# 2D & 3D Plots

## 2D Plots

### Gnuplot on Mac

Octave uses gnuplot when plotting. If you use Mac, you must make sure gnuplot works. You might need to reinstall gnuplot with x11 support by using homebrew:

brew uninstall gnuplot;brew install gnuplot --with-x


Then start Octave and write:

setenv("GNUTERM","X11")


For troubleshooting check out this.

## Plot using Octave

When plotting in Octave you plot points having their x-values stored in one vector and the y-values in another vector. The two vectors must be the same size.

You can use a x-vector to store the x-values; then you use element by element operations on the x-vector to store the function values in a y-vector. Having two vectors like this, you then use the command

plot(x_vector, y_vector) >>> x=-2:2
x =

-2 -1 0 1 2

>>> y=x.^2
y =

4 1 0 1 4

>>> plot(x,y)


Octave inserts lines between the points. If you want a smoother graph, make a longer x-vector. >>> x=-2:0.5:2;
>>> y=x.^2;
>>> plot(x,y)


If you know how many points you want to plot in an interval, you can let Octave space the points linearly by using the command

linspace(first x-value, last x-value, number of evenly spaced points) >>> x=linspace(-2, 2, 500);
>>> y=x.^2;
>>> plot(x,y)


## 3D - the grid

If we have a function of two variables $$z=f(x,y)$$, we need three axes to display the graph.

When plotting in 2D we use evenly spaced x-values and function values of these stored in a y-vector.

When plotting in 3D we need evenly spaced x- and y-values, spaced on a grid where each function value z is taken of a point (x, y) on the grid. In order to achieve this we use the command meshgrid.

>>> x=linspace(-2,2,5)
x =

-2 -1 0 1 2

>>> y=linspace(-2,2,5)
y =

-2 -1 0 1 2

>>> [xx,yy]=meshgrid(x,y)
xx =

-2 -1 0 1 2
-2 -1 0 1 2
-2 -1 0 1 2
-2 -1 0 1 2
-2 -1 0 1 2

yy =

-2 -2 -2 -2 -2
-1 -1 -1 -1 -1
0 0 0 0 0
1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2


Each point on the grid is made by taken an element from the xx-matrix as the x-value and the corresponding element from the yy-matrix as the y-value. All in all there are 25 points in this grid.

## Plot a 3D graph

After having made a grid you can plot a 3D graph using the command mesh(xx,yy,z), where xx and yy are the matrices made by meshgrid and where z is a function of x and y. You get the function values of z by using element by element operations on matrices xx and yy. >>> x=linspace(-2,2,5);
>>> y=linspace(-2,2,5);
>>> [xx,yy]=meshgrid(x,y);
>>> mesh(xx,yy,4-(xx.^2+yy.^2))


If you want a smoother graph, make a longer x-vector and a longer y-vector. >>> x=linspace(-2,2,50);
>>> y=linspace(-2,2,50);
>>> [xx,yy]=meshgrid(x,y);
>>> mesh(xx,yy,4-(xx.^2+yy.^2))


You can get a contour plot by using the command meshc. >>> x=linspace(-2,2,50);
>>> y=linspace(-2,2,50);
>>> [xx,yy]=meshgrid(x,y);
>>> meshc(xx,yy,4-(xx.^2+yy.^2))