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I would like to add a smooth fading effect to the end of a curve, while it is animated. Here's a minimal working example which shows a particle moving on a circle (the circle is drawn while the particle is moving around):

circle[t_] := {Sin[Pi t], Cos[Pi t]};
dMax = 1.5;

    {ParametricPlot[circle[t], {t, 0 + 0.001, T},
      PlotRange -> {{-dMax, dMax}, {-dMax, dMax}},
      Frame -> True, Axes -> True, AxesOrigin -> {0, 0}, PlotPoints -> 100],
     Graphics@{Black, PointSize -> 0.015, Point[circle[T]]}},
   ImageSize -> 500], 
 {T, 0, 6}, AnimationRate -> 1, AnimationRunning -> False]
  1. The end of the trajectory should gently fade away while the particle is moving. Is it possible to do this animation effect with Mathematica (I'm using version 7.0)?

  2. Also, I don't understand why I need to add a small delay (0 + 0.001) to the Animate definition. Without that delay, Mathematica gives an error message:

    Endpoints for t in {t, 0+0., T} must have distinct machine-precision numerical values.

    So how to properly fix this problem without adding an arbitrary delay?

share|improve this question
75936 4847 – Kuba Jan 23 at 16:40
Kuba, it is not the same. What I'm asking is a fading effect on a part of the path drawn. Not on the particle itself. – Cham Jan 23 at 16:43
I'm not saying it is although I could argue since the trail after the point is continuous. – Kuba Jan 23 at 16:56
See the answer below. It is great ! – Cham Jan 23 at 16:56
There are lot of useful approaches: – ubpdqn Jan 24 at 2:16
up vote 16 down vote accepted

ColorFunction and Epilog were around in version 7. However, ColorFunction did get an update in version 9 so I am not certain if this will work in version 7.

 ParametricPlot[circle[t], {t, Max[0, u - .2], u}, 
  PlotRange -> {{-dMax, dMax}, {-dMax, dMax}},
  ColorFunction -> Function[{x, y, w}, Opacity[w, Blue]],
  Frame -> True, Axes -> True, AxesOrigin -> {0, 0}, PlotPoints -> 100,
  Epilog -> {Black, PointSize -> 0.015, Point[circle[u]]}],
 {u, 0. + $MachineEpsilon, 6}, AnimationRate -> 1, AnimationRunning -> False]

enter image description here

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
Wow, it's working ! Thanks. I'll have to study your answer. – Cham Jan 23 at 16:48
Why the small delay of 0.001 ? – Cham Jan 23 at 16:49
My code appears to be working great ! :-) However, I still don't understand the delay of 0.001. Is it really necessary to add such an arbitrary delay to the animate defintion ? – Cham Jan 23 at 16:55
@Cham It errors if I use 0 or 0. as the start. Might be a bug. – Edmund Jan 23 at 16:56
A bug ? Is it the same with your more recent version of Mathematica ? – Cham Jan 23 at 16:57

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