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A.5.5 3D Plot (old-style)

This section describes an old-style plotting window. The standard plotting windows are described in Appendix A.4.

3D scatter plot window

3D scatter plot window

The 3D plot window draws 3-dimensional scatter plots of one or more triples of table columns (or derived quantities) on Cartesian axes. You can display it using the 3D () item in the Control Window's Graphics menu.

On the display a marker is plotted for each row in the selected dataset(s) at a position determined by the values in the table columns selected to provide the X, Y and Z values. A marker will only be plotted if none of the X, Y and Z values are blank. Select the quantities to plot and the plotting symbols with the dataset selector at the bottom.

The 3D space can be rotated by dragging the mouse around on the surface - it will rotate around the point in the centre of the plotted cube. The axis labels try to display themselves the right way up and in a way which is readable from the viewing point if possible, which means they move around while the rotation is happening. By default the points are rendered as though the 3D space is filled with a 'fog', so that more distant points appear more washed out - this provides a visual cue which can help to distinguish the depth of plotted points. However, you can turn this off if you want. If there are many points, then you may find that they're not all plotted while a drag-to-rotate gesture is in progress. This is done to cut down on rendering time so that GUI response stays fast. When the drag is finished (i.e. when you release the mouse button) all the points will come back again.

Zooming is also possible. You can zoom in around the centre of the plot so that the viewing window only covers the middle. The easiest way to do this is to use the mouse wheel if you have one - wheel forward to zoom in and backward to zoom out. Alternatively you can do it by dragging on the region to the left of the plot, like the Axis Zoom in some of the 2-d plots. Drag the mouse down to zoom in or up to zoom out on this part of the window. Currently it is only possible to zoom in/out around the centre of the plot. When zoomed you can use the Subset From Visible () toolbar button to define a new Row Subset consisting only of the points which are currently visible. See Appendix A.5.1.6 for more explanation.

Clicking on any of the plotted points will activate it - see Section 8.

The following buttons are available on the toolbar:

Split Window
Allows the dataset selector to be resized by dragging a separator between it and the plot area. Good for small screens.
Redraws the current plot. It is usually not necessary to use this button, since if you change any of the plot characteristics with the controls in this window the plot will be redrawn automatically. However if you have changed the data, e.g. by editing cells in the Data Window, the plot is not automatically redrawn (since this is potentially an expensive operation and you may not require it). Clicking this button redraws the plot taking account of any changes to the table data.
Configure Axes and Title
Pops up a dialogue to allow manual configuration of axis ranges, axis labels and plot title - see Appendix A.5.1.2.
Export as PDF
Pops up a dialogue which will write the current plot as a PDF file. In general this is a faithful and high quality rendering of what is displayed in the plot window. However, if plotting is being done using the transparent markers, the markers will be rendered as if they were opaque. Plots with very many points can result in rather large output PDFs.
Export as GIF
Pops up a dialogue which will output the current plot to a GIF file. The output file is just the same as the plotted image that you see. Resize the plotting window before the export to control the size of the output GIF.
Rescales the axes of the current plot so that it contains all the data points in the currently selected subsets. By default the plot will be scaled like this, but it it may have changed because of changes in the subset selection.
Reorients the axes of the current plot to their default position. This can be useful if you've lost track of where you've rotated the plot to with the mouse. This also resets the zoom level to normal if you've changed it.
Stay Upright
Toggle button which when selected ensures that the Z axis is oriented vertically on the screen at all times. By default this is off which means you can drag the axes round to any orientation, but it can be convenient to switch it on to keep the plot pointing in a sensible direction.
Toggles whether the cubic frame bounding the plot is drawn or not.
Show Legend
Toggles whether a legend showing how each data set is represented is visible to the right of the plot. Initially the legend is shown only if more than one data set is being shown at once.
Toggles whether rendering is done as if the space is filled with fog. If this option is selected, distant points will appear more washed out than near ones.
Draw Subset Region
Allows you to draw a region on the screen defining a new Row Subset. When you have finished drawing it, click this button again to indicate you're done. The subset will include points at all depths in the viewing direction which fall in the region you have drawn. See Appendix A.5.1.6 for more details.
Subset From Visible
Defines a new Row Subset consisting of only the points which are currently visible on the plotting surface. See Appendix A.5.1.6 for more explanation.

The following additional item is available as a menu item only:

Toggles whether the axes and their annotations are drawn antialiased. Antialiased lines are smoother and generally look more pleasing, especially for text at a sharp angle, but it can slow the rendering down a bit.

The Dataset Toolbar contains the following options:

/ Add/Remove dataset
Adds/removes tabs in which the data for extra datasets can be entered. See Appendix A.5.1.1.
/ Add/Remove auxiliary axis
Adds/removes a selector for entering an auxiliary axis to modify point colours etc. See Appendix A.5.1.5.
Toggle point labelling
Allows text labels to be drawn near plotted points. See Appendix A.5.1.4.
/ / Toggle X/Y/Z error bars
Switches between drawing symmetric error bars and no error bars in the X, Y and Z directions respectively. Other options are available in the Errors menu. See Appendix A.5.1.3.

You have considerable freedom to configure how the points are plotted including the shape, colour and transparency of symbols and the representation of error bars if used. These options are described in the following subsection.

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