XYZ

3-D Mesh Surface Plotter


Contents:
  1. Overview
  2. Data file formats
  3. Invocation / Usage
  4. Command-line Options
  5. Embeddable Commands
  6. Postscript Hardcopy
  7. Word-Processor Export
  8. Examples


1. Overview

XYZ-Plot is a general purpose 3D-data plotter that displays three-dimensional data as a 3-D mesh surface-plot. XYZ-Plot provides interactive buttons for rotating the viewing perspective, printing, and selecting other display options.

XYZ-Plot produces wysiwyg (what-see-is-what-you-get) output for printing hardcopies, storing, and/or sharing plotted results. Output is available in PostScript and MIF (Maker Interchange Format) for importing graphs directly into a word-processor for documents, reports, and viewgraphs.

XYZ-Plot supports automatic resizing of its window, and accepts a variety of input formats, including regular grid-spaced data, and arbitary 3-space data.


Figure 1 - Example XYZ plot. (See also Figure 8b)


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2. Data File Formats

XYZ-Plot expects data in a regular X-Y grid format. Therefore, only Z-values are necessary in the data file (input). One value on a line. Rows of the X-Y grid should be separated by a line containing the keyword, 'next'. (All rows should have the same number of points.) This way, you do not need to determine or specify the number of points in your data. Neither do you need to specify the column or row lengths. XYZ-Plot determines this for you automatically.

Blank lines are allowed anywhere in the file.


Example:
		0
		2
		1
		0
		next
		0
		0
		5
		0
		next
		0
		2
		2
		2
		next
		0
		2
		2
		2


The data are interpretted as follows:

		Z[ 0, 0 ]
		Z[ 1, 0 ]
		Z[ 2, 0 ]
		next
		Z[ 0, 1 ]
		Z[ 1, 1 ]
		Z[ 2, 1 ]

Where, Z[X,Y] represents the Z-value at row-X and column-Y in the grid (or matrix). On the display, the X-axis is drawn as the horizontal (left-to-right) axis. The Y-axis is drawn as the vertical (top-bottom) axis on the left of the screen. The Z-axis is represented for color-divisions on the graph with a color key on the right of the page.

By default, the X-and-Y axes take integer values corresponding to their row-column indices, from 0 to the number of points on the respective axis minus one. These can be renumbered by the 'replace_x_axis' and 'replace_y_axis' commands.



2.1 Alternative Explicit X,Y,Z Format -

An alternative data format is to explicitly specify the x,y,z values for each point. This format is more general, or 'free-form', than the z-only format, because the data points do not have to occur in a regular x-y grid. They can have arbitrary spacing. The XYZ-plotter examines your input file and determines the format automatically. Data values may be separated by white-space (spaces or tabs), commas, semi-colons, or colons.

To render a smooth surface, the XYZ-plotter interpolates randomly placed data-points onto a regular grid. The resolution of the grid defaults to 50x50. The 8-nearest neighboring points of your data are used to smoothly interpolate the value of each corresponding grid point. You can change the default grid resolutions and number of smoothing-points by the -xres, -yres, and -nsmooth command-line options.

Below is an example of x,y,z formatted data:


	     !      x          y	  z
		-1.645920   0.603504   0.054525
		-1.645920   0.201168   0.025225
		 1.280160   0.201168   0.052323
		 1.280160  -0.201168  -0.052323
		 0.182880   0.804672   0.238776
		 0.182880   0.402336   0.236319
		-1.645920  -0.201168  -0.025225
		-1.645920  -0.603504  -0.054525

Note that 'next' breaks are not needed with the explicit x,y,z format. One data point (x,y,z-tuplet) may be placed on each line of the data file. The data-points can occur in any order. Comments, axis-labels, and other commands may be interspersed on separate lines, as usual.



2.2 Comments -

Comment lines are embedded in data files, by placing an exclamation mark ('!') in the first column of a line.

	Example,
		! Experiment Eight.
		!  (x,y,z) 
		0
		2
		1
		next
		0
		5
		0
		next
		2
		2
		2



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3. Invocation:

To invoke XYZ, add an alias in your .login file that points to where XYZ is installed. For example:
	alias  xyz  '/home/bart/graph/xyz'
Then type xyz with your data file specified on the command-line. For instance, to plot data in file f1.dat:
	xyz  f1.dat


3.1 Interactive / Batch Usage:

XYZ can be used either interactively, or non-interactively from batch command-files or script-files.

