image {graphics}R Documentation

Display a Color Image


Creates a grid of colored or gray-scale rectangles with colors corresponding to the values in z. This can be used to display three-dimensional or spatial data aka “images”. This is a generic function.

The functions heat.colors, terrain.colors and topo.colors create heat-spectrum (red to white) and topographical color schemes suitable for displaying ordered data, with n giving the number of colors desired.


image(x, ...)

## Default S3 method:
image(x, y, z, zlim, xlim, ylim, col = heat.colors(12),
      add = FALSE, xaxs = "i", yaxs = "i", xlab, ylab,
      breaks, oldstyle = FALSE, ...)


x,y locations of grid lines at which the values in z are measured. These must be finite, non-missing and in (strictly) ascending order. By default, equally spaced values from 0 to 1 are used. If x is a list, its components x$x and x$y are used for x and y, respectively. If the list has component z this is used for z.
z a matrix containing the values to be plotted (NAs are allowed). Note that x can be used instead of z for convenience.
zlim the minimum and maximum z values for which colors should be plotted, defaulting to the range of the finite values of z. Each of the given colors will be used to color an equispaced interval of this range. The midpoints of the intervals cover the range, so that values just outside the range will be plotted.
xlim, ylim ranges for the plotted x and y values, defaulting to the ranges of x and y.
col a list of colors such as that generated by rainbow, heat.colors, topo.colors, terrain.colors or similar functions.
add logical; if TRUE, add to current plot (and disregard the following arguments). This is rarely useful because image “paints” over existing graphics.
xaxs, yaxs style of x and y axis. The default "i" is appropriate for images. See par.
xlab, ylab each a character string giving the labels for the x and y axis. Default to the ‘call names’ of x or y, or to "" if these were unspecified.
breaks a set of breakpoints for the colours: must give one more breakpoint than colour.
oldstyle logical. If true the midpoints of the colour intervals are equally spaced, and zlim[1] and zlim[2] were taken to be midpoints. The default is to have colour intervals of equal lengths between the limits.
... graphical parameters for plot may also be passed as arguments to this function, as can the plot aspect ratio asp and axes (see plot.window).


The length of x should be equal to the nrow(z)+1 or nrow(z). In the first case x specifies the boundaries between the cells: in the second case x specifies the midpoints of the cells. Similar reasoning applies to y. It probably only makes sense to specify the midpoints of an equally-spaced grid. If you specify just one row or column and a length-one x or y, the whole user area in the corresponding direction is filled.

Rectangles corresponding to missing values are not plotted (and so are transparent and (unless add=TRUE) the default background painted in par("bg") will show though and if that is transparent, the canvas colour will be seen).

If breaks is specified then zlim is unused and the algorithm used follows cut, so intervals are closed on the right and open on the left except for the lowest interval.

Notice that image interprets the z matrix as a table of f(x[i], y[j]) values, so that the x axis corresponds to row number and the y axis to column number, with column 1 at the bottom, i.e. a 90 degree counter-clockwise rotation of the conventional printed layout of a matrix.


Based on a function by Thomas Lumley

See Also

filled.contour or heatmap which can look nicer (but are less modular), contour; The lattice equivalent of image is levelplot.

heat.colors, topo.colors, terrain.colors, rainbow, hsv, par.


x <- y <- seq(-4*pi, 4*pi, len=27)
r <- sqrt(outer(x^2, y^2, "+"))
image(z = z <- cos(r^2)*exp(-r/6), col=gray((0:32)/32))
image(z, axes = FALSE, main = "Math can be beautiful ...",
      xlab = expression(cos(r^2) * e^{-r/6}))
contour(z, add = TRUE, drawlabels = FALSE)

# Volcano data visualized as matrix. Need to transpose and flip
# matrix horizontally.

# A prettier display of the volcano
x <- 10*(1:nrow(volcano))
y <- 10*(1:ncol(volcano))
image(x, y, volcano, col = terrain.colors(100), axes = FALSE)
contour(x, y, volcano, levels = seq(90, 200, by = 5),
        add = TRUE, col = "peru")
axis(1, at = seq(100, 800, by = 100))
axis(2, at = seq(100, 600, by = 100))
title(main = "Maunga Whau Volcano", font.main = 4)

[Package graphics version 2.5.0 Index]