Platform: All Platforms Versions: All versions

Problem Description

I am experiencing graphics issues in COMSOL Multiphysics, what can I do about it?


This entry is meant as listing general strategies when experiencing graphics issues in COMSOL Multiphysics.

More problem-specific fixes can be found in the following entries

A general approach for graphics issues.

By default COMSOL Multiphysics uses hardware accelerated rendering (OpenGL) for showing geometry, mesh and visualization of plots. A graphics card using OpenGL 2.1 is needed to use the hardware accelerated rendering.

The first time COMSOL Multiphysics is started it will detect if the graphics card supports the necessary features. If not it will try to fall back to use a built-in software rendering, which usually works OK but is much slower and less smooth than hardware rendering. If it does not succeed in automatically changing the rendering, you have to do it manually.

Change the rendering

The quickest solution is to switch to software rendering:

  • Start COMSOL Multiphysics.

  • To open the Preferences dialog box, in the COMSOL Desktop:

    • Windows users: From the File menu, select Preferences.

    • Mac and Linux users: From the main menu select Options>Preferences.

  • In the Preferences window select Graphics and Plot Windows and set the Rendering option to Software.

  • Click OK and close the COMSOL Desktop.

If OpenGL rendering does not work and you are not satisfied with the performance of the software rendering you can try and use the DirectX renderer. Switch renderer in the Graphics category in the Preference dialog box on the Options menu. You can also force COMSOL Multiphysics to use a certain renderer by using an option to the command used to start:

comsol -3drend ogl (start with OpenGL rendering)
comsol -3drend dx9 (start with DirectX rendering)
comsol -3drend sw (start with software rendering)

Note that DirectX is only available on Windows.

On a Windows machine, you can select which rendering you want to use from the COMSOL Launchers directory, which is available from the Start Menu:

Please note that if you run COMSOL over Remote Desktop or an X-server, hardware (OpenGL) rendering usually does not work. In those instances, you may be required to run Software rendering.

Change the optimization

While COMSOL Multiphysics works fine with Software (and DirectX 9) rendering, it can get a bit choppy for complex geometries. And, in order to make use of all the improved graphics functionality in the later version of COMSOL Multiphysics, you would need to use OpenGL rendering.

If you experience problems running COMSOL Multiphysics with OpenGL rendering, it can be worth changing the Optimize for setting in the Graphics and Plot Windows part of the Preferences dialog (see image of the preferences dialog above). Changing that setting from Quality to Performance can make a difference.

Update your graphics drivers

The drivers for a graphics card often evolve and get enhanced after the initial release of the card so if you have graphics problems, we recommend that you download and install the latest driver for your graphics card, from the manufacturers homepage.

Crashes while solving

If you experience crashes while solving, these could be caused by plots created while solving. In that case, try disabling plots while solving (from the solver sequence) and the generation of convergence plots (from the study node).