VTK 6.0.0 is available for download

Kitware and the VTK team are happy to announce that VTK 6.0.0 is available for download at:  http://www.vtk.org/VTK/resources/software.html

6.0 is the first major release since 5.0 in December 2005. The great extent of refactoring that went into VTK’s pipeline and build system is what makes this a major release. The pipeline changes cleanly separate the Algorithm, DataObject, and Executive classes. The build system changes automate and simplify intra-library build time dependency analysis. Together they facilitate adding new features to and removing unwanted features from VTK. To learn how to take advantage of these structural changes see http://www.vtk.org/Wiki/VTK/VTK_6_Migration_Guide, and http://www.vtk.org/Wiki/VTK/Build_System_Migration.

Besides the low level changes, there are many new features in VTK 6.0 that are more readily apparent to users of applications built with VTK. These include:

* VTK now has the ability to map values into discrete color sets. vtkScalarsToColors and subclasses now support an IndexedLookup mode where only values which exactly match an annotation are assigned a color.

* Vector graphics export to formats such as postscript, SVG, and PDF is improved following a rewrite of the vtkGL2PSExporter class.

* VTK’s text rendering capabilities are greatly extended. In particular, text can be output to vector graphics friendly raw Bezier curves, system fonts may now be accessed through the FreeTypeFontConfig module, and mathematical equations can now be rendering using the matplotlib Python package.

* There is a new polyhedron surface selection mode in which the user draws arbitrarily shaped regions on the screen and extraction filters return all surface elements within.

* 3D charts are new as are seamless transitions between 2D and 3D chart projections.

* VTK’s underlying treatment of time varying data is refactored, shifting more of the responsibility from the executives and datasets into vtkMultipleTimeStepAlgorithms.

* The serial and parallel particle tracing filters, which track particles in time varying vector fields, now run faster and cache results more effectively

* This release marks a first forray into GPGPU processing within VTK. AcceleratorsPiston is a module that calls into LANL’s Piston library to enable Thrust-based accelerated data processing filters.

* It is now possible to smoothly and continuously warp arbitrarily complex polygonal meshes, and other datasets that are represented by explicit point coordinates, using the method of mean value coordinates and the vtkDeformPointSet filter.

* The XDMF file format, which is a lightweight self describing layer over HDF5, is now a module in VTK.

* There are new Adaptive Mesh Resolution and HyperTree data types and filters designed for visualization of large multi-resolution scientific data sets.

* VTK 6 can now leverage modern Mesa 3D OpenGL capabilities as it is no longer limited to GL version 1.1 support whenever Mesa is in use. This extends VTK’s rendering capabilities primarily in HPC applications where rendering is typically done off screen on supercomputers that lack graphics hardware.

* vtkPythonInterpreter now provides a standardized interface to make calls into Python inside VTK classes.

Please try this version of VTK and report any issues to the list or the bug tracker.

Questions or comments are always welcome!