This is documentation for Mathematica 4, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
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1.9.8 Converting between Types of Graphics

Contour, density and surface plots are three different ways to display essentially the same information about a function. In all cases, you need the values of a function at a grid of points.

The Mathematica functions ContourPlot, DensityPlot and Plot3D all produce Mathematica graphics objects that include a list of the values of your function on a grid. As a result, having used any one of these functions, Mathematica can easily take its output and use it to produce another type of graphics.

Here is a surface plot.

In[1]:= Plot3D[BesselJ[nu, 3x], {nu, 0, 3}, {x, 0, 3}]

Out[1]=

This converts the object produced by Plot3D into a contour plot.

In[2]:= Show[ ContourGraphics[ % ] ]

Out[2]=

Conversions between types of graphics.

You can use GraphicsArray to show different types of graphics together.

In[3]:= Show[ GraphicsArray[ {%, %%} ] ]

Out[3]=