Animated 3d chart with R.

This post shows how to build a 3d scatterplot and make it spin thanks to the rgl package. Reproducible code is provided.

3d Section 3d: warning

The rgl package is the best option to build 3d charts in R. Please see this post for an introduction to 3d scatterplots using it.

It also provides the plot3d() and play3d() functions that allow to animate the 3d chart, and eventually to export the result at a .gif format. Here is an application to the famous iris dataset, with a nice animated 3d scatterplot chart.

3D animated chart in R
library( rgl )

# Let's use the iris dataset
# iris

# This is ugly
colors <- c("royalblue1", "darkcyan", "oldlace")
iris$color <- colors[ as.numeric( as.factor(iris$Species) ) ]

# Static chart
plot3d( iris[,1], iris[,2], iris[,3], col = iris$color, type = "s", radius = .2 )

# We can indicate the axis and the rotation velocity
play3d( spin3d( axis = c(0, 0, 1), rpm = 20), duration = 10 )

# Save like gif
  spin3d( axis = c(0, 0, 1), rpm = 7),
  duration = 10, 
  dir = "~/Desktop",
  type = "gif", 
  clean = TRUE

Related chart types

Data art


This document is a work by Yan Holtz. Any feedback is highly encouraged. You can fill an issue on Github, drop me a message on Twitter, or send an email pasting with

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