Kitware and the VTK team are pleased to announce the release of VTK 5.8.0, a major release containing several noteworthy additions and enhancements.
There are numerous improvements to the Python wrappers including the addition of many classes, methods, and constants that were not previously wrapped, along with support for unicode strings arguments, two-dimensional array arguments, pass-by-reference, and default argument values. As part of the wrapper improvement effort, the code for the wrappers has been reorganized and structured to make it easier to expand and maintain.
VTK charts have been updated to make use of the 2D scene with new text rendering and improved OpenGL rendering routines. New chart types such as pie charts and 2D histograms have been added. There are also improvements to the scatter and parallel coordinate plots, which can now be colored by a scalar array, and multiple charts can now be rendered in the same scene.
Support for polyhedron cells has been added, which is particularly relevant to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and other similar applications. This support includes the addition of a new cell class called vtkPolyhedron, the extension of vtkUnstructuredGrid for storage and access, and modification of vtkXMLUnstructuredGridReader/Writer for I/O to accommodate polyhedron meshes. A mean value coordinates (MVC) interpolation method, implemented as a filter, has been added. This filter is used to smoothly interpolate/extrapolate point attributes (scalars, vectors, etc.) at a given point interior, exterior or on the surface of polyhedron cells.
A new GPU based mapper, vtkGlyph3DMapper, is now available. The use of the mapper results in a significant reduction in memory usage and a great increase in performance, and provides the ability to color, scale and orient each glyph individually as well as the ability to glyph only a subset of the input points via masking.
VTK now contains HDF5 1.8.5, which has been migrated out of ParaView. This allows VTK developers to easily utilize HDF5 storage in their readers. In future VTK releases, we will integrate HDF5 storage into vtkNetCDF as well.
Lastly, this release will make available binary packages of the vtk tcl interpreter and vtkpython for Windows, Mac and Linux, which will be on the download page.