3.2 Window Buttons:

The following window buttons offer interactive capabilities:

CrossHatch Button - Toggles the cross-hatch drawing mode.
                By default, the surface contour is drawn with 
                lines running in one direction, which is no-crosshatch.
                Toggling crosshatch-on, draws the surface with
                lines running in two-directions, which makes a
                so-called cross-hatch pattern.

Rotate Button - Allows you to select different angles of viewing
                perspective.  You can rotate the graph left-right
                and tilt it up-down.

ReDraw Button - Forces re-draw of the display.

ReSet Button - Resets all parameters to their initial defaults
		and then re-draws the display.

? Help Button - Causes a textual version of this help file to be displayed.

Print Button - Writes a postscript version of the plot as 
		displayed to file called ljet.ps.  You can
		send the file file to a printer for hardcopy.

Quit Button - Quits the graph window.




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4. Command-line Options:

The XYZ plotter contains several options for presenting graph data. To see a list of the options, press the help button, or invoke it with the '-help' command line option. The options are used for changing default settings.

Most display aspects can be changed interactively from the graph control-panel, so the command-line options are often more of a convenience. They enable the graph come up in a desired mode without pressing more buttons.

For non-interactive or script-driven usage, the command-line options are essential. They enable display modes to be set, or hardcopy print-outs to be generated, without the need of an interactive display for pressing buttons.

Below is a quick summary of the command-line options, followed by detailed descriptions of the important options.

4.1 Options Summary:

	-ps	Non-Interactive PostScript output.  Useful for batch 
		script-driven jobs.
	-mif	Non-Interactive MIF word-processor output.  Useful for 
		batch script-driven jobs.
	-help	Prints this list of options.
	-x_range Specify X-axis range.  Must be followed by two values.
		If specified before files, used as Soft outer limits which
		will be stretched if data values exceed given range.
		If specified before files, used as Rigid range which will
		restrict graph boundaries even if data exceeds given range.
	-y_range Specify Rigid Y-axis range.  Must be followed by two values.
		If specified before files, used as Soft outer limits which
		will be stretched if data values exceed given range.
		If specified before files, used as Rigid range which will
		restrict graph boundaries even if data exceeds given range.
	-z_range Specify Z-axis range.  Must be followed by two values.
		If specified before files, used as Soft outer limits which
		will be stretched if data values exceed given range.
		If specified before files, used as Rigid range which will
		restrict graph boundaries even if data exceeds given range.
	-xres	Specify the x-axis resolution when using general x,y,z data.
	-yres	Specify the y-axis resolution when using general x,y,z data.
	-nsmooth Specify the number of neighboring points to use for 
		interpolating general x,y,z data to the regular drawing grid.
	-ngrids_x - Specify number of horizontal axis grid tickmarks.
	-ngrids_y - Specify number of vertical axis grid tick-marks.
	-ngrids_z - Specify number of vertical axis grid tick-marks.
	-out_file - Specify postscript output file name.
	-lower_boundary - Position of lower graph border.
	-upper_boundary - Position of upper graph border.
	-left_boundary - Position of left graph border.
	-right_boundary - Position of right graph border.


4.2 Axis Ranges (-x_range, -y_range, -z_range):

By default, the XYZ utility is self scaling. That is, XYZ will pick the necessary axis ranges to exactly contain all the data you present to it. There are however occasions when you may wish to use specific axes ranges of your own. You can specify the range for the vertical and/or horizontal axis, as well as the Z-value range, by using the '-x_range', '-y_range', and '-z_range' command-line options respectively. This provides an easy way of quickly zooming into a particular region of your data, or of maintaining consistent axes ranges among several graphs.

Specify the horizontal axis range with:

		-x_range min_x max_x
where min_x and max_x are your desired range limits for the axis.

Specify the vertical axis range as in:

		-y_range min_y max_y
where min_y and max_y are your desired range limits for the axis.

Specify the Z-value range with:

		-z_range min_z max_z
where min_z and max_z are your desired range limits for the values.

You can use these to express 'hard' or 'soft' ranges. A 'hard' range means that the graph will be clipped exactly to the specified range, regardless of whether your data covers that range or exceeds it.

