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Best colour scheme in order to optimize printing in grey scale?

Posted 11 years ago
Hi everyone,

I am doing a gradient plot in Mathematica for an article. I want a nice color plot for the online article, but the journal asks for an image so that when the article is printed in grayscale the plot can be well visualized. 

So, I wonder which is the best color scheme in order to create color gradient graphic (for the screen computer) and when is printed in gray scale the colours are well differentiated.

Thanks to everyone for answering.
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Hi, Jorge,

I would love to hear more about the article you are writing, which sounds as though it is being published in an academic journal? Please send me an e-mail at amy_wolff at wolfram dot com or, if you prefer, you can reply back on this group discussion.

Thanks so much!

Amy Wolff
Public Relations
Wolfram Research
POSTED BY: Amy Wolff
Posted 11 years ago
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your answers.
I need to plot an exponential-like function, and I am interested in the region around 0.5
DensityPlot[Exp[y], {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}]

I had already being testing some color scheme and I need something like CoffeeTones.
I think that's going to be...

Again, thanks to everyone.
ColorFunction -> "SunsetColors"

The above produces a scheme very similar to one that  I have successfully used in the past in publications (in particular ones that were particular about having figures that could print well in black and white).
POSTED BY: Jesus Hernandez
You may want to run your own experiments using code like this:
With[{image =
      DensityPlot[Sin[x] Sin[y], {x, -4, 4}, {y, -3, 3},
       ColorFunction -> #, PlotLegends -> Automatic], "Image"]},
   Labeled[Row[{image, ColorConvert[image, "GrayLevel"]}], #]] & /@

And visually look for a graylevel conversion that is appealing for your gradient plot:

POSTED BY: Arnoud Buzing
I agree with Steve.  It may depend on the values for which you will wish to provide the most visual contrast.

Let's say that you want to emphasize the contrast at 0.2. Then something like:
ColorFunction -> (Blend[{{0, GrayLevel[1]}, {0.15, GrayLevel[0.9]}, {0.25, GrayLevel[0.2]}, {1, GrayLevel[0]}}, #] &)

Plot3D[Sin[x y], {x, 0, 2 Pi}, {y, 0, 2 Pi}, ColorFunction -> (GrayLevel[#3] &)]

Plot3D[Sin[x y], {x, 0, 2 Pi}, {y, 0, 2 Pi},
ColorFunction -> (
       Blend[{{0, GrayLevel[1]}, {0.15, GrayLevel[0.9]}, {0.25, GrayLevel[0.2]}, {1, GrayLevel[0]}}, #3] &
And, you could do something similar by using an interpolation scheme for a ColorData scheme.
POSTED BY: W. Craig Carter
I bet the choice of color scheme will depend to some extent on the nature of your plot.  Can you provide an example?
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