Dave - 2 years ago 233
Python Question

# Emulating Excel's "scatter with smooth curve" spline function in Matplotlib for 3 points

I'm trying to emulate Excel's

Insert>Scatter>Scatter with smooth lines and markers

command in Matplotlib

The scipy function interpolate creates a similar effect, with some nice examples of how to simply implement this here:
How to draw cubic spline in matplotlib

However Excel's spline algorithm is also able to generate a smooth curve through just three points (e.g. x = [0,1,2] y = [4,2,1]); and it isn't possible to do this with cubic splines.

I have seen discussions that suggest that the Excel algorithm uses Catmull-Rom splines; but don't really understand these, or how they could be adapted to Matplotlib:

Is there a simple way of modifying the above examples to achieve smooth curves through three or more points using the interpolate library?

Many thanks

By now you may have found the Wikipedia page for the Centripetal Catmull-Rom spline, but in case you haven't, it includes this sample code:

``````import numpy
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

def CatmullRomSpline(P0, P1, P2, P3, nPoints=100):
"""
P0, P1, P2, and P3 should be (x,y) point pairs that define the
Catmull-Rom spline.
nPoints is the number of points to include in this curve segment.
"""
# Convert the points to numpy so that we can do array multiplication
P0, P1, P2, P3 = map(numpy.array, [P0, P1, P2, P3])

# Calculate t0 to t4
alpha = 0.5
def tj(ti, Pi, Pj):
xi, yi = Pi
xj, yj = Pj
return ( ( (xj-xi)**2 + (yj-yi)**2 )**0.5 )**alpha + ti

t0 = 0
t1 = tj(t0, P0, P1)
t2 = tj(t1, P1, P2)
t3 = tj(t2, P2, P3)

# Only calculate points between P1 and P2
t = numpy.linspace(t1,t2,nPoints)

# Reshape so that we can multiply by the points P0 to P3
# and get a point for each value of t.
t = t.reshape(len(t),1)

A1 = (t1-t)/(t1-t0)*P0 + (t-t0)/(t1-t0)*P1
A2 = (t2-t)/(t2-t1)*P1 + (t-t1)/(t2-t1)*P2
A3 = (t3-t)/(t3-t2)*P2 + (t-t2)/(t3-t2)*P3

B1 = (t2-t)/(t2-t0)*A1 + (t-t0)/(t2-t0)*A2
B2 = (t3-t)/(t3-t1)*A2 + (t-t1)/(t3-t1)*A3

C  = (t2-t)/(t2-t1)*B1 + (t-t1)/(t2-t1)*B2
return C

def CatmullRomChain(P):
"""
Calculate Catmull Rom for a chain of points and return the combined curve.
"""
sz = len(P)

# The curve C will contain an array of (x,y) points.
C = []
for i in range(sz-3):
c = CatmullRomSpline(P[i], P[i+1], P[i+2], P[i+3])
C.extend(c)

return C
``````

which nicely computes the interpolation for `n >= 4` points like so:

``````points = [[0,1.5],[2,2],[3,1],[4,0.5],[5,1],[6,2],[7,3]]
c = CatmullRomChain(points)
px, py = zip(*points)
x, y = zip(*c)

plt.plot(x, y)
plt.plot(px, py, 'or')
``````

resulting in this `matplotlib` image:

### Update:

Alternatively, there is a `scipy.interpolate` function for `BarycentricInterpolator` that appears to do what you're looking for. It is rather straightforward to use and works for cases in which you have only 3 data points.

``````from scipy.interpolate import BarycentricInterpolator

# create some data points
points1 = [[0, 2], [1, 4], [2, -2], [3, 6], [4, 2]]
points2 = [[1, 1], [2, 5], [3, -1]]

# put data into x, y tuples
x1, y1 =zip(*points1)
x2, y2 = zip(*points2)

# create the interpolator
bci1 = BarycentricInterpolator(x1, y1)
bci2 = BarycentricInterpolator(x2, y2)

# define dense x-axis for interpolating over
x1_new = np.linspace(min(x1), max(x1), 1000)
x2_new = np.linspace(min(x2), max(x2), 1000)

# plot it all
plt.plot(x1, y1, 'o')
plt.plot(x2, y2, 'o')
plt.plot(x1_new, bci1(x1_new))
plt.plot(x2_new, bci2(x2_new))
plt.xlim(-1, 5)
``````

### Update 2

Another option within `scipy` is akima interpolation via `Akima1DInterpolator`. It is as easy to implement as Barycentric, but has the advantage that it avoids large oscillations at the edge of a data set. Here's a few test cases that exhibit all the criteria you've asked for so far.

``````from scipy.interpolate import Akima1DInterpolator

x1, y1 = np.arange(13), np.random.randint(-10, 10, 13)
x2, y2 = [0,2,3,6,12], [100,50,30,18,14]
x3, y3 = [4, 6, 8], [60, 80, 40]

akima1 = Akima1DInterpolator(x1, y1)
akima2 = Akima1DInterpolator(x2, y2)
akima3 = Akima1DInterpolator(x3, y3)

x1_new = np.linspace(min(x1), max(x1), 1000)
x2_new = np.linspace(min(x2), max(x2), 1000)
x3_new = np.linspace(min(x3), max(x3), 1000)

plt.plot(x1, y1, 'bo')
plt.plot(x2, y2, 'go')
plt.plot(x3, y3, 'ro')
plt.plot(x1_new, akima1(x1_new), 'b', label='random points')
plt.plot(x2_new, akima2(x2_new), 'g', label='exponential')
plt.plot(x3_new, akima3(x3_new), 'r', label='3 points')
plt.xlim(-1, 15)
plt.ylim(-10, 110)
plt.legend(loc='best')
``````

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