A 'soft' range means that the graph will be drawn out to that range even if your data does not span that range, but if data exists outside that range, the range will be extended to include the data.

You control the 'hardness' or 'softness' of your optionally specified ranges by where you place them on the command-line. If placed first on the command-line, the range specifier is 'soft' in that it acts merely as a minimum range. Any data coming afterward that exceeds that range will expand it. If placed last on the command line, the range specifier is 'hard' in that it sets the range to the specified value regardless of what the data range was that came before it.

The axes data ranges and their 'hardness' or 'softness' are independently controlled for the X, Y, and Z axes. For instance, you can specifiy the X-axis range, but let the Y- and Z-axes auto-scale to the data, by simply specifying only an X-axis range, or vice-verse.

If you are using XYZ interactively, you can use the range specifiers to set the initial ranges. Then you can move around with the pan and zoom buttons, once you are inside the graph.



4.3 Changing Graph Placement on Page:

You can specify the location and size of the graph on the printed page by specifying the upper, lower, left, and right boundary positions. This is useful for instance to shrink the graph to fit textual explanations under it, above it, or on the side. The boundaries are specified independently either on the command line or within a data file using the following:

On command line:
	-upper_boundary 
	-lower_boundary 
	-left_boundary  
	-right_boundary 
In file:
	upper_boundary = 
	lower_boundary = 
	left_boundary = 
	right_boundary = 
where the is in inches from the top of the 8.5-inch high page. Default position: upper_boundary=0.5, lower_boundary=7.0, left_boundary= 2.75, right_boundary=10.5.


4.4 Specifying Number of Divisions on Axes and Grids -

You can specify the number of divisions on each axis by the '-ngrids_x', '-ngrids_y' and '-ngrids_z' command line options.
  Example:

	-ngrids_x 8
Will attempt to divide the axis into 8 tick-marks. The default values are: ngrids_x = 5, ngrids_y = 7, ngrids_z = 10.


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5 Embeddable Commands

There are several embeddable commands that are described in this section. You place these commands within your data-files.


5.1 Titles:

You can add TITLEs to your graph and axes by embedding any of the following in the data file:
   title_x = 
   title_y = 
   title = 

   Examples:
            title_x = Time (uS)

    This will put 'Time (uS)' under the X-axis.


            title_y = Device Name

    This will put 'Device Name' to the left of the Y-axis.


	    title = Experiment 5: Two Search-mode Subgraphs.

    This will put 'Experiment 5: Two Search-mode Subgraphs.' 
    across the top of the graph page.

You can turn the titles off by invoking XYZ with the '-titles' option ahead of the graph name on the command line. The -titles option has a toggling affect, as do most of the other options, so you can turn it on-and-off several times across the command line to plot each file with different options. Specifying -titles a second time on the command line will turn the title sensitivity back on. This allows you select which files to include titles from when you are superimposing several files.
  Example 1:

       xyz  -titles  f1.dat  

     (This will only take titles from the f2.dat file.)
Sometimes it is convenient to have a dedicated file, that have nothing but the common titles you like to use as in:
      xyz  result.dat  velocity_graph.titles


5.2 Annotations -

You may place textual annotations directly on your graphs, for instance to identify curves, etc.. To do this, simply place an 'annotation' line on a line in a data file. An 'annotation' line begins with the keyword, 'ANNOtation', (where the caps are required, and the smalls are optional). This is followed by the X-Y coordinates of where the annotation text should appear on your graph. And these are followed by the annotation text itself until the end of the line.
The form is:
		annotation      
For example:
		anno   5.2  78.0   Second Experiment Results
The X-Y coordinate data are in the same coordinate system as your data (in other words, its not screen-coordinates, but data-coords.). The coordinate refers to the bottom left-hand corner of the text string.

To suppress annotations from appearing on you graph, you can use the '-sann', 'suppress annotations' command line option, or hit the Toggle-Annot button on the control panel.



5.4 Additional Text on Graph:

If you are sending your plot to a laser printer, then you may wish to place additional text to accompany your graph on the same page. This is often useful to identify or explain a particular graph or experiment by way of a caption.

