Tutorial 4: Performance analysis

This article is part of the Getting Started with OpticsViewer free tutorial.

This tutorial introduces you to some of the powerful capabilities available in OpticViewer for analyzing your optical systems, and explains how to visualize and interact with the output data.

Authored By Alina Shmidt


Use a multitude of system viewers and analysis features to study the performance of an optical design and verify it meets design spec.

OpticsViewer contains all the analyses necessary to measure the performance of a system. These analyses can be found in the Analyze drop-down. 

Analyze drop-down

Analysis windows provide either graphical or text-based data computed from the lens system as entered in the Lens Data Editor. Analysis windows never change the lens data: they provide diagnostic information of the various aspects of the lens system’s performance.

Field Curvature and Distortion

Analysis windows all operate with the same user interface and have the same menu bar:


Clicking the Settings icon will toggle a dialog box that controls the input parameters passed to the calculation. The Save, Load and Reset buttons allow default settings to be saved, recalled or reset to ‘factory’ defaults. If you save the settings of any window, those become the defaults for every file that does not have its own settings; your preferences automatically flow through all of your work.


Pressing the Update menu item (next to the Settings icon), or double-clicking anywhere in the Analysis window with the left mouse button, will make the Analysis window recompute.


You can also update all open windows at once by clicking Update All button in the Quick Access Toolbar located at the top of the OpticsViewer Window.

Update all

There are standard Copy, Save As and Print icons found in the window next to the Update button.

Copy Save As Print

Right-clicking will make a context menu show. Analysis windows showing three-dimensional data have more options than 2D data plots.

Context Menu

A set of annotation tools lets you mark up the analysis feature with text, boxes, arrows, lines, and text.

Annotation Tools

Windows can be locked, unlocked, cloned, overlaid and have their drawing resolution changed. You can also toggle windows on or off an active cursor.

Other Settings

Within the plot area, you can zoom in on a section of interest by clicking the left mouse button, holding it down and dragging it over the region you wish to zoom in on, by clicking and dragging the grey bars at the ends of the x- and y-axes (see below), or by choosing ‘Edit Axis Options’ from the right-mouse click menu.

Axis Options

The Text tab shows the data on which the calculation is based. This can be copied to the clipboard in whole or in part (by highlighting the section desired and right mouse clicking) or saved to a text file.

Text Tab

Three of the most common analyses for viewing the performance of a lens are the Spot Diagram, MTF, and Image Simulation.

The Spot Diagram can be found in Analyze...Standard Spot Diagram.

Standard Spot Diagram

This analysis shows the landing coordinate of a bundle of rays traced through the optical system.

Spot Diagram

MTF data can be found in Analyze...FFT MTF or Analyze...Huygens MTF. In this example we'll look at the FFT MTF.


This analysis shows the modulation transfer function (MTF), calculated using the Fast Fourier transform (FFT). The MTF is a measurement that describes the resolution of a system.


Image Simulation can be found in Analyze...Image Simulation.

Image Simulation

This analysis shows an approximation of what an image looks like when seen through the optical system. This analysis helps you to get an understanding of the lens performance but should not be used for quantitative analysis.

Image Simulation

In addition to the analyses above, there are many more which allow users to view almost any information about the optical system and its performance.

This article is part of the Getting Started with OpticsViewer free tutorial.

Previous article: Tutorial 3: Technical drawings
Next article: Tutorial 5: Parameter visualization


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