5 MATLAB 3D Plot Examples Explained with Code and Colors

MATLAB Programming Feature image

Did you ever wonder seeing amazing 3D graphs in MATLAB? How to draw multiple 3D plot graphs in MATLAB?

This is an in-depth tutorial for you. I will explain the different MATLAB 3D plot examples and how to draw them.

This tutorial is an extension of a previous tutorial two-dimensional [2D] MATLAB plot.

When I share the 2D plot graph tutorial, some of the readers asked me about the 3D plot. And I decided to write about it.

This tutorial provides you the plot’s functions, syntax, and code, for example for the five main different types of 3D plots. At the end of this post, you will be able to draw your own 3D plot graph in MATLAB.

It’s amazing. Right?

Let’s start.

3D MATLAB Plot Introduction

In general, the three-dimensional plots consist of the three vectors (x,y,z) in the same graph.

In MATLAB, the plot3() function is used to draw the 3D plot graph. You can also use a specified line style, marker, and color for drawing 3D plots.

The general syntax to display the 3D plot is,




Let’s start drawing different types of the 3D plot graph…

 Classifications of Three-Dimensional Plots | MATLAB 3D plot Examples

Here, we are considering, the five main different types of three-dimensional (3D) plots. These graphs are mostly used in the industry.

The following list of  different 3D plots as,

  1. Mesh Plot
  2. Surface Plot
  3. Ribbon PLot
  4. Contour Plot
  5. Slice Plot

As a part of this tutorial about MATLAB 3D plot examples, I am describing the topmost five 3D plots one-by-one.

1. Mesh 3D Plot in MATLAB

The mesh plotting function is used to display the mesh plot. It produces a wireframe surface where the lines connecting the defining points are colored.

How to create the Mesh plot in MATLAB?

For the mesh plotting in MATLAB, you need to pass the array values to the mesh function.


Mesh function transforms the domain specified by vectors (X, Y, Z) into arrays (x,y,z).

The syntax for the Mesh Plot is,

[X,Y,Z] = meshgrid(x,y,z)


As an example, we are plotting the mesh 3D plot for square root mathematical function.

[x,y] = meshgrid(-10:0.1:10); 
t = sqrt(x.^2+y.^2);
z =(10*sin(t));

Output in MATLAB:

See here, you get a colorful and smooth connecting surface line of three-dimensional [3D] Mesh plot.

You can also plot the graph for various Mathematical Expressions in MATLAB.

2. Surface 3D Plot in MATLAB

A surface plot is somewhat similar to a mesh plot. The main difference between them is, in the surface plot, the connecting lines and the faces both will be displayed in the dark color.

How to create the Surf plot in MATLAB?


In the surface plot, ‘surf’ function is used. So, you can write a simple format like ‘function name(array)’.




Let’s write a MATLAB code for the three-dimensional surface plot for an exponential function exp().

[x,y] = peaks(30);
z = exp(-0.9*(x.^2+0.5*(x-y).^2));
xlabel('\bf X axis');
ylabel('\bf Y axis');
zlabel('\bf Z axis');
title('\bf Surface Plot')

Output in MATLAB:

After the getting output of surface plot, you will see the connecting lines and the faces are both displayed in the same shade.

3. Ribbon 3D Plot in MATLAB

As the name ribbon, this 3D plot graph will be having different color ribbons.

How to create the ribbon plot in MATLAB?

Here, we are using ribbon() function for plotting ribbon 3D MATLAB plot.


The general syntax for writing code,



To create a ribbon plot using peak function for mathematical function  ((x²)-(y²))

[x,y] = peaks(30);
z =[(x.^2)-(y.^2)];
title('\bf Ribbon Plot')

Output in MATLAB:

You can see each and every colorful shade ribbons.

4. Contour 3D Plot in MATLAB

How to create the three dimensional [3D] contour plot?

To create the three dimensional [3D] contour plot, we are using the ‘contour3’ function.

Note: You can plot the Contour 2D plot by using the only ‘contour’ function.


The syntax for the three-dimensional contour plot,



We are plotting the contour plot for the exponential mathematical equation is (exp( x²-y²)).

[x,y] = peaks(30);
z = exp(-x.^2-y.^2);
title('\bf Contour Plot')

Output in MATLAB:

Below is a diagram for three dimensional [3D] contour plot.

5. Slice 3D Plot in MATLAB

For plotting slice graph, you must know volumetric data(v), specification of three-dimensional coordinate (x,y,z), and ‘xslice, yslice, zslice’.


Slice plot’s syntax is




  • xslice- ‘x’ coordinate data for slice plot
  • yslice- ‘y’ coordinate data for slice plot
  • zslice- ‘z’ coordinate data for slice plot


Slice plot is little different from other 3D plots types. When you are writing MATLAB code for Slice plot, you need to specify each coordinator value.

Let’s draw the slite plot graph for an exponential mathematical equation.

[x,y,z] = meshgrid(-10:.2:10);
v = [exp((x.^2)-(y.^3)-(z.^5))];
xslice = 0.1; 
yslice = 5;
zslice = 0;
title('\bf Slice Plot')

Output in MATLAB:

The output looks like the below picture.

These are the topmost three dimensional  [3D] used in the industry projects.

This is all about different MATLAB 3D plot examples. I have explained the different classification of MATLAB 3D plots with simple code and syntax.

If you have doubt, write in the comment. I will reply to you as soon as possible.

Other MATLAB Tutorials:

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16 thoughts on “5 MATLAB 3D Plot Examples Explained with Code and Colors”

  1. Thank you for sharing knowledge. Next, i want to see python programming such as simple examlpes for sharing knownedge. I also interested in python programming. Thanks.


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