Display Options#

Take a look at the different display options offered by the add_mesh method.

import pyvista as pv
from pyvista import examples

mesh = examples.load_random_hills()

p = pv.Plotter()
a display options

Let’s take a look at some different options for the add_mesh method to alter how the above data are displayed.

See also https://docs.pyvista.org/api/plotting/_autosummary/pyvista.Plotter.add_mesh.html

Help on method add_mesh in module pyvista.plotting.plotter:

add_mesh(mesh, color=None, style=None, scalars=None, clim=None, show_edges=None, edge_color=None, point_size=None, line_width=None, opacity=None, flip_scalars=False, lighting=None, n_colors=256, interpolate_before_map=None, cmap=None, label=None, reset_camera=None, scalar_bar_args=None, show_scalar_bar=None, multi_colors=False, name=None, texture=None, render_points_as_spheres=None, render_lines_as_tubes=None, smooth_shading=None, split_sharp_edges=None, ambient=None, diffuse=None, specular=None, specular_power=None, nan_color=None, nan_opacity=1.0, culling=None, rgb=None, categories=False, silhouette=None, use_transparency=False, below_color=None, above_color=None, annotations=None, pickable=True, preference='point', log_scale=False, pbr=None, metallic=None, roughness=None, render=True, component=None, emissive=None, copy_mesh=False, backface_params=None, show_vertices=None, **kwargs) method of pyvista.plotting.plotter.Plotter instance
    Add any PyVista/VTK mesh or dataset that PyVista can wrap to the scene.

    This method is using a mesh representation to view the surfaces
    and/or geometry of datasets. For volume rendering, see

    To see the what most of the following parameters look like in action,
    please refer to :class:`pyvista.Property`.

    mesh : pyvista.DataSet or pyvista.MultiBlock or vtk.vtkAlgorithm
        Any PyVista or VTK mesh is supported. Also, any dataset
        that :func:`pyvista.wrap` can handle including NumPy
        arrays of XYZ points. Plotting also supports VTK algorithm
        objects (``vtk.vtkAlgorithm`` and ``vtk.vtkAlgorithmOutput``).
        When passing an algorithm, the rendering pipeline will be
        connected to the passed algorithm to dynamically update
        the scene.

    color : ColorLike, optional
        Use to make the entire mesh have a single solid color.
        Either a string, RGB list, or hex color string.  For example:
        ``color='white'``, ``color='w'``, ``color=[1.0, 1.0, 1.0]``, or
        ``color='#FFFFFF'``. Color will be overridden if scalars are

        Defaults to :attr:`pyvista.global_theme.color

    style : str, optional
        Visualization style of the mesh.  One of the following:
        ``style='surface'``, ``style='wireframe'``, ``style='points'``,
        ``style='points_gaussian'``. Defaults to ``'surface'``. Note that
        ``'wireframe'`` only shows a wireframe of the outer geometry.
        ``'points_gaussian'`` can be modified with the ``emissive``,
        ``render_points_as_spheres`` options.

    scalars : str | numpy.ndarray, optional
        Scalars used to "color" the mesh.  Accepts a string name
        of an array that is present on the mesh or an array equal
        to the number of cells or the number of points in the
        mesh.  Array should be sized as a single vector. If both
        ``color`` and ``scalars`` are ``None``, then the active
        scalars are used.

    clim : sequence[float], optional
        Two item color bar range for scalars.  Defaults to minimum and
        maximum of scalars array.  Example: ``[-1, 2]``. ``rng`` is
        also an accepted alias for this.

    show_edges : bool, optional
        Shows the edges of a mesh.  Does not apply to a wireframe

    edge_color : ColorLike, optional
        The solid color to give the edges when ``show_edges=True``.
        Either a string, RGB list, or hex color string.

