Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

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Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby Michael_Morrison » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:53 pm

Mathematica has different methods of changing the appearance of graphs and other plots:

1. Use the Classroom Assistant palette to add options (select the 2D or 3D tab).
2. Use the Graphics Inspector (under the Graphics menu) to change things like color, thickness, and dashing by using a GUI.
3. Type in options directly (if you're like me and learned Mathematica back in the day when this was the only method available!).
4. Add annotations and text by using Drawing Tools (under the Graphics menu).

What types of modifications do you regularly make to your graphics, or what sorts of things would you like to do more easily? I'd like to submit some feedback to the development team for consideration to streamline Mathematica's graphics-editing capabilities for educators.

Thanks!
Michael
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby telefunkenvf14 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:20 am

Requests: :D

1. Make in-plot labeling easier. For example, if I plot a supply and demand diagram, I'd like MMA to place labels at the ends of these curves. This can be done 'programmatically' as is, but it's not always easy. Something to automate this would be nice. (Tooltips aren't really what I'm looking for either, and chart legends are somewhat distracting, so I rarely use them.)

2. Some easier to construct curved primitives and/or the ability to vary thickness of a line primitive, as a function of something else.

3. Ability to import .gif or .png (or other image files) and use them to construct cooler looking buttons and sliders. You might think of this as interface 'skinning'. (Maybe this can be done already, but I can't figure out how. I've only come across one related example in the documentation, on advanced manipulate, I believe, where a custom slider is constructed from graphics primitives.)

-RG
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby murray » Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:36 pm

Glad you asked. My absolute top two requests:

For 2D Plot, have an option to place arrowheads on the ends of the positive x-axis and y-axis (just like nearly every math teacher draws axes!). At present, I waste a lot of time putting in Epilog with arrows overlaying those semi-axes.

For Plot3D, have an option to have actual axes through the point that is the origin; and have another option to place arrowheads on the ends of the positive x-, y-, and z-axes (just like nearly every math teacher draws axes in 3D!).

And I'd also like to have, for Plot3D, have an explicit option of right-hand coordinate system vs. left-hand coordinate system. (Instead of achieving the same result through other means, as one can at present.)

(Did I fail to notice that one of the above facilities is already included in Mathematica 7?)
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby Michael_Morrison » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:42 pm

telefunkenvf14 wrote:Requests: :D

1. Make in-plot labeling easier. For example, if I plot a supply and demand diagram, I'd like MMA to place labels at the ends of these curves. This can be done 'programmatically' as is, but it's not always easy. Something to automate this would be nice. (Tooltips aren't really what I'm looking for either, and chart legends are somewhat distracting, so I rarely use them.)

2. Some easier to construct curved primitives and/or the ability to vary thickness of a line primitive, as a function of something else.

3. Ability to import .gif or .png (or other image files) and use them to construct cooler looking buttons and sliders. You might think of this as interface 'skinning'. (Maybe this can be done already, but I can't figure out how. I've only come across one related example in the documentation, on advanced manipulate, I believe, where a custom slider is constructed from graphics primitives.)

-RG


Thanks for the suggestions. I've actually done #3 before, at least with buttons. I put an example for you to check out here:
http://members.wolfram.com/mmorrison/Fa ... ogram.html
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby Michael_Morrison » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:48 pm

murray wrote:Glad you asked. My absolute top two requests:
For 2D Plot, have an option to place arrowheads on the ends of the positive x-axis and y-axis (just like nearly every math teacher draws axes!). At present, I waste a lot of time putting in Epilog with arrows overlaying those semi-axes.

For Plot3D, have an option to have actual axes through the point that is the origin; and have another option to place arrowheads on the ends of the positive x-, y-, and z-axes (just like nearly every math teacher draws axes in 3D!).


Good suggestions! I would like this to be easier, myself. For 3D, I do something similar to what you mentioned for the 2D case, and I have a function defined that might be useful for you (called Plot3DWithArrows.nb) here: http://members.wolfram.com/mmorrison/Fa ... ogram.html
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby murray » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:55 pm

Michael_Morrison wrote:
murray wrote:Glad you asked. My absolute top two requests:
For 2D Plot, have an option to place arrowheads on the ends of the positive x-axis and y-axis (just like nearly every math teacher draws axes!). At present, I waste a lot of time putting in Epilog with arrows overlaying those semi-axes.

For Plot3D, have an option to have actual axes through the point that is the origin; and have another option to place arrowheads on the ends of the positive x-, y-, and z-axes (just like nearly every math teacher draws axes in 3D!).


Good suggestions! I would like this to be easier, myself. For 3D, I do something similar to what you mentioned for the 2D case, and I have a function defined that might be useful for you (called Plot3DWithArrows.nb) here: http://members.wolfram.com/mmorrison/Fa ... ogram.html


Thank you for that notebook. I have three suggestions for it:

(1) To make axes look more like the way mathematicians usually draw them, have the arrowheads only at the positive end of each axis, that is, change each
Code: Select all
Arrowheads[{-.05,.05}]
expression to
Code: Select all
Arrowheads[.05]
.

(2) In the overall definition of myPlot3DWithOriginAxes, replace the pair of braces enclosing the body of the definition with a pair of parentheses; as it is, the output obtained is always a one-member list, so is displayed as enclosed in a set of braces.

(3) Put your name at the top of the notebook! Useful stuff like this deserves acknowledgment!
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby Michael_Morrison » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:50 pm

Murray, fair enough. :) I have uploaded a new version of the notebook, which is linked from the same page as before:
http://members.wolfram.com/mmorrison/Fa ... ogram.html
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Re: Changing the appearance of plots and graphs

Postby Vince_Cronin » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:30 pm

I need to be able to generate 2D or 3D graphs in which the axis scales are the same (i.e., are orthogonal) or are a specified ratio of one to the other (e.g., a lat-long plot for a map). Is this an option under "ListPlot" or "ListLinePlot" or...?
This is probably an easy problem, but all problems seem difficult when one cannot find the answer easily.

Thanks in advance for any guidance!
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