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Options for 3-D Plots









The options listed below may be provided to commands that create 3-D plots. These options can be used with the plot3d command and are generally available to all Maple commands that generate 3-D plots.  The help page for a particular command provides more detail about the plotting options it accepts.


See the plot/options help page for options applicable to 2-D plots.


For an interactive method of exploring the options in the plot3d command, use the Interactive Plot Builder.






Specifies whether the plotd3d command will attempt to adapt the domain if any of the initially computed values are not numeric. This can improve the smoothness of edges at which the surface expression becomes undefined. If any grid points are adjusted then a MESH structure is returned, otherwise the default structure is returned for the given calling sequence. The default for this option is true.



ambientlight=[r, g, b]


This option sets the red, green, and blue intensity of the ambient light for user defined lighting.  The values of r, g, and b must be numeric in the range 0 to 1.





This option specifies how the axes are to be drawn, where f is one of boxed, normal, frame, or none.  The default value is boxed.





This option defines the font for the labels on the tick marks of the axes, specified in the same manner as font. This option overrides values specified for font.



axis=t or axis[dir]=t


Specifies information about the x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis.  The first form axis=t applies the information given in t to all three axes.  The second form allows the information to be specified for a single axis or two axes, with dir taking the value 1 (x-axis), 2 (y-axis), 3 (z-axis), or a sequence of two of these values. For details, see plot/axis.





The caption for the plot.  The value of c must be a string or a list consisting of the caption followed by the captionfont option.  The default is no caption. You can create multi-line captions for standard plots. Use the characters \n to start a new caption line.





This option defines the font for plot captions, specified in the same manner as font. This option overrides values specified for font.



color=c or colour=c


This option defines the color of a plot. c is often a predefined color name (see plot/color) or a color function (see plot3d/colorfunc). For details on these and other ways to specify color, see plot/color. Note that color specification takes precedence over shading specification, regardless of the order of the options in the command.



colorbar or colorbar=L


This option specifies that a color bar should be displayed alongside the plot. The color bar will be created with the colorscheme specified and any options in the list L if provided (see plot/colorbar for a full list of available options). A warning will be issued if it is not possible to create a color bar for the plot (e.g. with the default surface coloring which is a non-linear coloring based on x and y coordinates).



contours = n


This option specifies the number of contours or a list of contour values, where n is a positive integer or a list of contour values. The default value is 10.





This option specifies the coordinate system to be used.  The default is Cartesian. For information on other coordinate systems, see plot3d/coords.



filled=truefalse or list


If the filled option is set to true, the region between the surface and the x-y plane is displayed as solid.  The value of the filled option can also be a list containing one or more suboptions (color, style or transparency). The options in the list are applied only to the filled area, and not to the original surface itself. This option does not work with non-Cartesian coordinate systems.





If the filledregions option is set to true, the regions defined by the curves on a surface are filled with different colors. This option is valid only with the following commands: contourplot3d, listcontplot3d, and plot3d with the style=contour option. This option does not work with non-Cartesian coordinate systems.





This option defines the font for the plot title, caption, axis tickmark labels, and axis labels if no values have been specified for the axesfont, captionfont, labelfont, or titlefont options. The value l is a list of the form  [family, style, size].


The value of family can be one of Times, Courier, Helvetica, or Symbol. It can also be any font name supported by your system, for example, Tahoma and Lucida in Windows. The first letter of the family name must be capitalized.


The value of style can be omitted or one of roman, bold, italic, bolditalic, oblique, or boldoblique.


The Symbol family does not accept a style option.


The final value, size, is the point size to be used.





This option specifies the glossiness of a plotted surface.  The glossiness value g, which controls the amount of light reflected from the surface, must evaluate to a floating-point number in the range 0 to 1. A value of 0 results in no light reflected, giving the surface a matte or dull finish, while a value of 1 results in maximum reflection, giving a glossy finish.  The default value is 1.


Reflections can be rendered only if point light sources are enabled.  Either one of the built-in light models or a user specified lightmodel with at least one light source must be enabled, using the lightmodel or light option.





This option specifies the dimensions of a rectangular grid on which the points are generated (equally spaced). The default value is [49, 49].


Note: The value of the grid option may affect the look of the surface wireframe. For more information, see the note under the style option below.





This option specifies a grid x as either rectangular or triangular.  This option is not available for all 3-D plot objects. For example, it has no effect on polyhedra created with the plots[polyhedraplot] command or with the plot3d command combined with the filled=true option.





This option allows you to color a surface with an image. The value t must be an image created through the ImageTools package or the name of a file that can be read by the ImageTools:-Read command. This option is available for only the plot3d command, the plots:-surfdata command and 3-D plotting commands that use plot3d to create their results. In some cases, the image is rescaled to improve performance.



labeldirections=[x, y, z]


This option specifies the direction in which labels are printed along the axes.  The values of x, y, and z must be horizontal or vertical.  The default direction of any labels is horizontal.  The axes option must be set to boxed, frame, or normal.





This option defines the font for the labels on the axes of the plot, specified in the same manner as font. This option overrides values specified for font.



labels=[x, y, z]


This option specifies labels for the axes. The value of x, y, and z must be a string. The default labels are the names of the variables in the original function to be plotted.



light=[phi, theta, r, g, b]


This option adds a directed light source from the direction phi, theta in spherical coordinates with red, green, and blue intensities given by r, g, and b.  The values of r, g, and b must be numeric in the range 0 to 1.





This option chooses a predefined light model to illuminate the plot.  Valid light models include none, light1, light2, light3, and light4.  The value must be in lowercase.  The default value is light3.





