I use a number crunching application that generates coordinate and function value data that I import into Mathematica. Using this raw data I create an Interpolated Function of coordinates x and y. Resulting plot is a surface in 3D. In Mathematica, I use the ParametricPlot3D function to generate the plot. However, I would like to generate the plot using PGFPlots instead for a more flexible environment to document features of the plot.

My first thought was to use the same raw data that I use to produce the Interpolated Plot and use this to create a smooth plot of the surface. Question: is this reasonable? And, I have never done a 3D plot and I am wondering if there is anything unusual that I need to be aware of in plotting raw data. I am not even sure if PFGPlots does a smooth plot (thus, interpolation) on raw point data.

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    You definitely can generate many very beautiful 3d plots with pgfplots. Even though I love pgfplots I believe that there are many things that will be very hard to accomplish with pgfplots but absolutely straightforward with Mathematica. For instance, plotting two intersecting surfaces is straightforward with Mathematica but can be delicate with pgfplots. That means that you may only get a concrete answer if you provide us with a concrete example. – user121799 Feb 10 '19 at 19:08
  • I can provide a Mathematica generated surface but I need to setup and run my number crunching app and generate a new dataset first. Can't get to that today though. – K7PEH Feb 10 '19 at 20:11
  • However, there are no intersecting surfaces. The surface is the radiation field of an antenna. The application is called NEC4 (National Electromagnetics Code). – K7PEH Feb 10 '19 at 20:13
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    Here you can find a collection of thoughts on this topic... (The fact that one answer got "accepted" does not mean that the view expressed there is "superior" to others, it will always depend on your personal preferences what it "best".) – user121799 Feb 10 '19 at 21:15

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