# Another question about rendering with painters

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Rick on 13 Sep 2016
Commented: Rick on 14 Sep 2016
Hi,
I hope someone can help me with this. I need to output a 3D surface with correct depth ordering to an .eps file. The output must be in vectors. If I make the image with the opengl renderer the image will be pixel-based not vector-based. So, I need a workaround. I thought I could make my own surface grid using the painters renderer. However, the painters algorithm doesn't seem to work as it should.
The code below illustrates the problem. I make a regression surface then plot some points along the line x = y and z = max(z(:)). The result is correct (but unusable) with the opengl renderer, but wrong with the painters renderer. Given that the painters algorithm draws points from furthest to closest, with closer points overwriting further points, the grid lines should never overwrite the plot symbols, but they do.
Am I misinformed about how painters is supposed to work? Or are there settings I don't know about?
Thanks, Rick
close all;
clear all;
f = figure;
set(f,'renderer','Painters');
view(-40, 20);
n = 32; % number of x and y gridlines.
x = linspace(0,400,n);
y = linspace(0,300,n);
[X, Y] = meshgrid(x, y);
z = 0 + 4*X + 2*Y; % Make a regression plane
mx = max(z(:)); % A constant height
hold on;
for idx = 1:2:n
% Plot points a constant hight above 0.
h1 = plot3(x(idx), y(idx), mx, 'o');
set(h1, 'markerfacecolor', 'c', 'markeredgecolor', 'k', 'markersize', 20);
end
% Draw the regression plane as a bunch of line segments.
% Drawing line segments reduces ambiguity about the depth of the
% line at a given point.
for c = randperm(n-1)
for r = randperm(n-1)
% randperm is weird. However, the order in which things are drawn
% affects depth ordering when using scatter3, for some inexplicable
% reason.
h2=line([x(c) x(c+1)], [y(r) y(r)], [z(r,c), z(r,c+1)]);
h3=line([x(c) x(c)], [y(r) y(r+1)], [z(r,c), z(r+1,c)]);
% Color the lines according height above 0.
set([h2, h3], 'color', [.8 .8 .8]*z(r,c)/max(z(:)));
end
end
grid on;
for idx = 1:4
set(f,'renderer','opengl', 'name', 'opengl');
title('opengl', 'fontsize', 20);
pause(2);
set(f,'renderer','painters', 'name', 'Painters');
title('Painters', 'fontsize', 20);
pause(2);
end

Walter Roberson on 13 Sep 2016
I suggest you have a look at the File Exchange contribution export_fig which supports vector output in some circumstances (SVG files at least; not sure about others.)
Rick on 14 Sep 2016
My question is really about generating vector graphics. I can easily save an image rendered with opengl as an eps file but this is not what I need.
Anyway, I will try to find a way to delete this question because the problem illustrated in the code above relates to an older version of Matlab. Unfortunately, I can't use the most recent version of Matlab because it renders symbols so poorly.
Thanks for responding.
Rick