Fundamentals

Introduction

This series introduces Pathfinder with no assumption of previous knowledge. The topics covered will include all of the necessary functions to create, customize, and analyze a pedestrian evacuation model. The reader will gain the skills to successfully replicate these actions on other evacuation models.

Review the Interface

In this section and its sub-sections, you will use an existing model to learn the basic operations of Pathfinder.
  1. Download the Pathfinder Fundamentals zip file. Open Windows Explorer and browse to the downloaded file. Right-click Pathfinder-Fundamentals.zip and click Extract All.
  2. From the extracted folder, open Fundamentals.pth to launch Pathfinder with that model.
  3. Review the interface elements as shown in the image below. These will be often referred to throughout this series.
review-interface-1
You have successfully opened the model.
 

View a Model

This section will demonstrate some of the basic options to control your view of the model. Select the various options in the View toolbar and the manipulate the 3D view.
    1. On the View toolbar, click perspective16 Switch to the Perspective View.
The Perspective View allows for complete 3D navigation of the model geometry. This is especially helpful for multi-floor models.
    1. On the View toolbar, click orbit16 3D Orbit Navigation.
    2. Drag the mouse to rotate the camera.
    3. Hold down Shift while dragging the mouse to pan the camera.
    4. Rotate the mouse wheel, or hold down Alt while dragging the mouse, to zoom the camera.
    5. On the View toolbar, click ViewXY Switch to the Top View.
The Top View, as well as the Front View and Left View, focuses on one 2D plane of the model. This enables the Snap Grid and can allow for easier geometry creation.
  1. On the View toolbar, click selection16 Select/Edit Objects.
  2. Hold down the left mouse button and drag to select objects.
  3. Hold down the right mouse button and drag to pan the camera.
  4. Rotate the mouse wheel, or hold down Alt while dragging the mouse, to zoom the camera.
view-model-1
You have successfully learned the basics of viewing a model.
 

Manage Objects

In this section, you will learn how to use the Navigation panel to view, hide, and select objects.
    1. On the View toolbar, click perspective16 Switch to the Perspective View.
This series will assume that the Perspective View is in use.
  1. On the Navigation panel on the Floor list, select floor16 Floor 0.0 ft to show only its objects.
  2. On the Navigation panel, right-click floor16 Floor 10.0 ft and click Show to add its objects to the current view.
  3. On the 3D view, right-click any object and click Hide to remove it from the current view.
  4. On the 3D view, right-click any empty space and click Show All to bring all objects back into the current view.
  5. On the Navigation panel, select Refresh16 Auto Expand Selection.
  6. On the 3D view, click any object. The Navigation panel expands and highlights the matching object in the list.
manage-objects-1
You have successfully learned the basics of managing objects in the Navigation panel.
 

Run a Simulation

In this section, you will learn how to initiate a simulation and analyze the results.
  1. Click Run Simulation.
    The Run Simulation dialog box should open automatically and begin displaying progress. The Results window should display upon completion. If not, click Results.
  2. On the Results window, click Run. The simulation will play until all occupants have exited the model.
  3. On the Playback toolbar, click Increase Speed to play the results twice as fast as real time.
  4. Close the Results window and the Run Simulation dialog box.
run-simulation
You have successfully learned the basics of running a simulation.
 

Create a Model

In this section and its subsections, you will create a complete model which can be ran as a simulation. The steps in this section demonstrate the most fundamental parts of building a model in Pathfinder.
  1. On the Main toolbar, click New16 New Model. If prompted by the Save Changes dialog box, click No.
  2. On the Main toolbar, select en16 Show values in EN units.
  3. On the Main toolbar, click Save16 Save model.
    Save your work often throughout this series.
  4. Create a new folder at C:\Documents\Pathfinder\Getting Started.
  5. In the File Name box, type myFundamentals.pth. Click Save.
create-model-1
You have successfully created and configured a new model.
 