        Defaults to :attr:`pyvista.global_theme.edge_color

    point_size : float, optional
        Point size of any nodes in the dataset plotted. Also
        applicable when style='points'. Default ``5.0``.

    line_width : float, optional
        Thickness of lines.  Only valid for wireframe and surface
        representations.  Default ``None``.

    opacity : float | str| array_like
        Opacity of the mesh. If a single float value is given, it
        will be the global opacity of the mesh and uniformly
        applied everywhere - should be between 0 and 1. A string
        can also be specified to map the scalars range to a
        predefined opacity transfer function (options include:
        ``'linear'``, ``'linear_r'``, ``'geom'``, ``'geom_r'``).
        A string could also be used to map a scalars array from
        the mesh to the opacity (must have same number of elements
        as the ``scalars`` argument). Or you can pass a custom
        made transfer function that is an array either
        ``n_colors`` in length or shorter.

    flip_scalars : bool, default: False
        Flip direction of cmap. Most colormaps allow ``*_r``
        suffix to do this as well.

    lighting : bool, optional
        Enable or disable view direction lighting. Default ``False``.

    n_colors : int, optional
        Number of colors to use when displaying scalars. Defaults to 256.
        The scalar bar will also have this many colors.

    interpolate_before_map : bool, optional
        Enabling makes for a smoother scalars display.  Default is
        ``True``.  When ``False``, OpenGL will interpolate the
        mapped colors which can result is showing colors that are
        not present in the color map.

    cmap : str | list | pyvista.LookupTable, default: :attr:`pyvista.plotting.themes.Theme.cmap`
        If a string, this is the name of the ``matplotlib`` colormap to use
        when mapping the ``scalars``.  See available Matplotlib colormaps.
        Only applicable for when displaying ``scalars``.
        ``colormap`` is also an accepted alias
        for this. If ``colorcet`` or ``cmocean`` are installed, their
        colormaps can be specified by name.

        You can also specify a list of colors to override an existing
        colormap with a custom one.  For example, to create a three color
        colormap you might specify ``['green', 'red', 'blue']``.

        This parameter also accepts a :class:`pyvista.LookupTable`. If this
        is set, all parameters controlling the color map like ``n_colors``
        will be ignored.

    label : str, optional
        String label to use when adding a legend to the scene with

    reset_camera : bool, optional
        Reset the camera after adding this mesh to the scene. The default
        setting is ``None``, where the camera is only reset if this plotter
        has already been shown. If ``False``, the camera is not reset
        regardless of the state of the ``Plotter``. When ``True``, the
        camera is always reset.

    scalar_bar_args : dict, optional
        Dictionary of keyword arguments to pass when adding the
        scalar bar to the scene. For options, see

    show_scalar_bar : bool, optional
        If ``False``, a scalar bar will not be added to the

    multi_colors : bool, default: False
        If a :class:`pyvista.MultiBlock` dataset is given this will color
        each block by a solid color using matplotlib's color cycler.

    name : str, optional
        The name for the added mesh/actor so that it can be easily
        updated.  If an actor of this name already exists in the
        rendering window, it will be replaced by the new actor.

    texture : pyvista.Texture or np.ndarray, optional
        A texture to apply if the input mesh has texture
        coordinates.  This will not work with MultiBlock

    render_points_as_spheres : bool, optional
        Render points as spheres rather than dots.

    render_lines_as_tubes : bool, optional
        Show lines as thick tubes rather than flat lines.  Control
        the width with ``line_width``.

    smooth_shading : bool, optional
        Enable smooth shading when ``True`` using the Phong
        shading algorithm.  When ``False``, use flat shading.
        Automatically enabled when ``pbr=True``.  See

    split_sharp_edges : bool, optional
        Split sharp edges exceeding 30 degrees when plotting with smooth
        shading.  Control the angle with the optional keyword argument
        ``feature_angle``.  By default this is ``False`` unless overridden
        by the global or plotter theme.  Note that enabling this will
        create a copy of the input mesh within the plotter.  See

    ambient : float, optional
        When lighting is enabled, this is the amount of light in
        the range of 0 to 1 (default 0.0) that reaches the actor
        when not directed at the light source emitted from the

    diffuse : float, optional
        The diffuse lighting coefficient. Default 1.0.

    specular : float, optional
        The specular lighting coefficient. Default 0.0.

    specular_power : float, optional
        The specular power. Between 0.0 and 128.0.

    nan_color : ColorLike, optional
        The color to use for all ``NaN`` values in the plotted
        scalar array.

