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Mathematica Cookbook by Sal Mangano

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Chapter 6. Two-Dimensional Graphics and Plots

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you that I almost believe that they’re real I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you that I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

The Cure, "Pictures of You"

6.0 Introduction

One of the features that places Mathematica in a class by itself among similar computer-aided mathematics tools is its advanced graphics capabilities. This chapter focuses on two-dimensional graphics. Mathematica provides a variety of plotting functions with a versatile set of options for customizing their display. The most common types of 2D graphic are the plot of a function and list plots of values. 6.1 Plotting Functions in Cartesian Coordinates covers Plot and 6.4 Plotting Data covers ListPlot. Frequently you will want to use other coordinate systems or scales. In two dimensions, PolarPlot and ParametricPlot are often used as demonstrated in 6.1 Plotting Functions in Cartesian Coordinates and 6.2 Plotting in Polar Coordinates.

True to its symbolic nature, Mathematica represents all graphics as collections of graphics primitives and directives. Primitives include objects such as Point and Line; directives provide styling information such as Thickness and Hue. Mathematica allows you to work with the low-level primitives (see 6.8 Displaying 2D Geometric Shapes), but most readers will be interested in the higher-level functions like Plot and ListPlot, which generate graphics from functions ...

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