When I set the Antialiasing option in Style, I get the followings:

plot = ListContourPlot[
   Table[Sin[i + j^2], {i, 0, 2, 0.05}, {j, 1.2, 2, 0.05}], 
   ColorFunction -> ColorData["AvocadoColors"], Contours -> 10, 
   Mesh -> False, ImageSize -> 400];
   Style[plot, Antialiasing -> Automatic],
   Style[plot, Antialiasing -> True],
   Style[plot, Antialiasing -> False]

Mathematica graphics

For Antialiasing -> Automatic, everything is fine. Though Antialiasing -> True reveals polygon edges while still maintaining antialias on contourlines, frames, etc. Antialiasing -> False gives a plot where nothing is antialiased and polygon edges are not visible.

There is this thing written in the documentation for [Antialiasing][1]:

With the default setting Antialiasing -> Automatic, choices are made to optimize appearance on each type of computer system.

I would not say this is an optimal appearance. Can anyone tell me the logic/algorithm behind Automatic in this case?


1 Answer 1


I believe that forcing anti-aliasing renders the edges of the polygons with alpha transparency, and that where two of these adjoin there is a region that remains partially transparent, through which the background shows. Example:

Style[plot, Antialiasing -> True, Background -> Magenta]

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that makes sense. Thanks for revealing it. Though I don't really understand why transparency of edges is involved in antialiasing. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2012 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Istvan, I believe it is one of the standard methods when compositing, and it probably makes more sense for live graphics than oversampling does. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Jan 20, 2012 at 17:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.