Balls are rendered as {disks in 2D; spheres in 3D}, arrows, or as extents, and colored by attributes or properties.

This plot item observes the Shape/Color By/Color Opt pattern to determine its rendering.




Select the shape with which to render ball data from the choices “Ball”, “Arrow” “Minimum Extent”, “Tolerance Extent”, or “Cell Extent”. The controls provided with this field change with the selected shape. “Ball” provides the common simple controls, “Arrow” provides the common arrow controls, and each extent option provides the common facet controls.

The “Arrow” shape may only be used with “Vector Qty” items in the Color By attribute. If Shape is set to “Arrow”, the “Text Val” and “Numeric Val” selectors in Color By are disabled, and the setting for Color By is automatically shifted to the most recent (or default) “Vector Qty” selection.

Color By


Specify what aspect of the item is to be rendered, from one of three mutually exclusive groups (only one selection from any group is active at one time): textual values, numeric values, and vector quantities. If a Vector Qty is chosen, an additional field is added to specify whether a component (\(x\), \(y\), or \(z\)) or the magnitude (mag) of the vector should be rendered.

Selecting -->Add Prop at the bottom of a selector will provide a dialog that allows the user to specify a new property to add to the list (and make it the active color by selection).

The labels ATTRIBUTE and PROPERTY on a selector do nothing; these are provided to visually differentiate the two groups.

Table 1: Text Value options
extra Color by extra variable provided it is a string. An additional field is supplied to identify the variable by its index.
fixity Color by fixity condition. This is represented by a string composed of component identifiers and fixity state. Balls with no fixity applied are represented by the string {xTyTrR in 2D; xTRyTRzTR in 3D} where T stands for translation and R stands for rotation. If one of these components are fixed then the T or R is absent.
group Color by group. An additional field is supplied to specify the slot index. The default setting is Any (which occupies index position 0 on the spinbox).
Table 2: Numeric Value Options
extra Color by extra variable provided it can be converted to a floating point value. An additional field is supplied to identify the variable by its index.
appliedmoment Color by the applied moment. (2D ONLY)
contactmoment Color by the moment resulting from contacts. (2D ONLY)
damp Color by the local damping coefficient.
density Color by the density.
ebody Color by the body energy.
edamp Color by the local damping energy.
ekinetic Color by the kinetic energy.
fragment Color by the fragment index.
inertial_mass Color by the inertial mass.
inertial_moi Color by the inertial moment of inertia.
mass Color by the mass.
moi Color by the moment of inertia.
radius Color by the radius.
rotation Color by the accumulated rotation. (2D ONLY)
spin Color by the rotational velocity. (2D ONLY)
unbalmoment Color by the unbalanced moment. (2D ONLY)
volume Color by the volume {assuming unit thickness in 2D}.
Table 3: Vector Quantity options
extra Color by extra variable provided that it is a vector. An additional field is supplied to identify the variable by its index.
appliedforce Color by the applied force.
appliedmoment Color by the applied moment. (3D ONLY)
contactforce Color by the force resulting from contacts.
contactmoment Color by the moment resulting from contacts. (3D ONLY)
displacement Color by the accumulated displacement.
euler Color by the Euler angles. (3D ONLY)
position Color by the position.
spin Color by the rotational velocity. (3D ONLY)
unbalforce Color by the unbalanced force.
unbalmoment Color by the unbalanced moment. (3D ONLY)
velocity Color by the translational velocity.

Color Opt


Specify options for coloring the plot item. This must be set to either scaled (contoured) coloring, or coloring based on named items (group names, for instance). See the standard Color Opt control for details.



When orientation tracking has been enabled (see the model orientation-tracking command), a stripe can be drawn on objects to depict their current orientations. When checked, sub-attributes provide the ability to control the stripe color, size and initial orientation.

Orientation: Include (checked) indication of orientation on the plot item.

Color: Set the color used for the orientation indicator.

Size: Set the thickness of the orientation indicator.

Normal: Specify the plane of the orientation indicator in the unrotated direction.

Note: this attribute is only available when the Shape attribute is set to a representation of the plot item object (for instance, if a ball plot item’s Shape is set to “Ball”).



Transform the orientation, location, or scale of the plot item according to the settings provided. This attribute allows multiple, differently visualized instances of a plot item to be rendered adjacent to one another, for instance.

Axis: Specify a coordinate transformation to use assuming a normal order of {XY in 2D; XYZ in 3D} (XZY, for instance, indicates that the Y and Z coordinates are swapped).

Translate: Translate the rendered objects’ {\(x\) and \(y\) in 2D; \(x\), \(y\), and \(z\) in 3D} positions by the specified model units.

Scale: Set the plot item size to the specified percentage of the program window’s size.



Set the transparency of the plot item. This setting is not available on 2D model objects.

Transparency: Apply transparency (checked) to the item. When on, transparency is set to a default value of 70 and is “locked.” When locked, the available range of transparency is constrained to 70 (lowest, somewhat transparent) to 100 (highest, completely invisible). To access the full range of transparency values (0-100), press the lock icon to “unlock” the transparency range; the icon changes accordingly ( tspunlock ).

Use the help button to get help with this specific attribute.


Users should be cautioned that values lower than 70 tend to be imperceptibly “less” transparent and they may result in depth perspectives that can seem strange or incorrect.


Set display of the item in the plot legend. All plot items, at minimum, have a Title attribute.

Legend: Show (checked) all information about the plot item in the legend.

Title: Show (checked) the title of the plot item in the legend. The “Alias:” field may be used to specify a custom title for the item.

Size: Set the size of text in the legend.

Font: Set the font face used for the text.

Style: Set the text style (the options are normal, bold, italic, bold-italic).

Color: Set the text color.

Beneath Title, the Ball plot item also provides controls in Legend for Count, Named, and Scaled.