I have a scalar function that depends on the phase position on a circle. If I were allowed to make an interactive 3D plot, I would embed the circle in 2 dimensions and use the third dimension to denote the magnitude of the scalar function at that phase location.

In 2 dimensions, I don't want to plot the phase on a Cartesian x-axis and the function values it takes on the y-axis as it is not a very informative way to represent this particular function. A colourplot (where the colour along the circle changes with the function value) is not helpful either.

Do you have examples/suggestions for how I can represent this kind of function? Ideally, I would like to have the circle in the illustration as well.

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you could use a nightingale rose chart, a Radial column chart or mix both to look like a donut chart with varying thickness. There are more ideas on https://datavizcatalogue.com/ .

With enough data points you could also make a circular density plot.

nightingale rose chart

radial column chart

circular density plot

  • Thanks! It would be nice if there was some kind of density plot that I could do on a circle, do you have recommendations for that?
    – haricash
    Commented May 10 at 14:21
  • @haricash any of these more to your liking (lot could be done to styling but this is 5 minutes of work)?
    – joojaa
    Commented May 10 at 16:29
  • Thanks, but I feel it puts an unnecessarily large cognitive load on the viewer. I've found a workaround, which is to visualize what I want with an animation
    – haricash
    Commented May 11 at 14:59
  • oh ok... you were asking specifically about a 2D solution, hence my answer.
    – Luciano
    Commented May 12 at 9:33

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