Displaying Images

There are a number of ways to view your image after it is rendered. You can use the following standalone utilities:

Displaying Many Image Formats

The imgshow standalone displays an image on the screen. The imgshow standalone can display any file format for which there is a dynamic link library (DLL on Windows systems).

The Setup program installs these DSOs or DLLs to <install directory>/Application/bin/sil. When you type imgshow, the usage message lists the supported file formats.

To run imgshow, you must set the environment variable SI_IMAGE_PATH to point to the <install directory>/Application/bin/sil directory.

  • IfSI_IMAGE_PATH is not set or empty, imgshow checks the environment variable SI_HOME.

  • If it is set, imgshow looks in SI_HOME/Application/bin/sil.


imgshow <image file> [-height <height>][-width <width>]

<image file> is the name of the file you want to show. For example, to see the image file called toto.1.pic at the size of 200 pixels high and 250 pixels wide, you would type:

imgshow toto.1 -height 200 -width 250

imgshow automatically detects supported image file formats, so input files do not require an extension (such as .pic) to identify their format. However, if the file on disk has an extension, you should specify it.

For example, type the following to see the file on disk called toto.1.pic:

imgshow toto.1.pic



Specifies the width in pixels of output images. Used only for raw image formats with no image header.


Specifies the height in pixels of output images. Used only for raw image formats with no image header.

Displaying Sequences with Scripts

The sequence standalone displays a sequence of frames and runs user-defined shell scripts. If there are C-shell scripts with specific names in the current working directory, the sequence executes the scripts as follows:

  • INIT_SEQUENCE is run before the first frame is displayed.

  • PROCESS_FRAME is run while each frame is being displayed.

  • RELEASE_SEQUENCE is run once the whole sequence has been displayed.

To stop displaying a sequence, press all three mouse buttons at the same time.


sequence <seq name> <start> <end> [<step>] [-x <x offset>] [-y <y offset>] [-a]
  • <seq name> is the name of the sequence.

  • <start> is the first frame to be displayed.

  • <end> is the last frame to be displayed.

  • <step> is the step increment value.



Offsets the image by <x offset> pixels from the left of the screen.


Offsets the image by <y offset> pixels from the bottom of the screen.


Displays the alpha channel instead of the picture.

Displaying Image Sequences as a Flipbook

The si3d_flipbook standalone displays image sequences and field-rendered image sequences at the rate you specify. If the program cannot display the frames at that rate, it skips frames. If the image is bigger than the screen, it automatically reduces the image.

You can also perform these tasks using the Autodesk Softimage flipbook (flip.exe) by choosing Playback Flipbook from the Playback panel beneath the timeline in the Softimage interface. See Previewing Animation in a Flipbook [Animation] for more information.


si3d_flipbook <sequence> <first>[ <last> [ <step> [<rate> ]]][-R <factor>][-M]
[-F|-E|-O] [-i] [v]
  • <sequence> is the name of the sequence.

  • <first> is the number of the first frame.

  • <last> is the number of the last frame.

  • <step> is the frame number increment (default is 1).

  • <rate> is the number of frames to be displayed per second (default is 30 fps).


You can display one static picture by typing:

si3d_flipbook <picture_name>



Reduces image size by an integer factor. The reduction in memory requirements is the square of this integer factor. For example, reducing the image size by a factor of 2 reduces memory requirements by a factor of 4.

Use the -R option with the -m option to load more frames into main memory.


Loads all frames into main memory before displaying the sequence. By default, frames are loaded from disk only when needed.

When using the -m option, the computer starts swapping memory to disk if the free RAM is insufficient to load all frames. To load more frames, use the -R option to reduce image size.


Specifies full frame images. This is the default.


Specifies field images with even field dominance.


Specifies field images with odd field dominance.


Gets information about the sequence without display.


Turns on the verbose mode.


This example shows the jumbo.pic image sequence from frames 1 to 150 with a step of 1 (1 150 1) at 24 frames per second.

si3d_flipbook jumbo 1 150 1 24

For field-rendered image sequences, you can view the odd-field, even-field, or both dominated images. For example, to view the even-field image, type:

si3d_flipbook <output> -E

where <output> is your rendered image.

Mouse Functions

Once the first frame is displayed:

  • Right-click to flip forward. The sequence loops when it reaches the last frame.

  • Left-click to flip backward.

  • Middle-click to stop flipping or loading frames (pause).

  • To adjust the frame rate interactively, middle-click and drag the mouse to the right to flip forward and drag to the left to flip backward. The display rate corresponds to the speed at which you drag the mouse.

  • To set the zoom factor interactively, middle-click to pause then press any key from 1 to 9.

  • To exit, click two or more mouse buttons at once or press Esc.

Keyboard Functions

  • F or right arrow key move forward one frame.

  • B or left arrow key move backward one frame.

  • U or up arrow key increase the frame rate.

  • D or down arrow key decrease the frame rate.

  • L key toggles loop mode on and off.

  • I key gets information about the sequence.

  • H key displays a usage message.

  • 1 to 9 keys set zoom factor.

  • Esc key exits flipbook.

Memory Guidelines for Using a Flipbook

Images loaded in a flipbook are not compressed, so they take up the full amount of memory for each pixel regardless of their size on the disk. The physical size of the image in pixels and the amount of RAM available determine how many images you can play back at the specified frame rate without skipping frames. For the flipbook to work efficiently, the images must fit into RAM; virtual memory is too slow for an acceptable playback speed.

The space taken by the images should not exceed the amount of free main memory. If it does, the computer starts swapping memory to disk and the display is slowed down considerably.

Use the following formula to calculate the number of bytes needed to load the images (4 refers to the four channels of an RGBA image):

4 ° (height of frame) ° (width of frame) ° (number of frames)

For example, to calculate the memory required for a 256 ° 256 image, the equation 256 ° 256 ° 4 gives you 262 144 bytes, or 256 kilobytes, so 100 images would require at least 25.6 megabytes of RAM to display without disk swapping.

In this case, you would actually require more memory because the operating system takes up about 5 megabytes of memory. A system with 16 megabytes of main memory can flip approximately 100 frames of 165 ° 165 resolution images.

TipThe byte value can be converted to kilobytes by dividing it by 1024.

For displays of longer animations, flipbook can use a step frame. If every other frame was rendered using a step value of 2 and a display rate of 15 frames per second, you would have an accurate representation of the timing of the motion.

Displaying Images While Rendering

The imf_disp standalone displays image files, including memory-map texture images created by imf_copy. The imf_disp standalone displays all formats supported by the mental ray rendering software (except the SOFTIMAGE Zpic format).


This example displays the toto.pic image on screen:

imf_disp toto

imf_disp automatically detects supported image file formats, so files do not require an extension (such as .pic) to identify their format.

imf_disp also supports image piping. Normally, mental ray prints connection information into the output image file that lets programs like imf_disp connect and display pictures while being rendered. If the -imgpipe option is used when rendering from the command line, the relevant information is printed to the given file descriptor instead:

ray2 -imgpipe 1 scene.mi | imf_disp