    nan_opacity : float, optional
        Opacity of ``NaN`` values.  Should be between 0 and 1.
        Default 1.0.

    culling : str, optional
        Does not render faces that are culled. Options are
        ``'front'`` or ``'back'``. This can be helpful for dense
        surface meshes, especially when edges are visible, but can
        cause flat meshes to be partially displayed.  Defaults to

    rgb : bool, optional
        If an 2 dimensional array is passed as the scalars, plot
        those values as RGB(A) colors. ``rgba`` is also an
        accepted alias for this.  Opacity (the A) is optional.  If
        a scalars array ending with ``"_rgba"`` is passed, the default
        becomes ``True``.  This can be overridden by setting this
        parameter to ``False``.

    categories : bool, optional
        If set to ``True``, then the number of unique values in
        the scalar array will be used as the ``n_colors``

    silhouette : dict, bool, optional
        If set to ``True``, plot a silhouette highlight for the
        mesh. This feature is only available for a triangulated
        ``PolyData``.  As a ``dict``, it contains the properties
        of the silhouette to display:

            * ``color``: ``ColorLike``, color of the silhouette
            * ``line_width``: ``float``, edge width
            * ``opacity``: ``float`` between 0 and 1, edge transparency
            * ``feature_angle``: If a ``float``, display sharp edges
              exceeding that angle in degrees.
            * ``decimate``: ``float`` between 0 and 1, level of decimation

    use_transparency : bool, optional
        Invert the opacity mappings and make the values correspond
        to transparency.

    below_color : ColorLike, optional
        Solid color for values below the scalars range
        (``clim``). This will automatically set the scalar bar
        ``below_label`` to ``'below'``.

    above_color : ColorLike, optional
        Solid color for values below the scalars range
        (``clim``). This will automatically set the scalar bar
        ``above_label`` to ``'above'``.

    annotations : dict, optional
        Pass a dictionary of annotations. Keys are the float
        values in the scalars range to annotate on the scalar bar
        and the values are the string annotations.

    pickable : bool, optional
        Set whether this actor is pickable.

    preference : str, default: "point"
        When ``mesh.n_points == mesh.n_cells`` and setting
        scalars, this parameter sets how the scalars will be
        mapped to the mesh.  Default ``'point'``, causes the
        scalars will be associated with the mesh points.  Can be
        either ``'point'`` or ``'cell'``.

    log_scale : bool, default: False
        Use log scale when mapping data to colors. Scalars less
        than zero are mapped to the smallest representable
        positive float.

    pbr : bool, optional
        Enable physics based rendering (PBR) if the mesh is
        ``PolyData``.  Use the ``color`` argument to set the base

    metallic : float, optional
        Usually this value is either 0 or 1 for a real material
        but any value in between is valid. This parameter is only
        used by PBR interpolation.

    roughness : float, optional
        This value has to be between 0 (glossy) and 1 (rough). A
        glossy material has reflections and a high specular
        part. This parameter is only used by PBR

    render : bool, default: True
        Force a render when ``True``.

    component : int, optional
        Set component of vector valued scalars to plot.  Must be
        nonnegative, if supplied. If ``None``, the magnitude of
        the vector is plotted.

    emissive : bool, optional
        Treat the points/splats as emissive light sources. Only valid for
        ``style='points_gaussian'`` representation.

    copy_mesh : bool, default: False
        If ``True``, a copy of the mesh will be made before adding it to
        the plotter.  This is useful if you would like to add the same
        mesh to a plotter multiple times and display different
        scalars. Setting ``copy_mesh`` to ``False`` is necessary if you
        would like to update the mesh after adding it to the plotter and
        have these updates rendered, e.g. by changing the active scalars or
        through an interactive widget. This should only be set to ``True``
        with caution. Defaults to ``False``. This is ignored if the input
        is a ``vtkAlgorithm`` subclass.

    backface_params : dict | pyvista.Property, optional
        A :class:`pyvista.Property` or a dict of parameters to use for
        backface rendering. This is useful for instance when the inside of
        oriented surfaces has a different color than the outside. When a
        :class:`pyvista.Property`, this is directly used for backface
        rendering. When a dict, valid keys are :class:`pyvista.Property`
        attributes, and values are corresponding values to use for the
        given property. Omitted keys (or the default of
        ``backface_params=None``) default to the corresponding frontface

    show_vertices : bool, optional
        When ``style`` is not ``'points'``, render the external surface
        vertices. The following optional keyword arguments may be used to
        control the style of the vertices:

        * ``vertex_color`` - The color of the vertices
        * ``vertex_style`` - Change style to ``'points_gaussian'``
        * ``vertex_opacity`` - Control the opacity of the vertices

    **kwargs : dict, optional
        Optional keyword arguments.

        Actor of the mesh.

