Zemax Learning Paths


Getting started with ZOS-API

Getting Started with ZOS-API is designed to get you up to speed quickly with the powerful features of ZOS-API. This Learning Path is divided into steps that will teach you how to efficiently use ZOS-API to create or modify optical systems, and extract data from OpticStudio.

Get Started:

Find out how ZOS-API can be useful in expanding OpticStudio capabilities, and what are the differences between ZOS-API, APL macros, DLLs or DDE.
  1. What is ZOS-API and what can it be used for?
  2. What are the differences between ZOS-API, ZPL and DLL?
  3. DDE and ZOS-API: Why and how switch to ZOS-API
Learn which external packages can work with ZOS-API, how to install them and how to connect to OpticStudio​
  1. Which tools can connect to OpticStudio via ZOS-API?
    Which versions of OpticStudio support ZOS-API? ​
  2. Installation and connection. Click the icon for your language to view installation and connection instructions. (Note that no specific installation and connection steps are required for MATLAB)
Discover the basics of ZOS-API structure and learn how to navigate through the ZOS-API Syntax Help File.​

This lesson explains the different modes and presents the main interfaces to access ZOS-API as well as some “tips and tricks” to help you become an expert in no time.​
  1. Creating a Standalone Application I: MATLAB & ZOS-API.NET
  2. Creating a Standalone Application II: How to build and optimize a singlet with Python
  3. Connecting to the Interactive Extension using:
  4. Interactive Extension: FAQ
  5. How to create a User-Extension: Converting from Chebyshev to Extended Polynomial
  6. How to create a User-Analysis: Time-of-flight analysis
  7. How to create a User-Operand​: Thickness control operand


Imaging system fundamentals

Learn the key steps in imaging system design with OpticStudio. Discover how to setup, analyze, optimise and tolerance a simple imaging system in OpticStudio sequential mode. You’ll also find out how to export your system to CAD and output lens specification as an ISO 10110 compliant drawing for manufacture.

Get Started:

This is the very first step to understanding the sequential mode of OpticStudio. The article gives an introduction to the software interface while touching on fundamental design concepts and strategies needed to create a sequential system according to the system specifications. 

How to design a singlet lens, Part 1: Setup
There are many different analysis features included in OpticStudio, each of which can be used to  evaluate the performance of a design. In this article, we will use four of the more common types of analyses to evaluate the performance of the singlet. 

How to design a singlet lens, Part 2: Analysis
There are certainly limits as to how well a singlet can perform, but OpticStudio can 
be used to find a better solution than the one which currently exists. 

How to design a singlet lens, Part 3: Optimization
Tolerancing is the process by which the effects of manufacturing defects and alignment errors are considered, so that the 'as built' design meets its intended specification. 

How to perform a sequential tolerance analysis
In the creation of an optomechanical system, the optical engineer needs to be able to share his finalized optical design with the mechanical engineer, so that the mechanical geometry around the assembly can be built and b virtual prototype of the full optomechanical design can be created. 

How to export a lens to CAD
The ISO Element Drawing represents an ideal way of specifying a system's elements for production, as it may be used to create an ISO 10110 compliant drawing for single surfaces, singlets or doublets. The output is ideally suitable for use in optical shop fabrication, as this standard is widely used in the optics manufacturing industry. 

How to use the ISO Element Drawing


Illumination systems fundamentals

This Learning Path will provide the fundamental skills necessary for illumination design to build on for more advanced tasks. First, the fundamental theory and concepts that are essential for illumination design will be explained. Followed up with various fundamental lens design forms that are particular to illumination design. Essential aspects of how to create a new non-sequential system, such as setting up system properties, inserting objects and setting parameters, identifying common errors, and exporting optical ray data will be explored.​

Get Started:

Discover the basics of illumination systems here. Answers to questions like “What is illumination system design?” and “What kind of units are expected in illumination?” are provided. The basic theory and background is presented, and the possible performance targets for illumination systems are defined.

 Learn how to use the essential components of an illumination system here. The building blocks of illuminations systems such as various light sources and typical detectors, as well as how to use these components are explored here. Also, non-optical components that can influence the illumination design outcome are explored.
Build the skills necessary to perform the illumination design here. The "how to's" on setting up the system for optical simulation, an in-depth explanation of a typical illumination design process, and the optimization process are provided.​
A shortlist and summary of the typical lens design forms used in illumination is provided here. Take the essential examples of illumination lens design forms and learn the step-by-step process of setting up the lens design form.

Learn how to export the results of an illumination lens design into the necessary formats for manufacture and for analysis.


Getting started with OpticsViewer

Discover how to view optical performance, prescription and manufacturing data in OpticsViewer. Follow these tutorials to master commons workflows that will let you access the information you and your team need, when you need it.

Get Started:

Use OpticsViewer to load any sequential OpticStudio file without loss of precision or information. All design data is available, including design targets and tolerance ranges.

File Viewer

OpticsViewer users can export and import Zemax file types to share designs between OpticsViewer and OpticStudio or LensMechanix. This tutorial shows you how.

File Sharing

This article describes how users can easily generate an ISO 10110 Element drawing in OpticsViewer.

Technical drawings

This tutorial introduces you to some of the powerful capabilities available in OpticStudio for analyzing your optical systems, and explains how to visualize and interact with the output data.

Performance analysis

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.

Parameter visualization

OpticsViewer offers several capabilities that support design for manufacture, and the Cost Estimator takes the concept to new heights by allowing users to get real-time cost estimates direct from manufacturers. This tool uses an XML file, generated from data in the ISO 10110 drawing to ensure a seamless data exchange.

How to get real-time lens prototype costs in OpticsViewer


Getting started with OpticsBuilder

Learn how to easily convert optical designs into CAD, analyze the affect mechanical components have on optical performance by performing a stray light check, and easily create ISO 10110 optical drawings with automated data. Follow these tutorials to work more efficiently with the optical product team and speed up your time to market with better accuracy.

Get Started:

This article explains the installation and licensing process for OpticsBuilder. OpticsBuilder uses the Zemax License Manager to manage access to License Administrators and End Users. Installation of the Zemax License Manager and OpticsBuilder software is discussed, as well as troubleshooting issues an End User could encounter. The Zemax Setup Troubleshooter tool is introduced as a new tool to analyze an End User computer and highlight installation and licensing issues.

OpticsBuilder licensing and installation
Learn how the Prepare for OpticsBuilder tool converts OpticStudio lens files (ZMX and ZAR files) to the ZBD file format that helps to maintain design fidelity through handoff to other design team members, such as CAD users that use OpticsBuilder. Prepare for OpticsBuilder prepares the file to be sent out by converting to non-sequential, generating critical rays, gathering automated drawing information, and packaging everything into one file format.

Prepare for OpticsBuilder

The Prepare for OpticsBuilder feature inside of OpticStudio ensures that all supporting data is grouped with the optical design. The data includes (but is not limited to): the lens material, coatings, source definition, and manufacturing drawing data. The resulting OpticsBuilder (.ZBD) file loads all necessary information into the CAD software.

How to load an OpticsBuilder (.ZBD) file

The .ZBD file created from the Prepare for OpticsBuilder tool in OpticStudio contains all of the design information as well as the relevant simulation settings. Using the default settings, an OpticsBuilder user can immediately begin the design phase and simulate performance with a single click in the Command Manager.

How to perform a simulation in OpticsBuilder

Learn how to use OpticsBuilder to create automated drawings, including drawings with custom templates, within SOLIDWORKS.

OpticsBuilder drawing tutorial (SolidWorks)

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