scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (2024)


scatter3d() // Examplescatter3d(x, y, z)scatter3d(x, y, z, msizes)scatter3d(x, y, z, msizes, mcolors)scatter3d(.., "fill")scatter3d(.., "fill", marker)scatter3d(..., <marker_property, value>)scatter3d(axes, ..)polyline = scatter3d(..)


x, y, z

columns or rows vectors of n real numbers specifying the x, y and z coordinates of the centers of markers.

Handle of the graphical axes in which the scatter plot must be drawn. By default, the current axes is targeted.
Handle of the created polyline.

Sizes of the markers, as of the area of the circle surrounding the marker, in point-square. Default value = 36. If it is scalar, the same size is used for all markers. Otherwise msizes and x must have the same number of elements.


Colors of markers. If it is scalar, the same color is used for all markers. Otherwise, mcolors and x must have the same number of elements.

The same color is used for filling the body and drawing the edge of markers.

The values of mcolors are linearly mapped to the colors in the current colormap.

A color can be specified by one of the following:

  • Its name, among the predefined names colors (see the color_list).
  • Its standard hexadecimal RGB code as a string, like "#A532FB".
  • A matrix of RGB values with 3 columns and n rows, with Red Green and Blue intensities in [0,1].
  • Its index in the current color map
The default color is "blue".

By default, only the edge of markers is drawn, unless this keyword or the "markerFaceColor" or "markerBackgroundColor" properties are set.


Selects the shape of the markers. The same shape is used for all specified points. The figure below shows the different marker shapes.

scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (1)

Each marker shape is specified either by its index (list above) or by its string symbol (table below).

Index String Marker type
0 "." Point
1 "+" Plus sign
2 "x" Cross
3 "circle plus" Circle with plus
4 "filled diamond" Filled diamond
5 "d" or "diamond" Diamond
6 "^" Upward-pointing triangle
7 "v" Downward-pointing triangle
8 "diamond plus" Diamond with plus
9 "o" Circle (default)
10 "*" Asterisk
11 "s" or "square" Square
12 ">" Right-pointing triangle
13 "<" Left-pointing triangle
14 "pentagram" or "p" Five-pointed star
15 "^." Upward-pointing triangle
16 "v." Downward-pointing triangle
17 ">." Right-pointing triangle
18 "<." Left-pointing triangle
19 "minus" or "m" Horizontal line (Minus sign)
20 "|" Vertical line
Property <Name, Value> pairs

A series of property value pairs can be used to specify type, color and line width of the markers.

"marker", value or "markerStyle", value

Shape of the marker (index or string keyword). See the table above.

"markerEdgeColor", value or "markerForeground", value

Color of the edge of markers. Colors can be specified as for mcolors. This option supersedes mcolors.

"markerFaceColor",value or "markerBackground",value

Color filling the body of markers. Colors can be specified as for mcolors. This option supersedes mcolors.

"linewidth",value or "thickness",value

Specify the thickness of the edge for all markers. The unit for the value is one point.


scatter3d(x,y,z) creates a scatter plot with markers at the locations specified by x, y, and z. The default type of the marker is a circle, the default color is "blue" and the default marker size is 36. This means the circle surrounding the marker has an area of 36 points squared.

Using scatter3d(x,y,z,s,c) different sizes and colors for each marker can be specified. There are many different ways to specify marker types, marker colors and marker sizes. For more details see the description of the arguments and the examples.

scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (2)
  • To skip an argument, just .. skip it, or replace it with [], like in scatter3d(x,y,z, , mcolors) or in scatter3d(x,y,z,[], mcolors).
  • When the axes is rotated, the markers are automatically rotated as well in order to show always the same face to the observer.


Create 3D scatter plot

// Data: points on an hemisphereazimuth = 0:12:359;latitude = 3:12:89;[az, lat] = ndgrid(azimuth, latitude);r = cosd(lat);x = 1.1*cosd(az+lat/3) .* r;y = 1.1*sind(az+lat/3) .* r;z = sind(lat);clfgcf().color_map = parula(50);subplot(1,2,1) // Plot on the left// Markers size according to rscatter3d(x, y, z, r.^2*80);subplot(1,2,2) // Plot on the rightoptions = list("fill", "markerEdgeColor","red","thickness",0.5);mcolors = az; // + colors according to the azimuthscatter3d(x, y, z, r.^2*80, mcolors, options(:));// Tuning axes renderinggcf().children.grid = [1 1 1]*color("grey50");gcf().children.rotation_angles = [83 -20];

scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (3)

Styling the markers:

// Dataz = linspace(0, 25, 150);x = z .* cos(z);y = z .* sin(z);subplot(2,2,1)scatter3d(x, y, z)// Fill the markerssubplot(2,2,2)scatter3d(x, y, z, , "turquoise", "fill")// Choose another marker shapesubplot(2,2,3)scatter3d(x, y, z, "*");// Customize the markers colorssubplot(2,2,4)scatter3d(x, y, z,... "markerEdgeColor", [1 0 0],... "markerFaceColor", "yellow");// Tune the 3D orientation of all axesgcf().children.rotation_angles = [65 35];

scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (4)

Specify subplot for scatter plot

// Datan = 20;[x, y] = meshgrid(linspace(-2, 2, n));z = exp(-x.^2 - y.^2);subplot(2,1,2)axes2 = gca();subplot(2,1,1)scatter3d(x, y, z);scatter3d(axes2, x(:), y(:), z(:), "markerFaceColor", [0 .8 .8]);// Tune axes viewAxes = gcf().children;Axes.rotation_angles = [60,45];Axes.grid = [1 1 1]*color("grey50");

scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (5)

Use the handle to post-process the scatter plot:

// Data: points on an hemisphereazimuth = 0:12:359;latitude = 3:12:89;[az, lat] = ndgrid(azimuth, latitude);r = cosd(lat);x = 1.1*cosd(az+lat/3) .* r;y = 1.1*sind(az+lat/3) .* r;z = sind(lat);clfsubplot(1,2,1)scatter3d(x, y, z, r.^2*80);title("Initial plot", "fontsize",3)subplot(1,2,2)p = scatter3d(x, y, z, r.^2*80); // The sametitle("Final plot", "fontsize",3)// Let's post-process it through the handle:// 1) Let's set all markers at y < 0 in yellow, and others in orangenp = size(,1); // number of pointstmp = ones(1,np) * color("orange");tmp(,2)<0) = color("yellow");p.mark_background = tmp;// 2) and markers at x > 0 1.4 smaller than othertmp =,1) > 0;p.mark_size(tmp) = p.mark_size(tmp)/1.4;// 3) Changing the edge color and thickness for all markersp.mark_foreground = color("red");p.thickness = 0.5;// Tuning axesAxes = gcf().children;Axes.rotation_angles = [82, -40];Axes.grid = [1 1 1]*color("grey60");

scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (6)

See also

  • scatter — 2D scatter plot
  • param3d — plots a single curve in a 3D cartesian frame
  • gca — Return handle of current axes.
  • gcf — Return handle of current graphic window.
  • color_list — list of named colors
  • polyline_properties — description of the Polyline entity properties


6.0.0 Function scatter3() introduced.
6.1.0 Function scatter3() set obsolete. scatter3d() is introduced.
6.1.1 Colors can be specified as well with their "#RRGGBB" hexadecimal standard code or their index in the color map.
scatter3d - 3D scatter plot (2024)
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