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EnSight (a.k.a. CEI EnSight Gold) is a product of Computational Engineering International (CEI). EnSight provides a set of tools to help with many types of engineering analysis, visualization, and communication. With EnSight you can create contours, isosurfaces, particle traces, vector arrows, elevated surfaces, and profile plots. Animation is also supported.

Like many modern scientific visualization applications, EnSight utilizes a distributed computing model, consisting of a server running on the remote machine where the data sets reside and a client running on the desktop, where all interface interaction and graphics rendering is done using the desktop machine's built-in graphics hardware.

LLNL has licenses for EnSight, including EnSight Gold and EnSight DR (Distributed Rendering) licenses. EnSight Gold contains all of the features found in EnSight and additionally enables parallel processing, output to POV_RAY files, support for real-time collaboration and more. Parallel operation using EnSight Gold is appropriate where models contain millions and even billions of nodes. EnSight DR adds parallel rendering for datasets that generate scenes so complex that the client crashes on the desktop side under the load of drawing the picture.

In addition to EnSight, several other tools are included in the EnSight distribution. Be sure to glance at this tutorial for a discussion of how to get the most out of EnSight most easily at LLNL.


Machines and Versions

See LC graphics software page.

Most CEI utilities are directly installed into /usr/local/bin, and should be available to run without any special setup. Simply type the name of the command you wish to run; it should already be in your PATH.

Multiple versions of EnSight are installed, including a "default" version, and other versions. Upgrades to the default version will always be announced and scheduled according to LC procedures. CEI upgrades EnSight quite frequently. This, combined with the need to provide adequate formal notice to users before upgrading software, may cause the LC's default version of EnSight to run a few minor versions behind.

All versions of EnSight are installed in subdirectories of /usr/local/tools, and all have associated dotkits, e.g. to access version 10.0.3 utilities you can type use ensight-10.0.3.


Tutorial: EnSight on the clusters

Be sure to look at this tutorial for a discussion of how to get the most out of EnSight most easily at LLNL.

Version Compatibility

EnSight version numbers are depicted as a string of the form #.#.#(n), where the #'s are version numbers and the (n) is a version letter in parentheses. When running in distributed mode, the server and client version NUMBERS much match, but the version LETTER in parentheses may differ. The letter indicates a version upgrade that did not require a communication protocol change between the client and server. The version of EnSight client on your desktop MUST match the version of EnSight server you are using on the clusters.

To run the default version of EnSight on the clusters, type the command with no version numbers, e.g ensight101

To run a specific version of EnSight append its version with a dash, e.g. ensight100-10.0.3

Do not try to run the client on the clusters!

You should not try to run EnSight on the cluster and display back to your desktop. While we will try to help you if you do so, doing so is not supported by CEI and will likely cause performance and usability issues. Notably, you might get a blank window.


At LLNL, when running in distributed it is always necessary to use a security token when running the client and server.

See the Download section for more information on downloading and installing EnSight.

Additional CEI Tools

Additional tools are included in the EnSight distribution. A summary of some common ones follows.



ceilaunch31 A tool to automate EnSight launching from your desktop connecting to the clusters.
ceishell31 A tool to ease EnSight launching on the clusters.
cpython31 Python wrapped in EnSight goodness; useful for executing python code that loads EnSight's libraries.
ens_checker101 Debugging tool to check a case file for formatting errors and report the location of the error.
enliten101 Geometry viewer to display Scenario (.els) files, which can be produced using EnSight.
enve41 Excellent animation creation tool. Creates movies from series of images, More info here.
envideo101 A simple-to-use, cross-platform video player. More info here.
evo_info101 Report the details of a .evo file.
reveal31 3D geometry player for viewing, analyzing and manipulating complex visualization scenarios created in EnSight or in other applications. More info here.
slimd8_status Reports the current license status for EnSight.
titlemaker101 A tool for generating simple .evo text files


Documentation is available from the EnSight application with the Help menu.

Type ensight100 -help for a listing of command-line options.

The CEI Support page contains links to FAQ's, manuals, newsletters, and whitepapers.

Video tutorials are available on the CEI Tutorial page.

Manuals are also available from the EnSight Help menu and online in the directory of the EnSight installation. See e.g. /usr/local/tools/ensight/ensight100/doc/Manuals .

Help is available from the, or call the LC Hotline at (925) 422-4531.


If you have an account on the LC machines, the EnSight server and client may be installed on a local machine and LC's EnSight license can be used. This would be useful if 1) You want to run in distributed mode (always recommended). 2) Your local machine has enough memory and speed to visualize your data in stand-alone mode.

To install and use the EnSight software on your local workstation:

  1. If you haven't already,download the appropriate EnSight Installer.
  2. For Linux or OS X, set the CEI_HOME environment variable to the location of your EnSight installation. For example, on OS X, CEI_HOME would typically be /Applications/CEI. On Windows, CEI_HOME might be C:\Program Files\CEI. On Linux, CEI_HOME could be /usr/local/CEI.
  3. Copy the slim8.key file from /usr/global/tools/licservers/ensight/license8/slim8.key into the $CEI_HOME/license8 directory on your desktop. Windows users: first create a blank text file in $CEI_HOME/license8, named


using Notepad, then copy and paste the contents of the license file to ensure the contents are readable by Windows. If your desktop is offsite, see the note below for offsite users.

  1. Add $CEI_HOME/bin to your PATH environment variable if desired.

Offsite Users

If your desktop is not in the LLNL network, and you are not using VPN, then it's likely you cannot connect directly to the license server, This is a security step. You need to do two things:

  • Modify the license file to point to localhost. In the slim8.key file, change the word "ensightlic" on the 5th line of the file to "localhost" and save it. You may need administrator privileges.
  • Before you use EnSight, you must have an active tunnel of port 7790 from localhost (your desktop) through a login node to see the license server. This is established by executing the following command: ssh -L loginnode . When the ssh connection terminates, the tunnel is also terminated, so keep this connection alive as long as you plan to use EnSight.