I Also Love the New Path Analysis file format

  • 30 May 2021
  • 4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

I also love the new .PAF path analysis file. It makes it much faster to generate the various paths, as a file of only a few kb gets generated, instead of some huge ZAR file. It really reduces the time of the workflow that generates ray paths in the system. Great job!

Couple of suggestions:

1. The docs should state where the PAF is stored. It is stored in the same folder as the .zmx.

2. When you load the Path Analysis Tool after saving a PAF, but not generating a ZRD, you get:

The same logic that looks for {filename}.zrd should also look for {filename}.paf. I think it should load the PAF in preference to the ZRD, although clearly if there's no PAF then it should load the ZRD

3. For users with existing ZRDs (which is all of them), there should be an option to save a PAF in the Path Analysis tool, so you can just load the ZRD you alreday have and generate a PAF.

4. It would be good to document the PAF file format.

In addition, I would love to see path analysis extended to support n.f format filtering, where you don't just specify the object n that is hit but also the face of that object. n.-1 could be all faces, which is the current capability, but it would be great to define paths by the faces of the object hit as well as the simple fact of hitting that object.

All that said, this is a great feature that really speeds up the subsequent path analysis and filtering as you don't have to lug GB of raytrace data around anymore. Super job!

- Mark




4 replies

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

What is the goal with the *.PAF file?  To replace the *.ZRD? 

That's fine, but those of us with a code base that read the *.ZRD really need some warning before the *.ZRD is retired.

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

With regards to file formats and enabling users to go beyond point-and-click, I'd love to see Zemax start adopting open source formats like:

  • XML

  • JSON

  • SQLite

Using these can enable users to interface OpticStudio to other software tools, providing more value that writing new code for reading a special file format.


Userlevel 6
Badge +2

Hi all

Mark: I have reported your 1st point as a bug. For the other ones, I think these are good suggestions so I will pass them on to the product team.

Brian: the goal of the PAF file to make OpticStudio quicker by saving the path in advance rather than the full ZRD file. There is no plan to replace the ZRD file. It is the most complete format.

Regarding the file format, yes again I will pass your suggestion to the product team.


Userlevel 6
Badge +2

I just have an additional comment regarding the error message. It can be avoided if you have Show Options First ticked. It is quite a useful option actually: