MATLAB Function Reference |

Three-dimensional contour plot

**Syntax**

contour3(Z) contour3(Z,n) contour3(Z,v) contour3(X,Y,Z) contour3(X,Y,Z,n) contour3(X,Y,Z,v) contour3(axes_handle,...) contour3(...,

`LineSpec`

) [C,h] = contour3(...)

**Description**

`contour3`

creates a three-dimensional contour plot of a surface defined on a rectangular grid.

```
contour3(Z)
```

draws a contour plot of matrix `Z`

in a three-dimensional view. `Z`

is interpreted as heights with respect to the *x*-*y* plane. `Z`

must be at least a 2-by-2 matrix. The number of contour levels and the values of contour levels are chosen automatically. The ranges of the *x*- and *y*-axis are `[1:n]`

and `[1:m]`

, where `[m,n] = size(Z)`

.

```
contour3(Z,n)
```

draws a contour plot of matrix `Z`

with `n`

contour levels in a three-dimensional view.

```
contour3(Z,v)
```

draws a contour plot of matrix `Z`

with contour lines at the values specified in vector `v`

. The number of contour levels is equal to `length(v)`

. To draw a single contour of level `i`

, use `contour(Z,[i i])`

.

```
contour3(X,Y,Z), contour3(X,Y,Z,n), and contour3(X,Y,Z,v)
```

use `X`

and `Y`

to define the *x*- and *y*-axis limits. If `X`

is a matrix, `X(1,:)`

defines the *x*-axis. If `Y`

is a matrix, `Y(:,1)`

defines the *y*-axis. When `X`

and `Y`

are matrices, they must be the same size as `Z`

, in which case they specify a surface as `surf`

does.

`contour3(...,`

draws the contours using the line type and color specified by `LineSpec`

)
`LineSpec`

.

```
contour3(axes_handle,...)
```

plots into the axes with handle `axes_handle`

instead of the current axes (`gca`

).

```
[C,h] = contour3(...)
```

returns the contour matrix `C`

as described in the function `contourc`

and a column vector containing handles to graphics objects. `contour3`

creates patch graphics objects unless you specify `LineSpec`

, in which case `contour3`

creates line graphics objects.

**Remarks**

If you do not specify `LineSpec`

, `colormap`

and `caxis`

control the color.

If `X`

or `Y`

is irregularly spaced, `contour3`

calculates contours using a regularly spaced contour grid, then transforms the data to `X`

or `Y`

.

**Examples**

Plot the three-dimensional contour of a function and superimpose a surface plot to enhance visualization of the function.

[X,Y] = meshgrid([-2:.25:2]); Z = X.*exp(-X.^2-Y.^2); contour3(X,Y,Z,30) surface(X,Y,Z,'EdgeColor',[.8 .8 .8],'FaceColor','none') grid off view(-15,25) colormap cool

**See Also**

`contour`

, `contourc`

, `meshc`

, `meshgrid`

, `surfc`

Contour Plots category for related functions

Contour Plots section for more examples

contour | contourc |

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