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Creating Line Animations

This example shows how to use animatedline to create an animation of a line that gets longer in every frame.

Create an Animated Line

The animatedline function creates an object that is designed specifically for line animations. Initially, the animated line object is empty, so MATLAB� does not plot the line.

N = 30;
x = linspace(0,20,N);
y = x - 0.05*x.^2;

l = animatedline
l = 

  AnimatedLine with properties:

               Color: [0 0 0]
           LineStyle: '-'
           LineWidth: 0.5000
              Marker: 'none'
          MarkerSize: 6
     MarkerFaceColor: 'none'
    MaximumNumPoints: 1000000

  Use GET to show all properties

Add Points to Animated Line

Use addpoints to add an additional point or vector of points to the animated line. MATLAB adds the additional points onto your animated line making your line longer.

addpoints(l,x(1:5),y(1:5))    % add first 5 points to the line

Create Line Animation

Use addpoints within a loop to create a line animation. To control the speed of your line animation, use pause after you add a point or a set of points. To prevent the limits of the axes from changing with each added set of points, set the x and y limits before the loop.

xlim([0 20])    % set x limits
ylim([0 5])     % set y limits

for ix = 5:5:N-5
    addpoints(l,x(ix+1:ix+5),y(ix+1:ix+5))    % add the next 5 points
    drawnow                                   % refresh the image on screen
    pause(0.2)                                % control animation speed
    snapnow                                   % (required for published document only)

Customize Animated Line Appearance

The animatedline function accepts optional input arguments to specify the properties of the line, such as Color, Marker, and LineStyle. To change the properties of the animated line after its created, use dot notation syntax object.PropertyName.

l2 = animatedline('Color','r');
l2.Marker = '*';

Get Points from Animated Line

Use the function getpoints to return the coordinates of all the points in the animated line.

[x,y] = getpoints(l2)
x =

         0    0.6897    1.3793    2.0690    2.7586

y =

         0    0.6659    1.2842    1.8549    2.3781

Get All Properties of Animated Line

Graphics objects in MATLAB have many properties. To see all the properties of an animated line object, use the get command.

    AlignVertexCenters: 'off'
            Annotation: [1x1]
          BeingDeleted: 'off'
            BusyAction: 'queue'
         ButtonDownFcn: ''
              Children: [0x0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
              Clipping: 'on'
                 Color: [1 0 0]
             CreateFcn: ''
             DeleteFcn: ''
           DisplayName: ''
      HandleVisibility: 'on'
               HitTest: 'on'
         Interruptible: 'on'
             LineStyle: '-'
             LineWidth: 0.5000
                Marker: '*'
       MarkerEdgeColor: 'auto'
       MarkerFaceColor: 'none'
            MarkerSize: 6
      MaximumNumPoints: 1000000
                Parent: [1x1 Axes]
         PickableParts: 'visible'
              Selected: 'off'
    SelectionHighlight: 'on'
                   Tag: ''
                  Type: 'animatedline'
         UIContextMenu: [0x0 GraphicsPlaceholder]
              UserData: []
               Visible: 'on'

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