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Things You Didn't Know About Virtuoso: Thumbnails

Comments(8)Filed under: Custom IC Design, Virtuoso, IC 6.1.4, IC 6.1, thumbnails

Boy, you must think we're a few sandwiches short of a picnic over here at Cadence.  

A couple of months ago we came out with this great new Virtuoso software release (IC 6.1.4).  So, despite my best efforts to get you to use the recently-opened files list or to create bookmarks, the first thing you did after starting virtuoso was open the Library Manager.  (Don't try to deny it, I know you did...). 

So there's the Library Manager with your libraries all neatly grouped and color-coordinated, and down in the lower right corner of the window, there's now a little black square.  You say to yourself, "Wow, that's the one new feature I was hoping for in this new release...a little black square in the corner of the Library Manager.  Thanks, Cadence!".  (Actually, you probably thought something not so suitable for a family-friendly blog such as this.) 

Well, before you run off and start tweeting all your friends about how Cadence has had another brain fart, read on a bit and let me tell you how to unlock the magic of that little black box.

Thumbnails, my friends.  Thumbnails are the wave of the future.  And thumbnails are what that little black box is for.  But first you've got to create them and that's why the box is empty right now.

So, to create thumbnails for the cellviews in your library, just RMB over a library name or a cell name or a schematic, symbol or layout view name and select "Update Thumbnails" (or select Edit->Update Thumbnails from the main menu). 

Now the little box will contain a small image of the cellview so you'll know it's the right one without having to open it.  These thumbnails will also appear when you use the File->Open... form to browse for a cellview.




So, now that we've begun exploring the wondrous diminuitive world of thumbnails, leave a comment to let us know where else you think thumbnails might be useful in the future...

Stacy Whiteman



By Gilles S.C. LAMANT on March 6, 2010
Note that in IC 614 when you save from Virtuoso Tools such as VSE or VLS, a thumbnail is automatically generated for you, or updated to reflect the latest save you have made...
And don't worry... Your favorite DM system will recognize these extra little files... we remembered to update the registry files !

By vader on March 20, 2010
There are APIs to generate your own thumbnails. The default size of our thumbnails is probably too small for anything but a visual cue of each cellview. But come that important design review time, you can generate en masse larger thumbnails for your entire design library (or individual cellviews) to be included in your favorite word processor.

By SL on April 26, 2011
Is there any function that allow this new thumbnail feature to be used outside the library manager?
for example, in my GUI i would like this feature in it, is it possible? Please email me if this is possible thanks

By stacyw on April 29, 2011
The thumbnails are stored as png files in the cellview directory, so you could go into the myLib/myCell/schematic directory, for example and get "thumbnail_128x128.png" for a given cell to use elsewhere.  Check out the Cadence Library Manager User Guide for more details about generating thumbnails.

By acook on March 11, 2013
Is there a way to change the default thumbnail size?

By stacyw on March 15, 2013
Hi,  At present, you cannot change the default size of the thumbnails.  You can, however, use the Skill function hiGenerateThumbnails to generate thumbnails of other sizes.  The tools will still only use the 128x128 size, but you could generate other sizes for use in other applications.  For example: hiGenerateThumbnails(?lib "myLib" ?view "schematic" ?sizes list(256:256 1024:1024)) would generate thumbnails for all schematics in myLib of the 2 sizes listed.  Search the documentation for more examples and arguments to the function.  Thanks!

By JamesR on June 19, 2013
I'm running, turned on 4 ui.thumbnails settings, and the black box in the Library manager is simply not there.   I can check&save schematics and get a .png, so it seems the ui.thumbnails settings are certainly enabled.  Are there more cdsenv settings for the Library Manager?  Do they have to be set before the first time you start the LibMgr?

By stacyw on August 9, 2013
Hi James,  Not sure why the thumbnail box doesn't show up for you.  Do you by any chance have a custom library manager at your company?   The env vars for thumbnails are:  ui.thumbnails "enable", "display", "generate", "verbose" and "stopLevel".  If this problem persists, please contact Customer Support so we can figure out what is going wrong.  Thanks, Stacy

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