Import Geometry

In this section, you will import geometry from a model created in another CAD software application. This will allow you to draw the navigation mesh faster than starting from a blank file.
    1. On the Main toolbar, Click Import16 Import File.
    2. Navigate to the Pathfinder-Fundamentals folder extracted from Pathfinder-Fundamentals.zip and double-click Pathfinder-Fundamentals.dwg.
    3. On the Import dialog box, select Into the current model and click Next.
    4. Select mm as the file’s length unit. Click Next.
Click Calculate to view information about the model with the selected units. This will help reassure that the selected units are correct. The Model Height for this file is 70.0 ft and is confirmed in this dialog box.
    1. Use the default import settings. Click Next.
    2. Click Finish to import the file.
import-geometry-1
You have successfully imported the model.
 

Extract Floor

In this section, you will create a navigation mesh over the imported floor so that rooms, doors, and occupants can be created.
  1. On the Draw toolbar, click extract16 Extract Floor from Imported Geometry.
  2. On the 3D view, click anywhere on the surface of the first floor.
  3. On the View toolbar, clear composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
extract-floor-1
You have successfully extracted the first floor.
 

Create Doors

In this section, you will create doors over the imported geometry so that rooms are connected and occupants can make decisions about where to go.
    1. On the Draw toolbar, double-click adoor16 Add a New Door.
Double-clicking on an item on the Draw toolbar will make it “sticky”. This status is noted by a green dot on the icon. The tool will remain selected until the Esc key is pressed, so that you may draw multiple objects.
    1. On the property panel in the Max Width box, type 60 in.
    2. On the property panel in the Max Depth box, type 10 in.
    3. On the property panel, click in any other box to set the value.
Increasing these values beyond the maximum measurements of the doorways ensures that Pathfinder will stretch the door to fit the entire width and depth.
  1. On the 3D view, zoom in on a particular doorway. Point to the center of the doorway so that the door is previewed and click.
The door will preview when you have placed the pointer in an appropriate doorway.
The door will preview when you have placed the pointer in an appropriate doorway.
  1. Repeat step 5 for each of the 11 doorways.
    The individual rooms of the first floor are automatically created as the doors are added.
  2. On the 3D view, point to a corner of the outer grounds. Drag to an adjacent corner.
    A door that is only connected to a room on one side will be labeled as an Exit in the Navigation panel. Occupants with default settings will walk towards the exit that is quickest for them. They will disappear from the model after passing through the exit. Pathfinder simulations will not compile without at least one exit.
  3. Repeat step 7 for the other three sides of the outer grounds.
  4. Press Esc once all doors have been created.
create-doors-2
You have successfully created doors and exits.
 

Create Occupants

In this section, you will add occupants to the rooms.
  1. On the Navigation panel, select floor16 Floor 0.0 ft.
  2. On the 3D view, hold down Ctrl and click the elevator rooms and the outdoor floor to unselect.
Your selection should include all of the main rooms.
Your selection should include all of the main rooms.
  1. On the 3D view, right-click any selected area and click Add Occupants.
  2. On the Add Occupants dialog box in the By Number box, type 100. Click OK.
The necessary components for a model are rooms, exits, and occupants. With all of these in place, a simulation can now be run.
create-occupants-2
You have successfully created occupants on the first floor.
 

