I was looking at the tutorials on the online help and realized that the external graphics are using files in h3d format. In general one would associate an h3d file to be the file "for post processing", but there is more to it when working in MV/MS.
I thought I will share with you the differences to distinguish between the various "types" of h3d files we deal with while working with MV.
1. Graphic h3d file:
A graphic h3d contains nothing but the geometry of the model, with some mesh on it. This also implies that:
You can Load/Open the graphic h3d file in HyperView but since it has no results information, you can't animate, view contour etc.
When you add a Graphic entity from the Graphics panel and select "File" for type, it lets you browse a file - this HAS to be a graphic h3d file.
How to generate a graphic h3d file?
a. Open the CAD/FE file in HyperMesh. If it is a CAD file with no mesh on it, mesh it. Don't worry about the mesh quality, all we need is a mesh that defines the shape of the geometry well enough. Then, do a File > Export > Model. You can also choose to create a graphic h3d of only a part of the geometry by displaying just that portion's elements in HM before doing File>Export>Model.
b. Using the Tool > Import CAD/FE option in MV. This allows the user to generate graphic h3ds from within MotionView. Input file can be any FE file or CAD file listed. Output file is the name of the graphic h3d file you want to specify.
At the background, Hypermesh is actually meshing the geometry and bringing it into MV as graphic h3d (which is same as the first step but without you having to open HyperMesh).
2. Flexbody h3d file::
A flex body is the modal representation of an FE model. It is used to make a rigid body flexible.
Hence, you could say that a flexbody h3d contains results of a modal analysis.
HyperView can be used to open the flexbody h3d, animate the modes, contour displacements/stresses/strains etc.
How to define flexbodies in MV?
When we check the "Deformable" box in Bodies panel in MV for any body, we specify the flexbody h3d for the "Graphic file:" and "H3D file:" options.
Note that, for the "graphic file:" option, it is allowed to specify any other FE input file as well. However, for "H3d file:" option, ONLY FLEXBODY H3D SHOULD BE USED.
How to generate the FLEXBODY?
A flex body can be generated either by using FlexTools > FlexPrep option in MV, OR
by using HyperMesh Radioss Bulk interface. We can talk about flexbodies in detail later.
3.Results h3d file:
A results h3d file is what contains the results of your analysis.
This file is generated after you click on Run in the Run panel and the run is complete.
This activates the Animate button in the Run panel which you can click on to directly open a new HyperView window with the results h3d file already loaded.
OR, you can open the file in HyperView yourself. You can animate, contour displacements/stresses/strains/forces etc.
DON'T give the xml file in Run panel with the same name as one of your graphic h3d files or flexbody h3d files.
The results h3d generated contains the same name as the xml file, and will over-write the graphic h3d file/flexbody h3d file without prompting.
For similar reasons, DON'T name your flexbody h3d with the same name as one of the graphic h3d files.
Hope that solves the h3d file mystery.