I really like the 3D plots in Mathematica with the PlotTheme option set to "Classic". I wonder if there's a way to export the colormap (RGB, alpha-array) for use in some other open-source software, and also which function is used to choose the color.

I'd be very glad, if you can give me a (hint to a) solution.


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The "Classic" color scheme for Plot3D colors the polygons white and uses custom lighting to give the illusion of different colors. $\endgroup$
    – Greg Hurst
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Chip, thanks for your answer! Is there a way to reproduce this effect and get similar plots with matlab/matplotlib/mayavi $\endgroup$
    – J.Doe
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ I've turned my comment into an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Greg Hurst
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


The "Classic" theme for Plot3D colors the surface white and uses custom lighting. It can be recreated with these options:

Plot3D[Sin[x + y^2], {x, -3, 3}, {y, -2, 2}, 
  PlotStyle -> White, 
  Lighting -> {
    {"Ambient", RGBColor[0.312, 0.188, 0.4]}, 
    {"Directional", RGBColor[0.8, 0, 0], ImageScaled[{2, 0, 2}]},
    {"Directional", RGBColor[0, 0.8, 0], ImageScaled[{2, 2, 2}]}, 
    {"Directional", RGBColor[0, 0, 0.8], ImageScaled[{0, 2, 2}]}

enter image description here

I'm not sure how to export lighting or recreate it in other applications though.


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