What is a Scene?

Scenes are fundamental building blocks of Makie figures. A Scene is like a container for Plots and other Scenes. Scenes have Plots (including an Axis if show_axis = true) and Subscenes associated with them. Every Scene also has a transformation, made up of scale, translation, and rotation.


Before the introduction of the Figure workflow, Scenes used to be the main container object which was returned from all plotting functions. Now, scenes are mostly an implementation detail for many users, unless they want to build custom solutions that go beyond what the default system offers.

A Scene's plots can be accessed via scene.plots.

A Scene's subscenes (also called children) can be accessed through scene.children. This will return an Array of the Scene's child scenes. A child scene can be created by childscene = Scene(parentscene).

Any Scene with an axis also has a camera associated with it; this can be accessed through, and its controls through More documentation about these is in the Cameras section.

Scene's also have configurable size/resolution. You can set the size in pixels by doing Scene(resolution = (500, 500)).

Any keyword argument given to the Scene will be propagated to its plots; therefore, you can set the palette or the colormap in the Scene itself.


A subscene is no different than a normal Scene, except that it is linked to a "parent" Scene. It inherits the transformations of the parent Scene, but can then be transformed independently of it.

Modifying A Scene

Makie offers mutation functions to scale, translate and rotate your Scenes on the fly.

translate!(scene::Transformable, xyz::VecTypes)
translate!(scene::Transformable, xyz...)

Apply an absolute translation to the Scene, translating it to x, y, z.

translate!(Accum, scene::Transformable, xyz...)

Translate the scene relative to its current position.

rotate!(Accum, scene::Transformable, axis_rot...)

Apply a relative rotation to the Scene, by multiplying by the current rotation.

rotate!(scene::Transformable, axis_rot::Quaternion)
rotate!(scene::Transformable, axis_rot::AbstractFloat)
rotate!(scene::Transformable, axis_rot...)

Apply an absolute rotation to the Scene. Rotations are all internally converted to Quaternions.

scale!(t::Transformable, x, y)
scale!(t::Transformable, x, y, z)
scale!(t::Transformable, xyz)
scale!(t::Transformable, xyz...)

Scale the given Transformable (a Scene or Plot) to the given arguments. Can take x, y or x, y, z. This is an absolute scaling, and there is no option to perform relative scaling.

Updating the Scene

When the Scene is changed, you may need to update several aspects of it. Makie provides three main updating functions:


Updates a Scene and all its children. Update will perform the following operations for every scene:

if !scene.raw[]
    scene.update_limits[] && update_limits!(scene)[] && center!(scene)
update_limits!(scene::Scene, limits::Union{Automatic, Rect} = scene.limits[], padding = scene.padding[])

This function updates the limits of the Scene passed to it based on its data. If an actual limit is set by the theme or its attributes (scene.limits !== automatic), it will not update the limits. Call update_limits!(scene, automatic) for that.

update_limits!(scene::Scene, new_limits::Rect, padding = Vec3f(0))

This function updates the limits of the given Scene according to the given Rect.

A Rect is a generalization of a rectangle to n dimensions. It contains two vectors. The first vector defines the origin; the second defines the displacement of the vertices from the origin. This second vector can be thought of in two dimensions as a vector of width (x-axis) and height (y-axis), and in three dimensions as a vector of the width (x-axis), breadth (y-axis), and height (z-axis).

Such a Rect can be constructed using the Rectf or Rect3f functions that are exported by Makie.jl. See their documentation for more information.

update_cam!(scene::SceneLike, area)

Updates the camera for the given scene to cover the given area in 2d.


Updates the camera for the given scene to cover the limits of the Scene. Useful when using the Node pipeline.

update_cam!(scene::Scene, eyeposition, lookat, up = Vec3f(0, 0, 1))

Updates the camera's controls to point to the specified location.

In general, update! is to be used to keep data in sync, and update_cam! and update_limits! update the camera and limits respectively (to show all the data).


Scenes have several pre-created event "hooks" (through Observables) that you can handle. These can be accessed through, which returns an Events struct.