Add Floors

In this section and its subsections, you will complete the rest of the geometry by adding components for multi-floor models.
  1. On the Navigation panel in the Floor list, select Add New.
  2. On the New Floor dialog box in the Enter Floor Location box, type 10 ft. Click OK.
  3. Repeat steps 1 – 2 for each floor until you have created floor16 Floor 60.0 ft.
  4. On the View toolbar, select composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
  5. On the Navigation panel in the Floor list, select floor16 Floor 10.0 ft.
    Selecting a floor from this list box will set it as the “Active Floor” and hide all other floors.
  6. On the 3D view, right-click the Floor 10.0 ft ceiling and click Hide.
With the ceiling hidden, you should be able to view the floor and walls of the imported geometry.
With the ceiling hidden, you should be able to view the floor and walls of the imported geometry.
  1. On the Draw toolbar, click extract16 Extract Floor from Imported Geometry.
  2. On the 3D view, click anywhere on Floor 10.0 ft.
  3. On the View toolbar, clear composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
  4. Excluding the elevator room doors, add the 9 doors, similar to Floor 0.0 ft in section 3.4.
  5. On the Navigation panel, right-click floor16 Floor 10.0 ft and click Add Occupants.
  6. On the Add Occupants dialog box in the By Number box, type 100. Click OK.
add-floors-2
You have successfully added a new floor and occupants.
 

Copy Floors and Occupants

In this section, you will copy objects from the second floor to other floors of the model. This is faster because the middle floors are identical.
    1. On the Navigation panel, select floor16 Floor 10.0 ft.
    2. On the Draw toolbar, click moveObj16 Copy/Move Objects.
    3. On the property panel, select Copy Mode.
    4. On the property panel in the Copies box, type 4.
    5. On the property panel in the Move Z box, type 10 ft.
    6. On the property panel, click Copy/Move.
    7. On the Navigation panel, expand the occ_group16 Occupants list and select the occupant group on Floor 10.0 ft.
    8. Repeat steps 2 – 6 to create 4 copies of the occupants at 10.0 ft.
Instead of copying occupants, you can randomize the arrangement of each occupant group individually. Right-click a floor in the Navigation panel, click Add Occupants, and complete the Add Occupants dialog box.

Add Rooftop Floor

The top floor is different than the middle floors, so we need to extract it separately.
  1. On the Navigation panel, right-click floor16 Floors and click Show.
  2. On the View toolbar, select composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
  3. On the Draw toolbar, click extract16 Extract Floor from Imported Geometry.
  4. On the 3D view, click anywhere on the rooftop floor.
  5. On the Navigation panel, right-click floor16 Floor 60.0 ft and click Add Occupants.
  6. On the Add Occupants dialog box in the By Number box, type 100. Click OK.
 

Create Landing and Stairs

In this section, you will create a navigation mesh over the imported stairs so that occupants can traverse between floors.
  1. On the Navigation panel in the Floor list, select Show All.
  2. On the View toolbar, select composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
  3. On the Draw toolbar, click extract16 Extract Floor from Imported Geometry
  4. On the 3D view, click anywhere on the landing connected to the four stairs.
The landing connects to the four stairs.
The landing connects to the four stairs.
  1. On the View toolbar, clear composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
  2. On the Draw toolbar, click astairs216 Create stairs between two edges by choosing a point on each.
  3. For one of the four stairs connected to the bottom landing, click a point along the bottom and top edge to create the stairs.
    Before the first click, a line will appear when the pointer is on an acceptable edge. Before the second click, the stairs will appear when the pointer is on an acceptable edge.
  4. Repeat steps 6 – 7 for the other three stairs connected to the bottom landing.
create-stairs-2
You have successfully created stairs.
 

Copy Landings and Stairs

  1. On the 3D view, hold down Ctrl while clicking the four stairs and the landing.
  2. On the Draw toolbar, click moveObj16 Copy/Move Objects.
  3. On the property panel, select Copy Mode.
  4. On the property panel in the Copies box, type 5.
  5. On the property panel in the Move Z box, type 10 ft.
  6. On the property panel, click Copy/Move.
copy-objects-1
You have successfully copied objects in the model.
 

Create Elevators

In this section, you will create elevators. This will complete the model’s geometry.
  1. On the Navigation panel in the Floor list, select floor16 Floor 0.0 ft.
  2. On the View toolbar, clear composite16 Show Imported Geometry.
  3. On the 3D view, right-click one of the two elevator rooms. Click Create Elevator.
  4. On the New Elevator dialog box, click OK.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 for the other elevator room.
create-elevators-1
You have successfully created elevators.
 

