axis command works by setting
various axes object properties. You can set these properties directly to achieve
precisely the effect you want.
Sets the relative scaling of the individual axis data
Sets the proportions of the axes plot box (set
Defines the location and size of the axes with a four-element vector: [left offset, bottom offset, width, height].
Sets the minimum and maximum limits of the respective axes.
When the mode properties are set to
auto, MATLAB automatically determines values for all of these properties and then
stretches the axes to fit the figure shape. You can override any property's
automatic operation by specifying a value for the property or setting its mode
property to manual.
The value you select for a particular property depends primarily on what type of data you want to display. Much of the data visualized with MATLAB is either
Numerical data displayed as line, mesh plots, or other specialized plot
Representations of real-world objects (e.g., a motor vehicle or a section of the earth's topography)
In the first case, it is generally desirable to select axis limits that provide good resolution in each axis direction and to fill the available space. Real-world objects, on the other hand, need to be represented accurately in proportion, regardless of the angle of view.
The MATLAB default property values are designed to
Select axis limits to span the range of the data (when
ZLimMode are set to
Provide the highest resolution in the available space by setting the scale
of each axis independently (when
PlotBoxAspectRatioMode are set to
Draw axes that fit the position rectangle by adjusting the
CameraViewAngle and then stretch-to-fill the axes if
specifies the location and dimensions of the axes within the figure. The third and
fourth elements of the
Position vector (
height) define a rectangle in which MATLAB draws the axes. MATLAB fits the axes to this rectangle.
The default value for the axes
Units property is
normalized to the parent figure dimensions. This means the shape of the figure
window determines the shape of the position rectangle. As you change the size of the
figure window, MATLAB reshapes the position rectangle to fit it.
Changing the size and shape of the figure causes a change in the size and shape of the axes. The axes might select new axis tick mark locations as well.
Reshaping the axes to fit into the figure window can change the aspect ratio of the graph. MATLAB fits the axes to fill the position rectangle and in the process can distort the shape. This is generally desirable for graphs of numeric data, but not for displaying objects realistically.
To maintain a particular shape, you can specify the size of the axes in absolute units such as inches, which are independent of the figure window size. However, this is not a good approach if you are writing a MATLAB program that you want to work with a figure window of any size. A better approach is to specify the aspect ratio of the axes and override automatic stretch-to-fill.
In cases where you want a specific aspect ratio, you can override stretching by specifying a value for these axes properties:
The first two sets of properties affect the aspect ratio directly. Setting either
of the mode properties to
manual simply disables stretch-to-fill
while maintaining all current property values. In this case, MATLAB enlarges the axes until one dimension of the position rectangle
constrains it. For example, setting the
[1 1 1]:
sphere daspect([1 1 1]) set(gca,'BoxStyle','full','Box','on')
Changing the size and shape of the figure does not change the aspect ratio of the axes.
CameraViewAngle property disables stretch-to-fill,
and also prevents MATLAB from readjusting the size of the axes if you change the view.
It is important to understand how properties interact with each other, in order to
obtain the results you want. The
PlotBoxAspectRatio, and the x-,
y-, and z-axis limits
properties) all place constraints on the shape of the axes.
property controls the ratio of the axis scales. For example, to display a
surface plot of a mathematical expression MATLAB selects a data aspect ratio that emphasizes the function’s
[X,Y] = meshgrid([-2:.15:2],[-4:.3:4]); Z = X.*exp(-X.^2 - Y.^2); surf(X,Y,Z) set(gca,'BoxStyle','full','Box','on')
daspect function returns the
actual value of the
ans = 4 8 1
This means that four units in length along the x-axis cover the same data values as eight units in length along the y-axis and one unit in length along the z-axis. The axes fill the plot box, which has an aspect ratio of [1 1 1] by default.
If you want to view the surface plot so that the relative magnitudes along
each axis are equal with respect to each other, you can set the
[1 1 1].
daspect([1 1 1])
Setting the value of the
DataAspectRatio property also sets
overrides stretch-to-fill so the specified aspect ratio is achieved.
Looking at the value of the
for the graph in the previous section shows that it has now taken on
the former value of the
pbaspect function to returns
the value of the
ans = 4 8 1
Notice that MATLAB rescaled the plot box to accommodate the graph using the specified
PlotBoxAspectRatio property controls the shape of the
axes plot box. By default, MATLAB sets this property to
[1 1 1] and adjusts the
DataAspectRatio property so that graphs fill the plot box
or until reaching a constraint.
When you set the value of the
DataAspectRatio, and thereby
prevent it from changing, MATLAB varies the
If you specify both the
DataAspectRatio and the
PlotBoxAspectRatio, MATLAB is forced to change the axis limits to obey the two constraints
you have already defined.
Continuing with the mesh example, if you set both properties,
daspect([1 1 1]) pbaspect([1 1 1])
MATLAB changes the axis limits to satisfy the two constraints placed on the axes.
MATLAB enables you to set the axis limits. However, specifying a value
and the axis limits over constrains the axes definition. For example, it is not
possible for MATLAB to draw the axes if you set these values:
set(gca,'DataAspectRatio',[1 1 1],... 'PlotBoxAspectRatio',[1 1 1],... 'XLim',[-4 4],... 'YLim',[-4 4],... 'ZLim',[-1 1])
In this case, MATLAB ignores the setting of the
and determines its value automatically.
ans = 4 4 1
MATLAB can now draw the axes using the specified
DataAspectRatio and axis limits.
If you want to display an object so that it looks realistic, you need to change MATLAB defaults. For example, this data defines a wedge-shaped patch object.
vert = [0 0 0;0 1 0;1 1 0;1 0 0;0 0 1;0 1 1;1 1 4;1 0 4]; fac = [1 2 3 4;2 6 7 3;4 3 7 8;1 5 8 4;1 2 6 5;5 6 7 8]; patch('Vertices',vert,'Faces',fac,... 'FaceColor',[0.7 0.7 0.7],'EdgeColor','k') view(3)
However, this axes distorts the actual shape of the solid object defined by the
data. To display it in correct proportions, set the
set(gca,'DataAspectRatio',[1 1 1])