Matplotlib scatterplot; color as a function of a third variable

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I want to make a scatterplot (using matplotlib) where the points are shaded according to a third variable. I’ve got very close with this:

plt.scatter(w, M, c=p, marker="s")

where w and M are the data points and p is the variable I want to shade with respect to.
However I want to do it in greyscale rather than colour. Can anyone help?

There’s no need to manually set the colors. Instead, specify a grayscale colormap…

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

# Generate data...
x = np.random.random(10)
y = np.random.random(10)

# Plot...
plt.scatter(x, y, c=y, s=500)

enter image description here

Or, if you’d prefer a wider range of colormaps, you can also specify the cmap kwarg to scatter. To use the reversed version of any of these, just specify the “_r” version of any of them. E.g. gray_r instead of gray. There are several different grayscale colormaps pre-made (e.g. gray, gist_yarg, binary, etc).

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np

# Generate data...
x = np.random.random(10)
y = np.random.random(10)

plt.scatter(x, y, c=y, s=500, cmap='gray')

In matplotlib grey colors can be given as a string of a numerical value between 0-1.
For example c="0.1"

Then you can convert your third variable in a value inside this range and to use it to color your points.
In the following example I used the y position of the point as the value that determines the color:

from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

x = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]
y = [125, 32, 54, 253, 67, 87, 233, 56, 67]

color = [str(item/255.) for item in y]

plt.scatter(x, y, s=500, c=color)

enter image description here

Sometimes you may need to plot color precisely based on the x-value case. For example, you may have a dataframe with 3 types of variables and some data points. And you want to do following,

  • Plot points corresponding to Physical variable ‘A’ in RED.
  • Plot points corresponding to Physical variable ‘B’ in BLUE.
  • Plot points corresponding to Physical variable ‘C’ in GREEN.

In this case, you may have to write to short function to map the x-values to corresponding color names as a list and then pass on that list to the plt.scatter command.


# Function to map the colors as a list from the input list of x variables
def pltcolor(lst):
    for l in lst:
        if l=='A':
        elif l=='B':
    return cols
# Create the colors list using the function above

plt.scatter(x=x,y=y,s=500,c=cols) #Pass on the list created by the function here

Coloring scatter plot as a function of x variable

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