Controls the line style of curves. The linestyle value t can be one of the following names: solid, dot, dash, dashdot, longdash, spacedash, spacedot.  The default value of t is solid. The value t can also be an integer from 1 to 7, where each integer represents a line style, as given in the order above.





This option specifies the minimum total number of points to be generated for a curve or a surface. The default value is 49. If the numpoints=n option is provided, then the plot3d command uses a rectangular grid of dimension isqrt(n+3)+1. Otherwise, the plot3d command uses the default value for the grid option, as described above.



orientation=[theta, phi, psi]


This orientation specified by these angles is obtained by rotating the plot psi about the x-axis, then phi about the (transformed) y-axis, and then theta about the (transformed) z-axis. These angles, given in degrees, are the Euler angles for the transformation matrix, using the axes specified. The angle psi is optional and is assumed to be 0 if not given. If the orientation option is not specified, the default value used is [55, 75, 0].





This option specifies the perspective from which the surface is viewed, where r is a real number between 0 and 1.  The 1 denotes orthogonal projection, and the 0 denotes wide-angle perspective rendering. r can also be the one of the names, fisheye, normal, or orthogonal, which correspond to the projection values 0, 0.5, and 1, respectively.  The default is orthogonal.



scaling=s This option controls the scaling of the graph. The default value of s is unconstrained, which means the plot is scaled to fit the plot window. The constrained value causes all axes to use the same scale, so that, for example, a sphere appears perfectly round.





This option specifies how the surface is colored, where s is one of xy, xyz, z, zgrayscale, zhue, or none.  The default is device dependent.  Note that color specification takes precedence over shading specification, regardless of the order of the options in the command.





Specifies the size of the plot window.  You can set the size of the plot window by specifying the number of pixels, a proportion of worksheet width, or a ratio, such as a square, the golden ratio, or a custom ratio.


The width w must be a positive numeric value or the string "default".


The height h must be a positive numeric value, or one of the following strings: "default", "golden", or "square".


If w or h is a number greater than or equal to 10, it specifies the number of pixels for the width or height.


If either is "default", then the default size, which may be interface-specific, is used.


If w is a number less than 10, then the plot window width is w multiplied by the width of the worksheet. This form for w is ignored if the plot is part of a plot array. If h is a number less than 10, then the height is h multiplied by the width of the plot window as given by w.


If h is "square", then this is equivalent to h having the value 1.0. If h is "golden", then this is equivalent to h having the value equal to the reciprocal of the golden ratio (12+52).





The plot style must be one of surface (patchnogrid), surfacewireframe (patch), contour, surfacecontour (patchcontour), wireframe (line), wireframeopaque (hidden), point, or pointline.  The names in parentheses are aliases for the option values. The default style is surfacewireframe.  The value surface results in a colored surface patch rendering.  The values wireframe and contour produce a wireframe and contour lines respectively. The value wireframeopaque produces a wireframe over an opaque surface.  The value point results in a plot of the sample points only.


Note: The surface is rendered using the specified grid dimensions (see the grid option above).  When the style option is set to surfacewireframe (the default), a wireframe corresponding to the grid is drawn. Some gridlines may be omitted to avoid a very dense wireframe.





This option defines the symbol for points in the plot. s is one of asterisk, box, circle, cross, diagonalcross, diamond, point, solidsphere, or sphere. Note: If the style is set to point, the default symbol is plot device specific.





The size (in points) of a symbol used in plotting can be given by a positive integer. This does not affect the symbol point. The default symbol size is 10.





This option specifies the thickness of lines in the plot. The thickness n must be a non-negative integer. The default thickness is 0.



tickmarks=[m, n, p]


The values m, n and p specify the tickmark placement for the x, y, and z axes respectively and can take one of the following forms: an integer specifying the number of tickmarks, a list of values specifying locations, a list of equations each having the form location=label, or a spacing structure.  For more details, see plot/tickmarks.


For greater control over the appearance of tickmarks, use the axis option.  If the axis option is also provided and contains a tickmarks suboption, then that option overrides this tickmarks option.





The title for the plot.  The value of t must be a string or a list consisting of the title followed by the font option. The default is no title. You can create multi-line titles for standard plots. Use the characters \n to start a new title line.





This option defines the font for the title of the plot, specified in the same manner as font. This option overrides values specified for font.





This option specifies the transparency of the plot surface. The transparency t must evaluate to a floating-point number in the range 0 to 1.  A value of 0 means "not transparent" while a value of 1 means "fully transparent."





This option, with t set to true, indicates that units are part of the function or range arguments and should be included in the axes labels. The value t can also be a list of units. Details about the useunits option is available on the plot/units help page.



view=zmin..zmax or [xmin..xmax, ymin..ymax, zmin..zmax]


This option indicates the minimum and maximum coordinates of the surface to be displayed on the screen.  The default is the entire surface.





This option allows you to create an animation by varying the viewpoint through a 3-D plot, as if a camera were flying through the plot. The value v is a name or list of suboptions that defines the camera path. More information about the viewpoint option is available on the plot3d/viewpoint help page.



If the same option is provided more than once, with different values, then the final value specified is generally the one used.


The options described above are all available for the Standard Worksheet interface.  If you are using a different output device, see the plot/device help page for information about the availability of plotting features for those devices.






The glossiness, grid and lightmodel options were updated in Maple 16.


The image option was introduced in Maple 18.


The color option was updated in Maple 18.


For more information on Maple 18 changes, see Updates in Maple 18.


The style option was updated in Maple 2015.


The adaptmesh and size options were introduced in Maple 2020.


For more information on Maple 2020 changes, see Updates in Maple 2020.


The colorbar option was introduced in Maple 2024.


For more information on Maple 2024 changes, see Updates in Maple 2024.

See Also

Interactive Plot Builder