2-D Plots

One can develop a multitude of plots with Maple. These plots can be function based, point-by-point based, or any combination of the two. One has a great deal of power in the plot formats. For example, one can specify discontinuous plots (i.e., a plot of the tan function), hide and shade surfaces, normalize axis, etc.

Here is a simple parabola:

> plot((3*x^2-4),x=-10..10);

  A                                300 +                                   A
  AA                                   +                                  AA
   AA                                  +                                 AA
    AA                             250 +                                A
      A                                +                               A
       A                               +                              A
       AA                              +                             AA
         A                         200 +                            A
          A                            +                           A
           A                           +                          AA
            AA                     150 +                        AA
             AA                        +                       AA
              AA                       +                      AA
                AA                     +                    AA
                 AA                100 +                   AA
                  AAA                  +                 AAA
                    AAA                +               AAA
                      AA            50 +             AAA
                        AAA            +           AAA
                           AAA         +        AAA
                             AAAAA     +    AAAAA 
  -10               -5                0 0                 5                10

On an X-Window session, Maple opens up a second window containing the plot:

To plot two or more functions on one graph, enclose the functions in curly brackets {}.
One can define both the x and y values:

> plot({sin(x),x-x^3/6+x^5/120},x=-4..4);

                                       +                                   A
                                       +                                   A
                                   1.5 +                                  A
                                       +                                 AA
                                       +                                 A
                                     1 +        **********              A
  B                                    +      ***        B***         AA
   BB                                  +   ***              B**AAA  AAA
     BB                            0.5 +   **                 BB  AA
       BB                              + **                     BB
         BB                            +*                         BB
 -4         BB     -2               *0 0                 2           BB    4
          AAA BB                  -0.5 +                               BB
       AAA  AAA*BB              ***    +                                BBB
      AA        A***B        ***       +                                   B
     A              **********      -1 +
    AA                                 +
   AA                                  +
   A                              -1.5 +
  A                                    +
  A                                    +

Discontinuous and step functions can also be easily displayed:


          C                 C        4 +      C                 C
         CC                 C          +      C                 C
         C                  C          +     C                  C
         C                  C          +     C                  C
         C                 C           +     C                 C
        CC                 C         2 +    CC                 C
        C                 CC           +     C                CC
       CC                CC            +    CC                C
      CC                CC             +   CC               CC
    CCC                CC              + CCC               CC
                   CC                CC*               CC                CCC
   -6         -4 CC       -2       CC0 0          2  CC       4        CC6
                CC                CC   +            CC                CC
               C                 CC    +           CC                CC
              CC                 C     +          CC                 C
              C                 CC  -2 +          C                 CC
              C                 C      +          C                 C
             C                  C      +         C                  C
             C                  C      +         C                  C
             C                 C       +         C                 C
             C                 C    -4 +         C                 C

Maple allows one to compute much more complex plots such as polar, spherical, and cylindrical coordinates, conformal plots for complex functions, and other specialized graphics. To load these features, use the with(plots) command.

Lets look at a polar plot:

> with(plots, polarplot);


> plots[polarplot](t);

                         AAAAAAAAA 1.8 +    AAAAAAAAA
                      AAA         AAA  +  AAA        AAAA
                   AAA              AAA+AAA             AAA
                 AA                1.6A*A                  A
               AAA                    A+A                   AAA
              AA                   1.4 + AA                   AA
             A                     AA  +  AA                    A
            AA                     1.2 +   A                    AA
           A                      A    +    A                     A
          A                      AA  1 +    AA                     A
         A                       A     +     A                      A
        AA                       A     +     A                      AA
       AA                        A 0.8 +     A                       AA
       A                         A     +     A                        A
      AA                         A 0.6 +     A                        AA
      A                          A     +     A                         A
     AA                          A 0.4 +     A                         AA
     A                           AA    +    AA                          A
    AA                            A    +    A                           AA
    A                             A0.2 +   AA                            A
    A                              AA  +  A                              A 
    -3         -2          -1        0 0         1           2          3

3-D Plots

Note: All 3-D plots will be shown as X-Window Session Images.

One can plot surfaces and 3-dimensional objects with Maple. To do so, use the plot3d command. You need to define all of the variables in your plot3d statement. For example:


Once the window opens with the plot, the mouse may be used to rotate the graph into any orientation. Pull-down menus allows one to choose between different surface renderings (hidden line, patch, contour, etc) and different light/color schemes. Some of these features are shown in the next figures.

A nice feature of Maple is the ability to graph an equation without having to first solve the equation based on any one variable. The implicitplot3d command is the way to invoke this feature:



The resulting surface is displayed below. Note that we can alter how the plots looks very easily:

Hidden Line (as entered in the command above).




Patched and Contoured.

One also has the option of plotting curves and surfaces defined parametrically. Let us define (for more information on functions, see Lesson 6, Algebraic Calculations) three functions, F,G, and H:

>F:=(u,v) -> sin(u)*cos(v);
>G:=(u,v) -> sin(u)*sin(v);
>H:=(u,v) -> cos(u);

Now letŐs plot these three functions parametrically as a solid surface. We shall constrain the scaling to preserve our true spherical shape. Note that we will include the three functions in square brackets []:


(we could have performed the entire feat in one statement):

>plot3d([sin(u)*cos(v), sin(u)*sin(v),cos(u)],u=0..Pi,v=0..2*Pi,style=PATCH,scaling=CONSTRAINED);

Saving and Printing Plots

As you have probably seen by now, the prefered method for displaying graphics is through an X-window session. But this does not mean that one cannot generate great looking plots via a text-only session. It just takes a little planning.

First off, you need to define your output style. Usually, this will be a postscript® file. Next, you will need to define the output file name. The interface command is used to set both of these paramaters:


Now, when you plot the graph, the output will go directly to the file. If you are ready to plot a second graph, be sure to specify a new file name:


If you use the X-Windows Maple interface there is a pulldown menu that you can take advantage of. Under File there is a second menu called Printing. This menu gives you the option of saving your plot in a variety of formats including postscript® (both color and grey-scale), plotter formats, and GIF. Be sure to check what your output looks like with xv.

This page Maintained by Dale H. Leschnitzer
Last Modified Monday, November 4, 1996

L O S   A L A M O S   N A T I O N A L   L A B O R A T O R Y
Operated by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy

Copyright © 1998 UC - Disclaimer