Tutorial 5: Parameter visualization

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

In this tutorial you will learn how to use Optics viewer tools to assess the performance of your system. Adjust any parameter in an optical design as well as analyze and visualize the effect on the optical performance.

Authored By Alina Shmidt


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Adjust any parameter in an optical design as well as analyze and visualize the effect on the optical performance.

OpticsViewer gives users the ability to study the impact of changing specific parameters on the performance of the system. The tools best suited for this study are Slider and Universal Plot.

The Slider can be found in Adjust...Slider.


The Universal Plots can be found under Analyze...Universal Plot 1-D & 2-D.

Universal Plot

Using Slider

To begin, open the sample file 'SC_Tol_Cooke.zmx', attached to this Article.

Once the file is open, navigate to Adjust...Slider. This analysis allows the user to pick a parameter and update the system in real time as the parameter travels through a range defined by the start and stop value. Once the slider is open, open a spot diagram (Analyze...Standard Spot Diagram). With the spot diagram open, select the thickness of surface 6 as the parameter to be changed and set the start to 74 mm and the stop to 77 mm.

Slider Settings

Click Animate and watch how the spot size changes as the surface 6 thickness is adjusted. More parameters can be added by simply right-clicking the cells in the slider and clicking Insert Slider.

Using Universal Plot

Next, the Universal Plot allows users to plot any parameter in either 1 or 2 dimensions. For the purpose of this tutorial, only the 2D plot will be covered, however it works identically to the 1D plot. To begin the setup, navigate to Analyze...Universal Plot 2-D.

Universal Plot 2-D

Open the settings menu and change the Independent Variable X to be the thickness of surface 6 from 74 mm - 77 mm with 25 steps. 

For the Independent Variable Y first change the first box from being surface to system, and then select wavelength 2. Set the range be 0.4 um – 0.7 um and set the number of steps to 25.

Finally, for the Dependent Variable Z, set the operand to be RSCE, which is the RMS spot radius, with respect to the centroid of the spot. Once the operand is set to RSCE, change Wave to be 2, to denote our Y variable, Wavelength 2.

The settings should look as follows:


Click OK, and the result should look like the plot below, in which the blue areas are the smallest spot sizes and the red areas are the largest.


Additional information

For more information about the RSCE operand, and all of the available operands in OpticsViewer/OpticStudio, please see the help file located in The OpticsViewer Tab > Data drop-down > Merit Function Editor > Optimization Operands (Alphabetically).

Help Files

Specifically for RSCE:



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