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st: RE: Some interesting 3D graphs

From   "Fiedler, James (JSC-SK)[USRA]" <>
To   "" <>
Subject   st: RE: Some interesting 3D graphs
Date   Fri, 19 Mar 2010 10:18:36 -0500

Thanks for sending this.  Many of the supplemental materials (direct url: require JavaScript, which is disabled where I am, unfortunately.  

A very long response follows.

They mention two ways of making 3D graphs.  The first requires 
1. writing your object to a common 3D format like .off
2. opening the file with MeshLab (a free modeling program) and converting to .u3d
3. embedding the model in a pdf using LaTeX and the movie15 package.

If you're thinking about doing this, here's my experience: The first version of MeshLab that I got didn't save to u3d correctly.  I downloaded a little newer version of MeshLab a little later, reinstalled, and the problem had been fixed.  Also, besides saving as a u3d I had to explicitly write in the .u3d extension or it didn't save correctly.  Also, make sure all of the files they mention here are up-to-date.  The LaTeX file ifdraft.sty is found within the oberdiek package.  (A simple google will tell you that, but for some reason it took me a little while to figure it out.)

The second option is to use Asymptote.  This is the method I am using now.  Why:
1. Asymptote allows color and transparency (as they mention)
2. the u3d-through-MeshLab gives a model that hides some portions depending on angle.  
3. Asymptote is a general graphing language.  I can add coordinate axes and labels with simple commands.  Also, Asymptote uses LaTeX for labeling, so you can put rendered LaTeX directly in your graph.  (Thus you should have LaTeX installed before installing Asymptote.  I don't think Asymptote even works without some kind of TeX.)

Asymptote has a steep learning curve (for me, at least, possibly because of not having strong programming skills).  

Hence, I am currently working on a Stata program for 3D graphing using Asymptote.  Essentially what I am doing is translating Stata syntax into Asymptote syntax, so that you could make Asymptote graphs without having to learn any of the Asymptote language.  The program will hopefully also automate part of the process of getting the 3d model into a pdf.


From: [] On Behalf Of Kieran McCaul []
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 8:33 PM
Subject: st: Some interesting 3D graphs


Some of this stuff looks interesting.  The animations are in pdfs files
in the supplementary materials.

Levine RA, Tierney L, Wickham H, Sampson E, Cook D and van Dyk DA
(2010).  Editorial: Publishing Animations, 3D Visualizations, and Movies
in JCGS.  Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics 19(1): 1-2.

Kieran McCaul MPH PhD
WA Centre for Health & Ageing (M573)
University of Western Australia
Level 6, Ainslie House
48 Murray St
Perth 6000
Phone: (08) 9224-2701
Fax: (08) 9224 8009

Epidemiology is so beautiful and provides such an important perspective
on human life and death,
but an incredible amount of rubbish is published.  Richard Peto

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