Last week we explored the Excel component of Mathcad Prime 2.0. This week we’ll take a look at the 3D plots feature of Mathcad Prime 2.0, which will be released in early 2012. Users often need to get a quick qualitative and quantitative understanding of their models or data. This is most effectively achieved by creating and using plots.
Many complex models require 3D views to better understand these models and data. Now, with Mathcad Prime 2.0, you will be able to create 3D plots based on your data with even more ease and accuracy.
There are a number of features that are new to Mathcad Prime 2.0. To begin, I will discuss the controls. At the left of each 3D plot you insert into your Mathcad worksheet, you see four different control options. If you look at the image below, from top to bottom they are spin, pan, zoom, and reset. The pan control is a completely new tool that allows you to drag and reposition your 3D plot.
Also, if you click on a particular point of the plot, your plot will re-center around that point. The reset control is also new. It allows you to reset your 3D plot to its original view. The spin and zoom controls are ones that existed in earlier versions of Mathcad and have been carried over into Mathcad Prime 2.0.
Other usability features that have been improved by the Prime User Interface include the formatting options. In Mathcad Prime 2.0, you can simply go into the plots tab and format from there, instead of having to go through many dialog boxes. Another great new feature of Mathcad Prime 2.0 is that all of these formatting changes can be undone with the click of a button or by pressing the keys “Ctrl” and “Z”. You can also easily edit and reformat the x and y axis values by highlighting the desired axis in the Axis Selector at the top right of your 3D plot.
To understand some of the features of 3D plots in Mathcad Prime 2.0, I discussed the topic with Chahid Ghaddar, a Software Development Engineer and Senior Technical Consultant, and Marion Raikhlin, a Product Definition Engineer, who both work on Mathcad development. Both of these experts showed me that you can now type a function directly into the z-axis expression (see image below).
You can also type a function with its arguments. Raikhlin says, “This innocent looking improvement is actually quite powerful, because we’re allowing the function to take in range variables defined above the plots, giving an easy, transparent, method to control the x and y values.” See the images below to see how different the data can be visualized when limiting the axes ranges and revising the number of points shown.
Ghaddar also highlighted the simplicity of conversion scaling. For example, if your function is written in kilograms as below, but you want to graph the 3D results in pounds, Mathcad automatically converts the data, scale, and units for you. He says, “Supporting dimensional input is a new feature to Prime. 3D plots now accept dimensional input and will also rescale the plot automatically if the user changes the units in the placeholder next to the data.”
Ghaddar says, “One thing that is great about these Mathcad Prime 2.0 3D plots is that they evaluate and analyze the data expression then automatically figure out the proper plot based on the data whether it represents a surface, a curve, or scattered points. The user need not specify the type of plot desired.” The 3D plot adjusts to either a surface plot or a curve based on what you ask it to plot.
Learn more about 3D plots in our next blog post and don’t forget to try out your favorite plot in Mathcad Prime 2.0!