CAUTION/Disclaimer: execution of some of the code below can result in a complete crash of Mathematica or even your system. Save all your work and do not try in a productive situation.

For a graphical application, I need to export graphics containing several hi-res textures at large image sizes.

Consider the following (minimal example) code wich is largely harmless:

  Polygon[{{0, 0}, {1, 0}, {1, 1}, {0, 1}}, 
   VertexTextureCoordinates -> {{0, 0}, {1, 0}, {1, 1}, {0, 1}}]}, 
 ImageSize -> 400]

But upping ImageSize past a given (probably hardware-dependent, in my case ~4000) threshold will crash the frontend+kernel

  Polygon[{{0, 0}, {1, 0}, {1, 1}, {0, 1}}, 
   VertexTextureCoordinates -> {{0, 0}, {1, 0}, {1, 1}, {0, 1}}]}, 
 ImageSize -> 4000]

To make things worse, this also seems to depend on the graphics driver version. I use a NVIDIA GTX 485M card, and with the 296.10 driver, I can go up to about ImageSize -> 8000 while with any newer driver version the system stalls at ImageSize -> 4000.

Does anyone know a workaround? Always reverting to an obsolete driver (which e.g. does not work with CUDALink anymore) is not optimal.

Addendum: Question, Part Two

As pointed out by @cormullion, setting the global preferences for the antialiasing quality in the Preferences dialog helps already a lot and allows much larger ImagesSizes.

Now, how to go about setting/resetting the value of HardwareAntialiasingQuality programmatically?

  • $\begingroup$ What's your Antialiasing preference set to? I had more frequent crashes with this set to medium or high, but far fewer when set to lowest. $\endgroup$
    – cormullion
    Feb 4, 2013 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @cormullion Cool - setting Antialiasing to None in the Preferences dialog helps working with much larger sizes. Please consider an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Feb 4, 2013 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ Since you were the last to pipe up on meta, I'm using your question as a guinea pig to test out the new close options =) Brace yourself for a close storm and/or additional comments :D $\endgroup$
    – rm -rf
    Jun 26, 2013 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


I've had problems when pushing images above a certain size. For example, it's ok at 1500:

DensityPlot[Sin[x] Sin[y], {x, -4, 4}, {y, -3, 3}, 
  ColorFunction -> "SunsetColors", ImageSize -> 1500]

ok plot

But pushing it too far:

DensityPlot[Sin[x] Sin[y], {x, -4, 4}, {y, -3, 3}, 
  ColorFunction -> "SunsetColors", ImageSize -> 2000]

not ok plot

While I quite like the effect, in an artistic kind of way, clearly Mathematica is reaching into regions of the computer's memory that it shouldn't be. I can see glimpses of other apps, previously opened documents, and so on. (This was a fresh kernel.)

I've had this on versions 8 and 9, and was about to conclude that my computer was going wrong. However, on a hunch, I reset the Antialiasing prefs from Highest down to No Antialiasing, and now the problem doesn't occur very often.


I must have set it to High for some reason, and forgot that larger images would probably stress it too much.

Your problem may be related!

  • $\begingroup$ What would be the most convenient way to locally turn off antialiasing without resorting to the preferences menu? $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Feb 4, 2013 at 9:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @yves FrontEnd Options contains "RenderingOptions -> {"HardwareAntialiasingQuality" -> 0.}", perhaps you can explore that? $\endgroup$
    – cormullion
    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ Correct - I just cannot remember the correct way to set that option (if I ever knew that firstplace). Thought it was around, but cannot find it. $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Feb 4, 2013 at 10:23
  • $\begingroup$ What OS do you see this happen on ? $\endgroup$
    – rcollyer
    Feb 4, 2013 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ @rcollyer I'm on Mac $\endgroup$
    – cormullion
    Feb 4, 2013 at 16:20

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