You can control the orientation of the graphics displayed in
an axes using MATLAB® graphics functions. You can specify the
viewpoint, view target, orientation, and extent of the view displayed
in a figure window. These viewing characteristics are controlled by
a set of graphics properties. You can specify values for these properties
directly or you can use the
view command and rely
on MATLAB automatic property selection to define a reasonable
view command specifies
the viewpoint by defining azimuth and elevation with respect to the
axis origin. Azimuth is a polar angle in the x-y plane,
with positive angles indicating counterclockwise rotation of the viewpoint.
Elevation is the angle above (positive angle) or below (negative angle)
the x-y plane.
This diagram illustrates the coordinate system. The arrows indicate positive directions.
MATLAB automatically selects a viewpoint that is determined by whether the plot is 2-D or 3-D:
For example, these statements create a 3-D surface plot and display it in the default 3-D view.
[X,Y] = meshgrid([-2:.25:2]); Z = X.*exp(-X.^2 -Y.^2); surf(X,Y,Z)
sets the viewpoint so you are looking in the negative y-direction with your eye at the z = 0 elevation.
You can move the viewpoint to a location below the axis origin using a negative elevation.
Specifying the viewpoint in terms of azimuth and elevation is conceptually simple, but it has limitations. It does not allow you to specify the actual position of the viewpoint, just its direction, and the z-axis is always pointing up. It does not allow you to zoom in and out on the scene or perform arbitrary rotations and translations.
MATLAB camera graphics provides greater control than the simple adjustments allowed with azimuth and elevation.