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Major Graphics Changes in R2014b

Starting in R2014b, the MATLAB® graphics system is built on an improved infrastructure with a new visual look, a new graphics engine, and many enhancements and added options for customizing charts. Some of the graphics changes introduced are described here.

Graphics Handles Are Object Handles

Graphics objects now use object handles of various types instead of the numeric handles used in previous releases. Graphics objects behave like other MATLAB objects and support dot notation for getting and setting properties. See Graphics Handles Are Now Objects, Not Doubles for more information.

New Visual Look

The new visual look of MATLAB graphics has improved clarity and aesthetics with:

  • A new default colormap called parula. The new colormap is ordered from dark to light and is perceptually uniform. Smooth changes in data appear as smooth changes in color, while sharp changes in data appear as sharp changes in color. The new colormap presents data more accurately making the data easier to interpret.

  • New colors when plotting lines. The colors have equal saturation making it easier to differentiate between multiple lines.

  • A lighter figure background color and lighter grid lines to emphasize plotted data.

  • Anti-aliased fonts and lines for smoother text and graphics. For more information, see the GraphicsSmoothing property of figures and the FontSmoothing property of axes and text objects.

  • New axes properties for setting the grid line colors and for controlling the title and axis label font sizes. See the GridColor, TitleFontSizeMultiplier, and LabelFontSizeMultiplier properties for more information.

Other enhancements and new customization options include:

  • Rotatable axis tick labels. Use the XTickLabelRotation, YTickLabelRotation, and ZTickLabelRotation properties of the axes.

  • Special characters in the axis tick labels, such as superscripts, subscripts, and Greek letters. By default, the axes interprets tick label characters using TeX markup. For more information, see the TickLabelInterpreter property of the axes.

  • Different colormaps for each axes in a single figure. To change the colormap for an axes, pass the axes as an input argument to the colormap function.

  • Automatic update for axis tick labels when using datetime and duration data types with plot.

  • Pie charts of categorical data with automatic slice labels.

  • 3-D graphics that no longer extend beyond the axes boundaries when the Clipping property is set to 'on' (which is the default).

New Default Graphics Engine

Starting in R2014b, MATLAB uses OpenGL® as the default renderer for graphics. Improved OpenGL rendering such as support for transparency in vector output minimizes the need to switch renderers when working with charts.

Compatibility Considerations

The graphics changes introduced in R2014b support most of the functionality of previous releases, although there are some differences. For a list of troubleshooting topics related to the changes you are most likely to encounter, see Graphics Changes in R2014b. For a list of removed properties and function syntaxes, see Save and print functionality being removed or changed and Properties and syntaxes being removed or changed in the Graphics Release Notes.

Some graphics features might not work or might be unreliable because of outdated graphics drivers. Upgrade to the latest graphics drivers provided by your graphics hardware manufacturer. For more information, see System Requirements for Graphics.

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