Modify Occupants

In this section and its subsections, you will customize the way that the occupants interact with the model. This allows for greater customization and accuracy in various scenarios.
  1. On the Navigation panel in the Floor list, select Show All. Expand the occ_group16 Occupants list.
  2. Right-click the occupant group on Floor 0.0 Ft and click Rename.
  3. On the Rename dialog box in the Enter the new name box, type Floor 1. Click OK.
  4. Repeat steps 2 – 3 for Floor 2Floor 6 occupant groups. Rename the final occupant group as Rooftop.
  5. On the Navigation panel, select the Floor 1 occupant group.
  6. On the property panel, select Color. Click the color box.
  7. On the Color dialog box in the Color Code box, type FF2222. Click OK.
  8. Repeat steps 5 – 7 for Floor 2Floor 6 occupant groups to make them each different colors. Leave the Rooftop occupant group as their default color.
    You can use the Palette tab on the Color dialog box to select predefined colors.
modify-occupants-1
You have successfully renamed and colored the occupant groups.
 

Create Behaviors

In this section, you will create a behavior for occupants to use the elevator. During evacuation, it has been observed that occupants on lower floors are more likely to use stairs than occupants on higher floors. We will use behaviors to assign different probabilities of stair usage by floor. In general, behaviors define a list of goals that occupants will accomplish before they exit or go to a refuge room. 
  1. On the Navigation panel, right-click script16 Behaviors and click Add a Behavior.
  2. On the New Behavior dialog box in the Name box, type Elevator. Click OK.
  3. On the property panel, select elevator16 Goto Elevators from the Add Action list.
  4. On the property panel, click Create.
  5. On the Navigation panel, right-click the occ_group16 Floor 3 occupant group and click Properties.
  6. On the Edit Group Distributions dialog box, click the Behavior link.
  7. On the Behavior dialog box, enter 10 next to the Elevator behavior and enter 90 next to the Goto Any Exit behavior.
  8. Click OK on both dialog boxes.
  9. Repeat steps 5 – 8 for the Floor 4 and Floor 5 occupant groups. Use 20 and 80 as the Elevator and Goto Any Exit distribution percentages.
  10. Repeat steps 5 – 8 for the Floor 6 and Rooftop occupant groups. Use 30 and 70 as the Elevator and Goto Any Exit distribution percentages.
create-behaviors-1
You have successfully created a behavior and distributed it to occupant groups.
 

Create Profiles

In this section you will create occupant profiles so that each individual occupant has different characteristics.
  1. On the Navigation panel, right-click occ_profile16 Profiles and click Add a Profile.
  2. On the New Profile dialog box in the Name box, type Office. Click OK.
  3. On the Edit Profiles dialog box on the 3D Model box, click the list of models.
  4. On the 3D Model dialog box, select models that represent a typical office environment. Click OK.
  5. On the Edit Profiles dialog box on the Characteristics tab in the Speed list, select Uniform.
  6. On the Uniform Distribution dialog box in the Min box, type 2.0.
  7. On the Uniform Distribution dialog box in the Max box, type 4.3. Click OK.
  8. On the Edit Profiles dialog box, click Apply.
  9. On the Edit Profiles dialog box, click New.
  10. Repeat steps 2 – 8 for an Apartment profile. Use casually dressed models. Use a uniform speed of [3.0 ft/s, 5.3 ft/s]. Click Apply.
  11. On the Edit Profiles dialog box, select Default and click Delete.
  12. On the Remove dialog box, click Yes. On the Profile in Use dialog box on the Replace with box, select Office and click OK.
The profiles are ready to be assigned.
The profiles are ready to be assigned.
  1. On the Edit Profiles dialog box, click OK.
  2. On the Navigation panel, right-click the occ_profile16 Rooftop occupant group and click Properties.
  3. On the Edit Group Distributions dialog box, click the Profile link.
  4. On the Profile dialog box in the Rooftop box, click Distribute Evenly. Click OK.
  5. On the Edit Group Distributions dialog box, click OK.
  6. Repeat steps 14 – 17 for floor16 Floor 5floor16 Floor 6 and assign 100% of the occupants the Apartment profile.
create-profiles-2
You have successfully created profiles and distritubed them to occupant groups.
 

