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Viewing Raster Metafiles With Framer


Framer is an unsupported utility program that was included with discontinued versions of Tecplot 360. It allows you to view files stored in Raster Metafile format and runs independently of Tecplot 360. Raster Metafile is a NASA-defined standard format for storing bit images and may contain one or more images.

The last version of Tecplot 360 that included framer.exe was Tecplot 360 2013. As Raster Metafiles (.rm) have become less common, this .rm file viewer is no longer included in Tecplot products. Framer is not compatible on modern Linux operating systems. However, framer.exe may be helpful to users with archives of .rm files, so it has been included in this article.


How can I view Raster Metafiles?


There are a couple solutions to this question:

1)  Download the unsupported framer.exe and use this executable to view Raster Metafiles:

[Download framer.exe]

To launch Framer at a Windows command line use the following command:

framer [options] [rmfile]

  • [options] is one or more of the options listed in the table at the bottom of this article.
  • [rmfile] is the name of a file containing Raster Metafile bitmaps created by Tecplot 360.

2)  Convert .rm files to .avi format. For more information on how to do this, see this KB article: Converting Raster Metafiles to AVI File Format.

Framer Options:

-b [nf] Use buffered mode. Framer reads nf frames into memory and displays only those
frames. Frames not read are not displayed. This mode displays images much faster, but
requires extra memory. If nf is not specified, Framer reads as many frames as possible
up to the total limit on frames (see -max parameter).
-c nc
Use no more than nc colors (X-Windows only). On some machines, you may need to use
“-c 128” to allow two copies of Framer to run at the same time.
-cycle nn
Start Framer in “cycle” mode (as if C were pressed), and continue for nn complete
cycles, and then exit.
-d dfile
Send debug information to dfile. Use “-d2,” “-d3,” “-d4,”, etc., for more detailed debug
 -f start,end,skip
Display frames starting with frame number start and ending with frame number end,
skipping by skip frames.
Use gray scale
Print help information.
-loop nn
Start Framer in “loop” mode (as if L were pressed), and continue for nn complete loops,
and then exit.
-m Allow for multiple color maps. Without this flag, Framer assumes the first color map in
the Raster Metafile is valid for all images in that file.
-max nn Specify upper limit on total number of images in the Raster Metafile. The default value
is 512.
-noinfo Do not print initial copyright notice, help info, or count of buffered frames.
-p ms Pause at least ms milliseconds between each frame. This does not affect the rate of the
single frame keys (+ and -).
-s Use only a single color map for all images in the file. This option may result in better
performance and reduce flickering on some platforms. However, image files that use
multiple color maps will not be displayed correctly.
-w wc Width correction. (Use “-w -1” for Tecplot Version 4 images.)
-x Run full screen.

If you do not specify a file name, Framer prompts you for one.
While Framer is running, you can press the following keys to control it:

B Move backward through frames (or left mouse button).
C Cycle forward and backward through frames.
F Move forward through frames (or middle mouse button on a three-button mouse or right mouse button
on a two button mouse).
L Loop repeatedly forward through frames.
Q Quit Framer (or right mouse button on three button mouse) or ESC key.
S Stop cycling or looping (or spacebar).
R Redraw the active frame.
1 Move to the first frame.
+ Move forward one frame.
Move backward one frame.
< Increase the minimum delay between frames by 50 milliseconds. This decreases the speed at which frames
are displayed.
> Decrease the minimum delay between frames by 50 milliseconds. This increases the speed at which frames
are displayed.