment(s):

(pvgeoenv) $ pip install --upgrade PVGeo