I have a plot which is rather expensive to "present", and I want to create an animation on top of it.


"present" here does not just mean create the plot, but also to rasterize and present in on the Notebook.

I tried to create the plot before by doing plot=Plot[...] and then use Show[plot,Animate[...]], but Mathematica does not allow to combine plots with Animations. If I put the plot inside the animation, it gets really slow as it re-renders the plot at each frame.

Another thing I tried was to present the plot as an background image of the animation, but I'm not being able to make backgrounds other than RGBColors (and I don't even know if this works).

Is there any proper way of achieving this?


One example of such plot

plot = ContourPlot[Cos[x] + Cos[y], {x, 0, 4 Pi}, {y, 0, 4 Pi}, 
PlotPoints -> 200, MaxRecursion -> 2, Mesh -> None];

The number of PlotPoints is big because in my particular case the function to be plotted is non trivial, and requires a lot of resolution to see anything. (I'm not putting here the code because the function is obtained as an iterative process, and is out of the scope of this question)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you provide the plot, or someting equivalent? $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Jan 4, 2013 at 9:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If rendering of your Plot takes too much time, consider Rasterizeing it. $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Jan 4, 2013 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is due to Rasterize use the pixel coordinate system of the image, while un-rasterized uses its own system. $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2013 at 11:02
  • $\begingroup$ @J.C.Leitão true - perhaps someone can help out here with a nifty solution. O $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Jan 4, 2013 at 11:11

1 Answer 1


Can't you make the Plot on the side first, then add it later? Since it is already made then no extra cost.

p = Plot[Sin[x], {x, -Pi, Pi}];  (*make the expensive plot *)
Animate[Show[p, Plot[Cos[a x], {x, -Pi, Pi}]], {a, .1, 1, .1}]
  • $\begingroup$ "It is expensive to "present"": it is expensive to mathematica rasterize it to show on the notebook. When Mathematica animates, it apparently re-rasterizes all inside the Animate[] function. I want to have an animation on top of a 1-time rendered plot. $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2013 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ I've added some information on the question to clarify your point. $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2013 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe not rendering, more like rastering: at some point mathematica has to transform its data on a data able to be plotted. This is an expensive operation: try the example I added on the question (by e.g. changing the number of PlotPoint's). $\endgroup$ Jan 4, 2013 at 10:21

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