Analyze Results

In this section and its subsections, you will compile a simulation, explore the post-processing options, and create a video report.
  1. On the Main toolbar, click run16 Run Simulation.
  2. Close the Run Simulation dialog box.
  3. On the Main toolbar, click results2D16 View Room Usage.
  4. On the Occupant Counts window on the Navigation panel, clear all and select Level 0.0 ft. This is the usage of the first elevator.
  5. Close the Occupant Counts window.
 
 
You have successfully compiled the simulation and viewed the first results option in Pathfinder.
 

Modify Contours

In this section, you will load contour plot data and modify the output display.
    1. On the Main toolbar, click pf_results_16 View 3D Results.
    2. On the 3D Results window on the Navigation panel, double-click the contours16 Time to Exit contour plot.
    3. On the Optimize Contour dialog box, click Yes.
Generating Occupant Contour dialog box has completed, click Play1Normal Play to view the results with the contour overlay.
  • On the Navigation panel, right-click the contours16 Time to Exit contour plot and click Properties.
  • On the Time to Exit Properties dialog box on the Feather Amount box, type 1. Click OK.
 
Adding Feathering to the plot will hide some of the noise and clean up the visualization.
 
  • Close the 3D Results window once you are done viewing the contour.
  view-contours-1
You have successfully modified and viewed a contour plot.
 

Create Camera Tour

In this section, you will create a camera tour to highlight key areas in the simulation. These instructions are for Pathfinder 2018.3 and later where we create the camera tour in the Results view. In earlier versions, you create the camera tour in Pathfinder. 
  1. In the Results view, on the Navigation panel right-click cameras16 Views and click New Tour.
  2. On the View toolbar, click ZoomFit16 Reset All to show the rooftop view. Scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in and get a closer view. Move the viewpoint so that you are looking at the elevator doors.
  3. On the property panel, click Add. Set the Time to 0 and the Transition to Stationary. This means we will hold the first view.
  4. Move the time slider to about 10 seconds.
  5. On the property panel, click Add. Set the Time to 10 and the Transition to Move to Next. This means at 10 seconds we will begin to move to the next keyframe.
  6. On the 3D view, drag to rotate down to the front face of the building with the stairs. Pan and zoom as necessary to capture the whole building inside the 3D view.
  7. Move the time slider to about 30 seconds.
  8. On the property panel, click Add. Set the Time to 30 and the Transition to Stationary. This means we will hold this view.
  9. Move the time slider to about 40 seconds.
  10. On the property panel, click Add. Set the Time to 40 and click Close to complete the tour. This is the end of the tour.
  11. To run the tour,
  12. Double-click Tour, move the time slider to 0 seconds and click Play.
 
 
You have successfully created a camera tour.

Create Movie

In this section, you will create a video file using the tour.
  1. On the 3D Results window on the Navigation panel, double-click the camera_tour16 Tour camera tour.
  2. On the Navigation panel, double-click the contours16 Density contour plot.
  3. Move the time slider to 0 seconds.
  4. On the File menu, click Create Movie.
  5. Save the file as C:\Documents\Pathfinder\Getting Started\Fundamentals.wmv.
  6. On the Movie Properties dialog box click OK.
  7. Once the Movie Progress dialog box completes, the file should play in your default video player application.
create-movie-1
You have successfully created a results movie.
 

Conclusion

Thank you for completing the Pathfinder Fundamentals series. You should now have a basic understanding of the basics. There are still more advanced topics to cover. Refer to Pathfinder Support for additional learning material, or visit our Training page for details on instructor led courses.