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T&T - Color Contour (Color Mapping) Add Visual Context to Your Dimensional Analysis


Color Contour (Color Mapping)

                    in 3DCS Variation Analyst



Color Contour (also known as Color Mapping) is a visualization tool which shows the level of variation on parts during Deviation and Simulation. It allows a user to pinpoint part and assembly tolerances, and measurements that are most critical to the assembly process.

dcs-display-color-contour-mappingHow do I start using the tool?

        No crayons or color pencils are required but a 3DCS Variation Analysis license is needed to run 3DCS. To apply Color Contour, the user will need to locate the 3DCS Display Toolbar and activate Color Contour. Once the user activates Color Contour, Multi-CAD, CATIA V5 and 3DEXPERIENCE require a specific visualization type. This is automatically changed in the software and will produce a warning to show the user it changed. Open the Color Contour options to activate the legend.

  • To view Color Contour while in Deviation, a model requires at least one Move and one Tolerance or GD&T callout.
  • To view Color Contour in a Simulation, a model will require at least one Move, one Tolerance or GD&T and one Measure.

Note: A user can have both a Simulation window open and show Deviation by either clicking in the Graph window or the Simulation window.





When should I use Color Contour in my model?

            A user can use Color Contour instantly, once the model requirements are met. Using Color Contour can be an alternative to running a Simulation, to visually verify part tolerances meet requirements, or to quickly show colleagues and managers out of spec areas. However, using Color Contour while deviating, depending on model size, can cause lag in the model. Color Contouring specific parts or sub-assemblies instead of the entire model can greatly reduce the strain on your hardware.  

            While in a Simulation, use Color Contour to display all measurements that are Out of Spec or the Estimated Range. These options can be set in the Color Contour options dialog. This is a useful function that shows the whole Simulation of the model in the legend and is presented visually on the model.




Anything else I need to know?

            Here’s a bit more about the Preferences and legend display. Most of the display changes can be found in the Preferences dialog box.

  • Position: Moves the position of the legend within CATIA or Multi-CAD; up and down, or across the screen using the sliders
  • Font Size: Adjusts the font size displayed on the legend
  • Color Boxes: Increases or decreases the overall size of the color boxes in the legend.
  • Line Thickness: Changes the line thickness when using Color Contour Lines.
  • Line Length: Changes the line length of the Color Contour lines. This option can only be found in the 3DCS Preferences -> Features tab (Dir. Arrow Control). This also changes the vector arrow length.


This Tips and Tactics is here to get you up and coloring with Color Contour. More information about Color Contour is available on the Community.


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Topics: 3DCS Tolerance Analysis T&T