5

I made a plot in MATLAB of a deformed and an undeformed model. I converted the figure to TikZ using matlab2tikz and added it to my .tex file. I then noticed that the two configurations, which are intersecting, are not displayed correctly. To illustrate what I mean, I've stripped down the TikZ code to make to rectangles cross in a 3D space:

\begin{tikzpicture}
\begin{axis}[%
    width=5cm,height=5cm,
    view={-37.5}{45},
    scale only axis,
    xmin=-3, xmax=23,
    ymin=0, ymax=20,
    zmin=-5, zmax=5,
    hide axis]
    \addplot3 [fill=white!80!red,opacity=0.5,draw=black] table[row sep=crcr]{
    20 0 0\\
    20 20 0\\
    0 20 0\\
    0 0 0\\
    };

    \addplot3 [fill=white!80!blue,opacity=0.8,draw=black] table[row sep=crcr]{
    15 5 -4\\
    15 15 0\\
    5 15 4\\
    5 5 0\\
    };
\end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}

The result looks like this:

Two crossing planes

As can be seen one plane lies entirely on top of the other, while in fact they intersect (i.e. about half of the blue plane lies 'underneath' the red plane). With my minimum TikZ knowledge I was hoping someone here could help me fix this problem, such that the planes indeed intersect.

  • As a workaround may be see 3) Fully Matlab section to export figure in a reasonable good quality, you may need to add appropriate packages in mlf2pdf.m. – texenthusiast Apr 17 '13 at 17:12
5

Unfortunately, this doesn't seem possible in the current version of pgfplots. From the manual (Section 4.5.1):

pgfplots supports z buffering techniques up to a certain extent. It works pretty well for single scatter plots (z buffer=sort), mesh or surface plots (z buffer=auto) or parametric mesh and surface plots (z buffer=sort). However, it can’t combine different \addplot commands, those will be drawn in the order of appearance. You may encounter the limitations sometimes. Maybe it will be improved in future versions.

  • 1
    May be Asymptote for it has better 3D support. – texenthusiast Apr 18 '13 at 5:04
  • Thanks for the explanation. Seems like TikZ isn't the way to go for these kind of figures, too bad! – George Urvey Apr 21 '13 at 9:42
2

There are several other questions on this issue, for instance:

As pointed out by Matthew Leingang, this is due to a limitation of pgfplots.

Unlike all workarounds so far, I have found one (a hack, really) that allows to draw more than one, in fact an arbitrary number of, potentially intersecting, surfaces in a single addplot3 command, with automatic z buffering, without doing anything manually.

We use addplot3 table instead of addplot3 coordinates, and we generate data externally. A single surface needs three matrices with x, y, z cordinates. For two surfaces, we can stack together [x; x], [y; y] and [z1; z2]. To make the two surfaces disconnected, we can insert a vector, say n, of NaNs of appropriate size between the stacked matrices, e.g. [x; n; x], [y; n; y] and [z1; n; z2], together with option unbounded coords=jump. Finally, we save the three matrices as three stacked columns representing (x,y,z) triplets as pgfplots expects. This also requires specifying the number of columns of the matrices with mesh/cols.

To implement this idea, I define some macros that allow calling arbitrary python code via addplot shell, saving the data to a text file in tabular form, and then loading for display. This requires the -shell-escape flag in pdflatex.

Unfortunately, because this is a single plot, I cannot see how to specify different properties (e.g. color or opacity) for each individual surfaces. Well, maybe by adding a fourth column in the data combined with point meta option as in scatter plots, but I haven't tried that.

Also, by trying more complex examples, one realizes that, although patch visibility is computed correctly, we don't really get patch intersection. So, to get the feeling of a smooth curve at the surface intersection, one needs to increase the resolution. I do not intend to use this; I am just sharing because I found it interesting.

Below, I am giving an example of two intersecting planes, but really one could compute anything with the same 'method'. It is in beamer, because this is what I was trying already.

\documentclass{beamer}
\usefonttheme[onlymath]{serif}
\setbeamersize{text margin left=10pt}
\setbeamersize{text margin right=10pt}

\usepackage{pgfplots}

\pgfplotsset{
    every axis/.append style={font=\scriptsize},
    plain/.style={every axis plot/.append style={mark=none},enlargelimits=false,grid=none},
    z-sort/.style={z buffer=sort,unbounded coords=jump},
}

\newcommand{\python}[1]{python -c "%
import math, sys; import numpy as np;%
#1 np.savetxt(sys.stdout, data)%
"}

\newcommand<>{\pyplot}[3][]%
{\only#4{\addplot[#1] shell[prefix=fig/data/,id=#2,] {\python{#3}};}}

