Asymptote is a language for 3D graphics that is highly integrated with LaTeX. This is an experimental function to write an Asymptote program to approximate an RGL scene.

writeASY(scene = scene3d(),
         title = "scene", 
         outtype = c("pdf", "eps", "asy", "latex", "pdflatex"), 
         prc = TRUE, 
         runAsy = "asy %filename%", 
         defaultFontsize = 12,
         width = 7, height = 7,
         ppi = 100,
         ids = NULL, 
         version = "2.65")



RGL scene object


What type of file to write? See Details.


Whether to produce an interactive PRC scene.


The base of the filename to produce.


Code to run the Asymptote program.


The default fontsize for text.

width, height

Width and height of the output image, in inches.


“Pixels per inch” to assume when converting line widths and point sizes (which RGL measures in pixels).


If not NULL, write out just these RGL objects.


Asymptote version 2.44 had a definition for its “light()” function that was incompatibly changed in versions 2.47 and 2.50. The current code has been tested with version 2.65. If you are using an older version, set version to your version number and it may work better.


Asymptote is both a language describing a 2D or 3D graphic, and a program to interpret that language and produce output in a variety of formats including EPS, PDF (interactive or static), etc.

The interactive scene produced with prc = TRUE requires outtype = "pdf", and (as of this writing) has a number of limitations:

  • As far as we know, only Adobe Acrobat Reader of a sufficiently recent version can display these scenes.

  • Current versions ignore lighting settings.


The filename of the output file is returned invisibly.


J. C. Bowman and A. Hammerlindl (2008). Asymptote: A vector graphics language, TUGBOAT: The Communications of the TeX Users Group, 29:2, 288-294.


Duncan Murdoch


This function is currently under development and limited in the quality of output it produces. Arguments will likely change.

There are a number of differences between the interactive display in Asymptote and the display in RGL. In particular, many objects that are a fixed size in RGL will scale with the image in Asymptote. Defaults have been chosen somewhat arbitrarily; tweaking will likely be needed.

Material properties of surfaces are not yet implemented.

On some systems, the program asy used to process the output has bugs and may fail. Run the example at your own risk!

See also

scene3d saves a copy of a scene to an R variable; rglwidget, writePLY, writeOBJ and writeSTL write the scene to a file in various other formats.


if (FALSE) {
# On some systems, the program  "asy"  used
# to process the output has bugs, so this may fail.
x <- rnorm(20)
y <- rnorm(20)
z <- rnorm(20)
plot3d(x, y, z, type = "s", col = "red")
olddir <- setwd(tempdir())
writeASY(title = "interactive")  # Produces interactive.pdf
writeASY(title = "noninteractive", prc = FALSE) # Produces noninteractive.pdf