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Re: Re: Mathematica 6.0.0 no graphics output on Windows XP

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  • Subject: [mg85384] Re: [mg85353] Re: Mathematica 6.0.0 no graphics output on Windows XP
  • From: John Fultz <jfultz at>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 22:33:32 -0500 (EST)
  • Reply-to: jfultz at

On Thu, 7 Feb 2008 04:43:57 -0500 (EST), beggars.banquet at wrote:
> On 6 f=E9v, 05:39, Carl Woll <ca... at> wrote:
>> Adam Weyhaupt wrote:
>>> A colleague of mine has a fresh installation of Mathematica 6.0.0 on
>>> a Windows XP machine.  The kernel seems to be running fine (2+2=4),
>>> but graphics commands generate no output (only the line " -Graphics-
>>> " (no quotes) is printed to the output).  If you switch to Version 5
>>> graphics the graphics work fine (but of course are not rotatable,
>>> etc.) I looked in the archive but saw nothing relevant.
>>> I realize that 6.0.1 is available, but it will be a few days until he
>>> can get it installed and we are curious if you have any thoughts on
>>> this issue.
>>> Thanks!
>>> Adam
>> Looks like the default output is OutputForm. Change it (from the menu
>> item Edit | Preferences | Evaluation) to StandardForm or
>> TraditionalForm.
>> Carl Woll
>> Wolfram Research
> I got the same problem with Mathematica 6.0.1 under XP SP2, although
> it only concerns 3d plots; only an empty box when I try to render the
> graphics. I found a way to avoid this problem: just add PlotStyle ->
> Directive[Opacity[0.x]] to your Plot3D options and it should be fine.
> Set x to 99 to avoid losing quality, as soon as you put a value of 1,
> same empty box. However, this fix is not that helpful as Opacity is
> supposed to slow down the rendering. But this should do until you find
> something else.

This is a different issue entirely.  When a 3D graphic has no transparency,
Mathematica sends the polygons to your graphics hardware to be sorted from back 
to front using a method called z-buffering.  This makes sure that, when polygons 
overlap in the plane of the screen, you see the frontmost one.  This method
simply can't be made to work with transparency, however, so a 3D graphic with 
any transparency at all uses an alternative software algorithm called a BSP

It sounds to me like there's some sort of compatibility issue with your video 
driver or card where z-buffering isn't performing as Mathematica would expect.  
You'll probably want to look into this, since z-buffering is *much* faster than 
using a BSP tree.

I would suggest the following:

* Make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the driver for your video 
* If you're still experiencing problems, contact Wolfram Technical Support,
describe the problem, and send them the results of evaluating 
SystemInformation[] (you can click the Copy button, then paste into an email).

John Fultz
jfultz at
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.

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