\newcommand<>{\pyplott}[3][]%
{\only#4{\addplot3[z-sort,#1] shell[prefix=fig/data/,id=#2,] {\python{#3}};}}

\newcommand<>{\pyload}[3][]%
{\only#4{\addplot[#1] table[x index=0,y index=#2] {fig/data/#3.out};}}

\newcommand<>{\pyloadt}[2][]%
{\only#3{\addplot3[z-sort,#1] table {fig/data/#2.out};}}

\newcommand{\pysave}[2]{
    \begin{tikzpicture}[overlay,opacity=0]
    \begin{axis} \pyplot{#1}{#2} \end{axis}
    \end{tikzpicture}
}

\begin{document}

\begin{frame}

\pysave{surf}{
    n = 11; x = np.linspace(0,1,n); y = x;
    X, Y = np.meshgrid(x,y);
    Z1 = X + Y;
    Z2 = 1 - X + Y;
    N = np.ones([1, n]) * np.NaN;
    X = np.r_[X,  N, X ].reshape([-1, 1]);
    Y = np.r_[Y,  N, Y ].reshape([-1, 1]);
    Z = np.r_[Z1, N, Z2].reshape([-1, 1]);
    data = np.c_[X, Y, Z];
}

\begin{center}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\begin{axis}[plain,width=\textwidth,height=.8\textwidth]
    \pyloadt[surf,mesh/cols=11]{surf};
\end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{center}

\end{frame}

\end{document}

The result looks like this:

intersection of two planes

EDIT

It is possible, eventually, to color each surface differently. I couldn't make point meta=explicit symbolic or point meta=explicit work, but what did work is point meta=\thisrowno{3}. Here is the code:

\documentclass{beamer}
\usefonttheme[onlymath]{serif}
\setbeamersize{text margin left=10pt}
\setbeamersize{text margin right=10pt}

\usepackage{pgfplots}

\pgfplotsset{
    every axis/.append style={font=\scriptsize},
    plain/.style={every axis plot/.append style={mark=none},enlargelimits=false,grid=none},
    z-sort/.style={z buffer=sort,unbounded coords=jump},
}

\newcommand{\python}[1]{python -c "%
import math, sys; import numpy as np;%
#1 np.savetxt(sys.stdout, data)%
"}

\newcommand<>{\pyplot}[3][]%
{\only#4{\addplot[#1] shell[prefix=fig/data/,id=#2,] {\python{#3}};}}

\newcommand<>{\pyplott}[3][]%
{\only#4{\addplot3[z-sort,#1] shell[prefix=fig/data/,id=#2,] {\python{#3}};}}

\newcommand<>{\pyload}[3][]%
{\only#4{\addplot[#1] table[x index=0,y index=#2] {fig/data/#3.out};}}

\newcommand<>{\pyloadt}[2][]%
{\only#3{\addplot3[z-sort,#1] table {fig/data/#2.out};}}

\newcommand{\pysave}[2]{
    \begin{tikzpicture}[overlay,opacity=0]
    \begin{axis} \pyplot{#1}{#2} \end{axis}
    \end{tikzpicture}
}

\begin{document}

\begin{frame}

\pysave{surf}{
    n = 31; x = np.linspace(0,1,n); y = x;
    X, Y = np.meshgrid(x,y);
    Z1 = X + Y;
    Z2 = 1 - X + Y;
    Z3 = 1- X + 1 - Y;
    M1 = np.ones([n, n]);
    M2 = 2 * M1;
    M3 = 3 * M1;
    N = np.ones([1, n]) * np.NaN;
    X = np.r_[X,  N, X,  N, X ].reshape([-1, 1]);
    Y = np.r_[Y,  N, Y,  N, Y ].reshape([-1, 1]);
    Z = np.r_[Z1, N, Z2, N, Z3].reshape([-1, 1]);
    M = np.r_[M1, N, M2, N, M3].reshape([-1, 1]);
    data = np.c_[X, Y, Z, M];
}

\begin{center}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\begin{axis}[
    plain,width=\textwidth,height=.8\textwidth,
    colormap={summap}{color=(green);color=(red);color=(yellow);},
]
    \pyloadt[surf,opacity=.7,mesh/cols=31,point meta=\thisrowno{3}]{surf};
\end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{center}

\end{frame}

\end{document}

In this example I am showing three planes colored in green, red, yellow. A little transparency helps seeing what is going on. It would be very complex in this case to compute intersections manually with min and max as in previous workarounds.

However, the missing patch intersections are now evident between the green and yellow planes, so I increased the resolution to 31x31. Further increasing to 41x41 gives TeX capacity exceeded, which is very sad. Anyhow, here is the result:

intersection of three colored planes

  • Try using lualatex to avoid the capacity limits. – alfC Oct 2 '17 at 2:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.