    Add a sphere to the plotter and show it with a custom scalar
    bar title.

    >>> import pyvista as pv
    >>> sphere = pv.Sphere()
    >>> sphere['Data'] = sphere.points[:, 2]
    >>> plotter = pv.Plotter()
    >>> _ = plotter.add_mesh(
    ...     sphere, scalar_bar_args={'title': 'Z Position'}
    ... )
    >>> plotter.show()

    Plot using RGB on a single cell.  Note that since the number of
    points and the number of cells are identical, we have to pass

    >>> import pyvista as pv
    >>> import numpy as np
    >>> vertices = np.array(
    ...     [
    ...         [0, 0, 0],
    ...         [1, 0, 0],
    ...         [0.5, 0.667, 0],
    ...         [0.5, 0.33, 0.667],
    ...     ]
    ... )
    >>> faces = np.hstack(
    ...     [[3, 0, 1, 2], [3, 0, 3, 2], [3, 0, 1, 3], [3, 1, 2, 3]]
    ... )
    >>> mesh = pv.PolyData(vertices, faces)
    >>> mesh.cell_data['colors'] = [
    ...     [255, 255, 255],
    ...     [0, 255, 0],
    ...     [0, 0, 255],
    ...     [255, 0, 0],
    ... ]
    >>> plotter = pv.Plotter()
    >>> _ = plotter.add_mesh(
    ...     mesh,
    ...     scalars='colors',
    ...     lighting=False,
    ...     rgb=True,
    ...     preference='cell',
    ... )
    >>> plotter.camera_position = 'xy'
    >>> plotter.show()

    Note how this varies from ``preference=='point'``.  This is
    because each point is now being individually colored, versus
    in ``preference=='point'``, each cell face is individually

    >>> plotter = pv.Plotter()
    >>> _ = plotter.add_mesh(
    ...     mesh,
    ...     scalars='colors',
    ...     lighting=False,
    ...     rgb=True,
    ...     preference='point',
    ... )
    >>> plotter.camera_position = 'xy'
    >>> plotter.show()

    Plot a plane with a constant color and vary its opacity by point.

    >>> plane = pv.Plane()
    >>> plane.plot(
    ...     color='b',
    ...     opacity=np.linspace(0, 1, plane.n_points),
    ...     show_edges=True,
    ... )

    Plot the points of a sphere with Gaussian smoothing while coloring by z

    >>> mesh = pv.Sphere()
    >>> mesh.plot(
    ...     scalars=mesh.points[:, 2],
    ...     style='points_gaussian',
    ...     opacity=0.5,
    ...     point_size=10,
    ...     render_points_as_spheres=False,
    ...     show_scalar_bar=False,
    ... )

Plot that mesh with the edges of cells displayed

p = pv.Plotter()
p.add_mesh(mesh, show_edges=True)
a display options

Plot that mesh with the colored edges and as a show the surface as a solid color (use a named color!)

p = pv.Plotter()
p.add_mesh(mesh, color="magenta", show_edges=True, edge_color="blue")
a display options

Display with a points representation style

p = pv.Plotter()
p.add_mesh(mesh, style="points")
a display options

And adjust the points display size

p = pv.Plotter()
p.add_mesh(mesh, style="points", point_size=10, render_points_as_spheres=True)
a display options

Change the color map and the color limits

p = pv.Plotter()
p.add_mesh(mesh, cmap="terrain", clim=[2, 5])
a display options

Add some opacity

p = pv.Plotter()
p.add_mesh(mesh, cmap="terrain", clim=[2, 5], opacity="linear")
a display options

There you go! Those are a few of the most commonly used display options!

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