[vslist] good plotting program?--MATLAB?

Mickey Rowe rowe at psych.ucsb.edu
Tue Jul 27 11:46:01 GMT 2004


Denis Pelli <denis.pelli at verizon.net> wrote:

> i find that it's very easy to create an initial graph in MATLAB, but
> that graph is rough and hard to improve. i've always given up before
> reaching anything like what i consider publication quality.

I'm still using version 5 of Matlab, but my experience isn't like that
at all.  One of the things I love about Matlab is that it gives me
complete control over anything and everything on its plots.  I am one
of the "tweakers".  I use Canvas 9 for final editing, but mainly
that's because it gives me better output flexibility.  Well, and it's
pretty good at helping me deal with one of the things I hate about
Matlab... all the unnecessary garbage Matlab writes into its
postscript files.

> i don't like that approach as i find that my graphs go through many
> drafts in which we add a bit of data or change the model slightly,
> and all the tweaking is lost every time you recreate the graph.

Whenever I create a figure I plan to keep around, I don't just keep
the figure.  In fact, I often don't keep the figure.  I keep the
scripts I used to generate it.  If you keep all of the "set" commands
you used to make the plot look like you want, you can do pretty much
all of your tweaking within Matlab, so it's trivial to fix things up
if you change your model, get more data, etc.  Granted it might be
preferable to tweak by clicking and dragging, but that's not easily
reproducible.  Whereas, for instance:

set(TextHandle,'Position', ...);

is easily re-used.  And you can save scripts which set defaults like:

set(0,'DefaultTextUnits','normalized');

which would allow you to specify the positions of text relative to the
axis position rather than in the coordinates of the graph (beware
that the command as I've written it will set that property for any and
all axes created after that command is run).  Finding and setting
properties in Matlab is trivial.  Remembering the ones you'll want may
take some time, but I've found it worth the effort.

Anyways...

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe at psych.ucsb.edu)



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