catenoid tombstone The Surface Evolver
Version 2.70
August 25, 2013

My Surface Evolver is an interactive program for the modelling of liquid surfaces shaped by various forces and constraints. The program is available free of charge.


Download Surface Evolver

All the download packages unpack to local files, and thus do not need administrative permission to install. There are no installation programs to run after unpacking. This chapter explains how to get and install the Evolver. Evolver is written to be portable between systems. There are pre-compiled versions for Windows and Macintosh; source files and a Makefile are provided for unix/Linux systems.

The distribution packages for various systems are available from the Evolver homepage. Each package also contains documentation and sample datafiles and scripts. The documentation subdirectory is named doc, and contains the manual in PDF format, an HTML version of the documentation (except for the mathematical parts), and a brief unix man page evolver.1. The HTML files are also used by the Evolver help command. The samples are in the subdirectory fe (which is the file extension I use for datafiles; it stands for "facet-edge," referring to the internal structure of surfaces in the Evolver). Below are instructions for standard packages:

The complete manual in PDF format is separately available as manual270.pdf.

Microsoft Windows version

The distributions available here include both the 32-bit version of Evolver (evolver.exe) and the 64-bit version (evolver64.exe). The 64-bit version is meant for very large models (hundreds of thousands of facets). Unless you have such a large surface, use the 32-bit version since it is 10 to 20 percent faster, having less data to move around.

There are now two alternative ways to install Evolver:

I. Download Evolver-2.70-Win32.msi and run it.

This is an installation program that will lead you through all steps and options in the installation procedure. It will automatically set up the environment variables described below and copy files to folders. Puts the Evolver executables on your PATH, and associates the .fe extension with Evolver, so clicking on a datafile launches it. Includes both the 32-bit version (evolver.exe) and the 64-bit version (evolver64.exe). NOTE: if you installed version 2.50 this way, then you will have to first uninstall version 2.50 by going to Control Panel, Programs and Features, and uninstall Surface Evolver. This will remove all the files in the previous installation, but leave alone any other files you may have added to say the fe folder.

II. Download evolver2.70-Win32.zip.

For an old-fashioned do-it-yourself installation, this file has the executable files evolver.exe and evolver64.exe along with the documentation and sample datafile subdirectories. Steps to follow after downloading:
  1. Create a directory (such as C:\evolver), and unzip the distribution package there.
  2. Add your installation directory ro your PATH (Control Panel/System/Advanced System Settings/Environment Variables/System Variables/PATH/Edit) or you can copy evolver.exe to someplace in your PATH, such as C:\windows\system32.
  3. You should also create an environment variable EVOLVERPATH telling Evolver where to search for various files. Do this by opening Control Panel/System/Advanced/Environment Variables, clicking New under System Variables, entering EVOLVERPATH for the Variable name, and c:\evolver\fe;c:\evolver\doc for the Variable value. You may add further paths of your own to this list if you wish.
  4. To make Evolver start automatically when you click on a *.fe file, you can associate Evolver with the file extension .fe by opening My Computer/Tools/Folder Options/File Types/New, entering the File Extension fe, clicking OK, clicking Change, and browsing for the evolver.exe program. (This sequence of actions may vary on different Windows versions.)

The Windows version uses OpenGL/GLUT graphics. OpenGL is standard in Windows, and all the necessary GLUT components are included in the executable, so you don't have to install anything.


Unix version of the Surface Evolver

Instructions for installing the Surface Evolver on unix-style systems. Evolver compiles on 64 bit systems as well as 32 bit systems.

Quick start:
1. Download evolver-2.70.tar.gz.
2. Unpack the Evolver archive.
3. In the src subdirectory, edit Makefile to uncomment the lines for your system.
4. Run "make".
5. Test by running "./evolver ../fe/cube.fe"

Detailed instructions: See the the complete unix installation instructions.


Macintosh OSX version of the Surface Evolver

WARNING: The version posted should run on OS X version 10.4 and later. I have had a report of funky graphics on 10.7.4, but I have not been able to test that. I have tested it on 10.6.8 and 10.8 without problem.

Download Evolver270-OSX.tar.gz This should unpack to a folder named Evolver270-OSX with contents:

The unpacked folder probably wound up on the Desktop; you may want to move it somewhere else. I will assume you move it to /Users/yourname/Evolver. You should create an environment variable EVOLVERPATH with paths to datafiles and the HTML documentation files by putting the following line in your .tcshrc file:

      setenv EVOLVERPATH "/Users/yourname/Evolver/fe:/Users/yourname/Evolver/doc"
so Evolver can find files.

NOTE: Evolver has to be started from a terminal window, since it uses a command line interface.

If you want to compile Evolver yourself, get the unix version and uncomment the MAC OSX lines in the Makefile.



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