MATLAB

The Language of Technical Computing

Creating 3-D Plots

This example shows how to create a variety of 3-D plots in MATLAB®.

Mesh Plot

The mesh function creates a wireframe mesh. By default, the color of the mesh is proportional to the surface height.

z = peaks(25);

figure
mesh(z)

Surface Plot

The surf function is used to create a 3-D surface plot.

surf(z)
colormap(jet)    % change color map

Surface Plot (with Shading)

The surfl function creates a surface plot with colormap-based lighting. For smoother color transitions, use a colormap with linear intensity variation such as pink.

surfl(z)
colormap(pink)    % change color map
shading interp    % interpolate colors across lines and faces

Contour Plot

The contour function is used to create a plot with contour lines of contant value.

contour(z,16)
colormap default    % change color map

Quiver Plot

The quiver function plots 2-D vectors as arrows.

x = -2:.2:2;
y = -1:.2:1;

[xx,yy] = meshgrid(x,y);
zz = xx.*exp(-xx.^2-yy.^2);
[px,py] = gradient(zz,.2,.2);

quiver(x,y,px,py)
xlim([-2.5 2.5])    % set limits of x axis

Slices through 3-D Volumes

The slice function displays data at planes that slice through volumetric data.

x = -2:.2:2;
y = -2:.25:2;
z = -2:.16:2;

[x,y,z] = meshgrid(x,y,z);
v = x.*exp(-x.^2-y.^2-z.^2);

xslice = [-1.2,.8,2];    % location of y-z planes
yslice = 2;              % location of x-z plane
zslice = [-2,0];         % location of x-y planes

slice(x,y,z,v,xslice,yslice,zslice)
xlabel('x')
ylabel('y')
zlabel('z')