To use this option, add the '-text' command-line. You embed text within your data file(s), by using the keyword 'text' followed by the inch-based coordinates of where you want it to appear on an 8.5x11 page. Then place your text on the succeeding lines. End the text entries by placing the keyword 'end_text' on an empty line. As with all other things, the keywords can be in caps or smalls or any combination thereof. An example follows:

	! This is an example of embedding text within a data file.
	! you might have axis titles and other things in here too.
	TEXT  4.5  3.2
	 Figure 8 - Revenue vs. Profits
	 	This text will be included on the graph
		when you select the '-text' option.
	END_TEXT
	! The data may then follow or precede the text, etc.


5.4 Replacing the vertical axis labels -

   Command Syntax:
		replace_y_axis  

   Example:
		replace_y_axis  101.2  VME_bus

   Action: The word 'VME_bus' will appear at the vertical position 
	   corresponding to 101.2 to the left of the y-axis where
	   the numbers would otherwise appear.



5.5 Replacing the horizontal axis labels -

 
   Command Syntax:
		replace_x_axis  

   Example:
		replace_x_axis  11  /device_11

   Action: The word '/device_11' will appear at the horizontal position 
	   corresponding to 11 under the x-axis where the x-axis
	   numbers would otherwise appear.



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6. Postscript Hardcopy:

If you are using XYZ interactively, you can get a printout by clicking on the print button when you are satisfied with how your graph looks. A dialogue will pop-up enabling you to direct your graph either directly to a specific printer, or to a file for later veiwing or printing.

If you are not in interactive mode, invoke XYZ with the '-ps' command-line option. A message will be printed to the screen saying that file 'ljet.ps' was written. To send it to a printer for hardcopy, type:

			lpr  ljet.ps

File name 'ljet.ps' is the default output file name. You can specify a different name by using the -out_file command line option upon invocation, as in:
	-out_file graph_3.ps
Postscript output would go to file 'graph_3.ps' instead of 'ljet.ps'.


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7. Word-Processor Export:

There is an option to write Maker-Interchange-Format (MIF) output for inclusion in a word-processor document, or for interactive manipulation in a graphical word-processor. Word-processors that are supported include: FrameMaker, Interleaf, and MW-Word via PowerPoint. If you are using XYZ interactively, you can produce a MIF file by clicking on the MIF button when you are satisfied with how your graph looks. Or if you are not in interactive mode, invoke XYZ with the '-mif' command-line option. In either case, a message will be printed to the screen saying that file 'plot.mif' was written.

You can then import the plot.mif file to your word-processor where you are free to manipulate the graph objects in any way that you choose. For instance, you can change fonts, font sizes, colors, etc.. You can also add textual annotations, with arrows to point to things, or circle or high-light particular graph features. One particularly powerful feature is the ability to stretch or shrink the whole graph, to change its aspect-ratio, or even rotate it 90-degrees. In this way you can easily put several graphs on a page with complete layout freedom.

File name 'plot.mif' is the default output file name. You can specify a different name by using the -out_file command line option upon invocation, as in:

	-out_file graph_3.mif
MIF output would go to file 'graph_3.mif' instead of 'plot.mif'.


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8. Examples

xyz taper.dat


Figure 8a - Mesh with crosshatch turned-on.

-

xyz mbeam.dat -z_range 0 -48


Figure 8b - Like plot in figure 1, but with crosshatch turned-on.



Download alpha versions:
  For PC Linux:
   plot3d_101800.tar
  For Sun Solaris:
   plot3d_sun.tar
(Disclaimer: These versions are not very mature.)

Note: These are dynamically linked, which means that you must have the Motif run-time library (libXm.so). This is usually already part of most Solaris installations and is stable.

Linux installations may not include Motif, such as RedHat distributions prior to 7.3. Also your LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable must reference the Motif/lib, which is normally /usr/X11R6/lib/libXm.so.xx. If you do not have it, versions are available from www.opengroup.org/openmotif or www.lesstif.org, on "Powerware" disk of Redhat as RPM and other Linux distributions.

The present plot3d_101800.tar for Linux was compiled under Redhat 6.2 (kernel 2.2). It is known to work up to RedHat 7.2. For some reason backward compatibility seems to break at RedHat 7.3 and upward. We are looking at the situation. We may either provide a statically linked version, or a separate version for newer Linux's.


Please report comments, problems, or suggestions to :
 xgraphadmin@xgraph.org .
LM - ATL
3-15-1999


See also:


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