2.4 Release New Features

We’ve got 4 significant updates in the 2.4 release:

  1. Color Management
  2. Patterns/Hatches
  3. Canvas and Output Sizing
  4. Continents Styling

For a quick reference of all examples in this announcement, check out this page in the gallery.

Color Management

It’s been a bit difficult to manually specify colors in VCS; you have to memorize the index of colors you want out of the 255-color colormap, and have “magic” numbers sprinkled throughout your code wherever you reference a color. That system will remain in place (backwards compatibility is very important to us), but @doutriaux1 majorly reworked the color logic throughout VCS to make it substantially more user-friendly.

We now support X11 color names, RGBA, and RGB color assignment, which you can check out in the gallery.

Colormaps now use RGBA values as well! RGBA Colormap

Also, you can now use any matplotlib colormap! Matplotlib Colormap


Pattern/Hatch Reference

At long last, we’ve closed issue #541 (Thanks for being patient, @jypeter!). Patterns and hatches are available for boxfills, isofills, meshfills, and fillareas.

Pattern/Hatches Concepts

fillarea provides a simple way to introduce the concepts of patterns and hatches. The fillarea object is a secondary graphics method, for those who aren’t familiar with it. It allows you to provide a series of points, and will create a filled area styled to your specifications.

There are three attributes that are relevant to Patterns and Hatches for fillareas.

For primary graphics methods (Boxfill, Isofill, Meshfill), you use these attributes:

However, if you’re going to use these, you’re also going to have to specify levels for the graphics method. Normally, the graphics method will determine levels based off of the values at the current time slice; when you want to control the appearance of those levels, you need to specify them manually. For clt, we can just use a range from 0 to 100 at increments of 20.

Important Note:

levels describes the bounds of ranges, whereas fillareaindices and fillareacolors both describe the ranges themselves. You need one more level than indices or colors.


Canvas and Output Sizing

We’ve done some touch-up to the process of sizing your canvas in VCS.

Default Behavior

import vcs
canvas = vcs.init()

This should create a window that is a reasonable size for your monitor.

Custom Sizing

If you want a specific size, you can pass in arguments to either vcs.init() or canvas.open(), like so:

import vcs

canvas1 = vcs.init(geometry={"width":1200, "height":800})

canvas2 = vcs.init(geometry=(1200, 800))

canvas3 = vcs.init()
canvas3.open(width=1200, height=800)

Widths and heights passed to canvas.open() will override the geometry passed in to vcs.init().

Sizing Output

If you call canvas.png with only a filename as an argument, you’ll get your output in the same dimensions as the canvas.

import vcs
canvas = vcs.init(geometry=(300, 200))

But if you want to size the output to a different size, you can pass in height and width keyword arguments to the canvas.png function.

import vcs
canvas = vcs.init(geometry=(600, 400))
canvas.png("test", width=800, height=500)

Important Note:

vcs will attempt to keep image dimensions as portrait or landscape, depending on the current size of your canvas. This means that if you call canvas.png("file", width=600, height=300) but your canvas’ dimensions are 500 x 800, your output will be 300 x 600.

Continents Styling

Styled Continents

You can now specify the appearance of continents using the vcs line primitive and the continents_line keyword of the canvas.plot function. A simple example can be found here