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RE: Mathematica exports curves in pieces to Illustrator

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg45396] RE: Mathematica exports curves in pieces to Illustrator
  • From: Yasvir Tesiram <tesiramy at>
  • Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 04:16:53 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


As I understand it, when you save as EPS or other formats, some other
programs are called to save the file. As is the creation of postscript for
display in the frontend. The rendering in the FrontEnd
is done (I guess, someone correct me if I'm wrong), by using these
programs and the system "stdout". In the case of exported files,"EPS" just
happens to be a convenient format to work with when using Adobe
Illustrator. In a nutshell, a graphic is made from a Mathematica
defintion of points and lines which then gets converted to PS by some
translation program for display to the screen or other device like a
After having understood the difference between Graphics
primitives and directives, I can make basic 2D plots that are of
acceptable publication quality from Mathematica directly. Alternately you
can save the data and import it into graphing programs like SigmaPlot,
ProFit etc which have the convenience of "press-button" features. But, if
you have Mathematica and gain some proficiency in it, you don't need
these relatively expensive programs.
I also use your DrawGraphics package sometimes to save myself a headache.
I have used DrawGraphics to make 3D vector diagrams and have managed to do
most of the basic layout using Mathematica. Beyond this, I have always
used Illustrator to clean up the graphic. If you Ungroup the graphic in
Illustrator you will see many, many objects and you can zoom in, zoom out
and clean up the graphic as you please. Usually, items that need cleaning
up are lines which may have been rendered behind (before) a solid filled
object (e.g a Polygon). Some of my other 3D graphics are built up from
very large data sets and I have used Jens-Peers MathGL3D package to
visualise these data sets. They can also be imported into Illustrator, but
without sufficient memory and speed, they are cumbersome graphics to
work with.
Recently, I found my self working via the MathKernel directly (for
convenience mainly). On a Mac running MacOS 10.3, Wolfram does not provide
the programs athena or motif to render the graphics and have it displayed.
In this instance, I used "The GIMP" (";) to visualise the
graphic in preference to the program ghostscript by creating a temporary
"eps" file that could be read by the GIMP. But I am just learning
the basics of GIMP and so cannot give a full account of how it compares
with commercial programs. Certainly looks good for artistic work and may
not be all that science oriented.
I have found Illustrator to be extremely useful in cleaning up
Mathematica written "EPS" files. Another program is CorelDraw, but I
jumped off that "band wagon" a long time ago.
In so far as the Graphics Gallery on the WRI website is concerned, I don't
think there has been an auxilliary program that the graphics have been run
through apart from what they deliver already. It may be that there are
some differences between the binaries delivered for different platforms
and there could be any number of issues behind why Wolfram deliver what
they have delivered. For myself, at least, I have found a good degree of
consistency between graphics produced on Mac, Windows-PC, Linux-PC, using
graphics cards of various quality.


 > Yas,
> I have often wondered about programs that would take Mathematica plot output
> and allow improvements to be made on the plots. What programs are available,
> what will they do for you and roughly how much do they cost? How well do
> they work with 3D graphics? Are they worth it?
> One of the things I don't like about Mathematica 3D graphics is the poor
> rendering. There are often extra lines and spots that shouldn't appear in
> the graphics. Do programs like Illustrator solve these problems? When I look
> at some of the sample 3D plots on the WRI web site, they look as if they had
> been run through an auxiliary program.
> David Park
> djmp at
> From: Yasvir Tesiram [mailto:tesiramy at]
To: mathgroup at
> Hi,
> I usually Ungroup the entire  graphic and you can use Shift+ObjectSelect
> in Illustrator to select common graphics objects within the main graphic.
> Alternately, you can use Prolog and Epilog to render graphics in order, in
> Mathematica, which should convert to EPS accordinly. But I have only tried
> this once or twice and I think I came to the conclusion that it was more a
> hassle than anything.
> Yas
> On Fri, 2 Jan 2004 Mattiephly at wrote:
> > Hello.  I use Mathematica to generate plots in EPS files, and then I
> > use Adobe Illustrator to edit the EPS files.  Here's my problem: I
> > plot y = x^2 and open the EPS file in Illustrator, but when I click on
> > the curve, Illustrator only highlights (selects) a piece of the
> > parabola (and not the entire parabola).  Sometimes it even selects a
> > piece of the curve and a piece of an axis, but I cannot select just
> > the curve, or just an axis.  I've posted a similar question on the
> > Adobe Forums, but with little success.
> >
> > Any suggestions?  I appreciate any help that's out there.
> >
> > Thanks a lot,
> > R
> >

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