Surface plot - MATLAB surf (2024)

Surface plot

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  • Surface plot - MATLAB surf (1)

Syntax

surf(X,Y,Z)

surf(X,Y,Z,C)

surf(Z)

surf(Z,C)

surf(ax,___)

surf(___,Name,Value)

s = surf(___)

Description

example

surf(X,Y,Z) creates a three-dimensional surface plot, which is a three-dimensional surface that has solid edge colors and solid face colors. The function plots the values in matrix Z as heights above a grid in the x-y plane defined by X and Y. The color of the surface varies according to the heights specified by Z.

example

surf(X,Y,Z,C) additionallyspecifies the surface color.

surf(Z) creates a surface plot and uses the column and row indices of the elements in Z as the x- and y-coordinates.

surf(Z,C) additionallyspecifies the surface color.

surf(ax,___) plotsinto the axes specified by ax instead of the currentaxes. Specify the axes as the first input argument.

example

surf(___,Name,Value) specifies surface properties using one or more name-value pair arguments. For example, 'FaceAlpha',0.5 creates a semitransparent surface.

example

s = surf(___) returns the chart surface object. Use s to modify the surface after it is created. For a list of properties, see Surface Properties.

Examples

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Create Surface Plot

Open Live Script

Create three matrices of the same size. Then plot them as a surface. The surface plot uses Z for both height and color.

[X,Y] = meshgrid(1:0.5:10,1:20);Z = sin(X) + cos(Y);surf(X,Y,Z)

Surface plot - MATLAB surf (2)

Specify Colormap Colors for Surface Plot

Open Live Script

Specify the colors for a surface plot by including a fourth matrix input, C. The surface plot uses Z for height and C for color. Specify the colors using a colormap, which uses single numbers to stand for colors on a spectrum. When you use a colormap, C is the same size as Z. Add a color bar to the graph to show how the data values in C correspond to the colors in the colormap.

[X,Y] = meshgrid(1:0.5:10,1:20);Z = sin(X) + cos(Y);C = X.*Y;surf(X,Y,Z,C)colorbar

Surface plot - MATLAB surf (3)

Specify True Colors for Surface Plot

Open Live Script

Specify the colors for a surface plot by including a fourth matrix input, CO. The surface plot uses Z for height and CO for color. Specify the colors using truecolor, which uses triplets of numbers to stand for all possible colors. When you use truecolor, if Z is m-by-n, then CO is m-by-n-by-3. The first page of the array indicates the red component for each color, the second page indicates the green component, and the third page indicates the blue component.

[X,Y,Z] = peaks(25);CO(:,:,1) = zeros(25); % redCO(:,:,2) = ones(25).*linspace(0.5,0.6,25); % greenCO(:,:,3) = ones(25).*linspace(0,1,25); % bluesurf(X,Y,Z,CO)

Surface plot - MATLAB surf (4)

Modify Surface Plot Appearance

Open Live Script

Create a semitransparent surface by specifying the FaceAlpha name-value pair with 0.5 as the value. To allow further modifications, assign the surface object to the variable s.

[X,Y] = meshgrid(-5:.5:5);Z = Y.*sin(X) - X.*cos(Y);s = surf(X,Y,Z,'FaceAlpha',0.5)

Surface plot - MATLAB surf (5)

s = Surface with properties: EdgeColor: [0 0 0] LineStyle: '-' FaceColor: 'flat' FaceLighting: 'flat' FaceAlpha: 0.5000 XData: [21x21 double] YData: [21x21 double] ZData: [21x21 double] CData: [21x21 double] Use GET to show all properties

Use s to access and modify properties of the surface object after it is created. For example, hide the edges by setting the EdgeColor property.

s.EdgeColor = 'none';

Surface plot - MATLAB surf (6)

Input Arguments

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Xx-coordinates
matrix | vector

x-coordinates, specified as a matrix the same size as Z, or as a vector with length n, where [m,n] = size(Z). If you do not specify values for X and Y, surf uses the vectors (1:n) and (1:m).

You can use the meshgrid function to create X and Y matrices.

The XData property of the Surface object stores the x-coordinates.

Example: X = 1:10

Example: X = [1 2 3; 1 2 3; 1 2 3]

Example: [X,Y] = meshgrid(-5:0.5:5)

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | categorical | datetime | duration

Yy-coordinates
matrix | vector

y-coordinates, specified as a matrix the same size as Z or as a vector with length m, where [m,n] = size(Z). If you do not specify values for X and Y, surf uses the vectors (1:n) and (1:m).

You can use the meshgrid function to create the X and Y matrices.

The YData property of the surface object stores the y -coordinates.

Example: Y = 1:10

Example: Y = [1 1 1; 2 2 2; 3 3 3]

Example: [X,Y] = meshgrid(-5:0.5:5)

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | categorical | datetime | duration

Zz-coordinates
matrix

z-coordinates, specified as a matrix. Z must have at least two rows and two columns.

Z specifies the height of the surface plot at each x-y coordinate. If you do not specify the colors, then Z also specifies the surface colors.

The ZData property of the surface object stores the z -coordinates.

Example: Z = [1 2 3; 4 5 6]

Example: Z = sin(x) + cos(y)

Data Types: single | double | int8 | int16 | int32 | int64 | uint8 | uint16 | uint32 | uint64 | categorical | datetime | duration

CColor array
matrix | m-by-n-by-3 array of RGB triplets

Color array, specified as an m-by-n matrix of colormap indices or as an m-by-n-by-3 array of RGB triplets, where Z is m-by-n.

  • To use colormap colors, specify C as a matrix. For each grid point on the surface, C indicates a color in the colormap. The CDataMapping property of the surface object controls how the values in C correspond to colors in the colormap.

  • To use truecolor colors, specify C as an array of RGB triplets.

For more information, see Differences Between Colormaps and Truecolor.

The CData property of the surface object stores the color array. For additional control over the surface coloring, use the FaceColor and EdgeColor properties.

axAxes to plot in
axes object

Axes to plot in, specified as an axes object. If you do not specify the axes, then surf plots into the current axes.

Name-Value Arguments

Specify optional pairs of arguments as Name1=Value1,...,NameN=ValueN, where Name is the argument name and Value is the corresponding value. Name-value arguments must appear after other arguments, but the order of the pairs does not matter.

Before R2021a, use commas to separate each name and value, and enclose Name in quotes.

Example: surf(X,Y,Z,'FaceAlpha',0.5,'EdgeColor','none') createsa semitransparent surface with no edges drawn.

Note

The properties listed here are only a subset. For a full list,see Surface Properties.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

See Also

Functions

  • colormap | pcolor | meshgrid | imagesc | shading | view | mesh

Properties

  • Surface Properties

Topics

  • Representing Data as a Surface
  • How Surface Plot Data Relates to a Colormap

MATLAB Command

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Surface plot - MATLAB surf (7)

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Surface plot - MATLAB surf (2024)
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