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Simulation Best Practices: High Resolution Images that Impress Customers

Optimal design of a Nautilus-based dual-usage turbine

High resolution images of engineering simulations are fantastic marketing materials. Just look at all the entries we get for the ANSYS Hall of Fame.

If you had the cash, which yacht would you buy:

  • The one with a gorgeous print graphic of a ship optimized by simulation software?
  • Or the one that says “best in class” seven times in a 30-word ad?

“But, wait a minute, I’m an engineer not a marketer,” you say aloud. “How can I build a simulation image to wow my customers and the ANSYS Hall of Fame judges?”

Well, you follow some best practices.

Printing High Resolution Images of Simulations? Watch those Pixel Lengths.

Comparison of a screen capture blown by a factor of three

Unfortunately, a screen capture from your ANSYS workflow won’t impress anyone.

By the time you blow up your image to an appropriate size, you may as well render it with an Atari 2600.

Print media typically needs a high resolution of about 300 dots per inch (dpi). So, to determine how many pixels your image needs to be you must know the printed length (in inches) and multiply that by 300 dpi.

If your image needs to be printed at 3 inches at 300 dpi, then it needs to be at least 900 pixels long.

Remember, you can always make an image smaller, but you can’t always make it bigger. If you’re not sure how large the image needs to be then you might want to make it a few thousand pixels long and wide.

Oh, and use an .eps or .tiff file format. No point wasting your time with all these pixel measurements if the .jpg format is going to compress the file anyway.

How to Produce Good Print Graphics of Simulation Images

Optimized muffler created by HENN for the automotive industry.

Engineers are used to having images portray technical information. Marketers need images to tell a story.

You might recognize a muffler from a mile away, but your customers may not. Consider having a marketing photo of the whole product and then a close-up of the simulation of the part.

Take a look at one of our 2017 ANSYS Hall of Fame winners, HENN. It used multiple images to tell a story:

  • Hero: HENN.
  • Wise helper: CADFEM.
  • Goal: Create customized mufflers.
  • Journey: Multiphysics and parametric equations.
  • Setting: Automotive industry.

Pay close attention to the streamlines flowing through HENN’s simulation. They are quite thick. This makes it easier to see in print media. You may need to have similar exaggerations for your vectors, meshes, graphs, axes labels or any other lines or small print.

Also notice how HENN’s image shows a graph. You can see that the labels and axes on the graph  border, but don’t obscure, any part of the car. This appears to be done with care. Make sure the product you’re selling isn’t being overshadowed or covered.

In addition, you should:

  • Use a white or transparent background.
  • Have clean outlines of your images.

How to Describe a Simulation to Customers, Marketers and ANSYS Hall of Fame Judges

So, you have this cool high resolution image of a simulation.

Now what? You need to show the images to the marketing team for feedback and graphic designers for touch-ups.

But you can’t just hope your team understands what all these images are: They are marketers not engineers.

Keep your explanation short, sweet and simple. You are describing a cool picture not defending a thesis.

When you explain your simulations to a room of nonexperts limit your talk to an elevator pitch. If you can’t finish it in 10 seconds, it’s too long. If you’re stumbling over your words, they are too complicated.

Well now it seems like you have some cool simulation images and a short description. Why not use them to try to win a SoundLink Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker from the 2019 ANSYS Hall of Fame? To enter, click here.