Technical Issues - FSPlot Tutorial I  - Appearance

Which web image gives a more professional appearance?

Unaltered image on left from (FilmStar nonuser) online filter catalog

This page supplements material in FilmStar/Scantraq printed or online manuals. While the FSPlot Module might seem straightforward, there are numerous hidden features, all of which can be tested in the Free Version. Note that graphs can be automated so that production technicians need have no knowledge of the inner workings. 

Already familiar with FSPlot Appearance?
Additional pages: Legends, Annotations, Formulator

As can be seen, there are many options.
  • Appearance adjustable for web pages, PowerPoint or printed documents. Note the light green graph border which we make much use of on this website.
  • Legends for labeling multiple plots. Here we label AR plots with angle.
  • Annotations marking features such as bandwidth and center wavelength. Most important is the ability to draw these automatically.
  • Possibility to plot both OD and %T.
  • Diabatic transmittance scale which is unsurpassed for clearly indicating the behavior of filters with blocking zones.
  • Possibility of background company logo (will impress upper management).

Click here to download an Excel file showing further options.

The FSPlot Module is the same in DESIGN and MEASURE (SQPlot in Scantraq). Click its toolbar icon or Tools.. FSPlot Module <F4>. Once in FSPlot, click Plot <Alt+P> to add a spectrum to the graph. Any number of spectra can be added (there is a limit, but it is very high) and 12 lines can be labeled with legends.

Click Setup.. Graph Details <Ctrl+H> to access the Graph Details dialog. The dialog can be kept open as you explore multiple options. Move the box out of the way to see what is happening.

Try different fonts. Segoe UI Semibold seems a good choice. Try Title Font size 105 or 110 with Axes Font size 100. After you close Graph Details, click <F4> and <F5> to adjust all font sizes together.

At this point you might be worried that there are so many choices that you run risk of never being able to reproduce the same graph (including window size).

Fortunately there is a way to reproduce all aspects of appearance - to be discussed below.

Should Background..Color have no effect it's because Bitmap/Gradient mode was enabled. Scroll down to that section (Graph Detail 3) and set Enable to False.

Graph Detail 1

Some choices have pull-downs as shown on the right. Grays and Patterns (solid, dashed, etc.) are intended for monochrome printing. Single Color is intended for tolerancing in DESIGN's FSPlot: Evaluate.. Tolerancing.

Another choice, intended for color-shift coatings is RGB. Click here for an example.

Some options give a gray box ... which opens a dialog. Try that for Line Color. Note that we modified Plot 3 to be slightly darker than the usual light green. Try that for yourself. Up to 12 colors can be defined.

Think this is all 'too much'? Line Color choice was added to meet the requirements of a user printing a coating catalog using two colors: green and black.

Graph Details 2

Bitmap/Gradient mode adds to the possibilities. Setting Enable to True overrides Background Color and Border Color (Graph Details 1). A different Graph Color Top and Bottom gives a color gradient.

A Graph Bitmap (*.bmp) logo is possible, but it can detract from clarity. Graphics software can be utilized to turn bright logos into dim watermarks.

Border Color is very useful to match web pages (as we do with our light green background) or PowerPoint. Are these trivial matters? Click here.

Graph Details are saved in INI files and not in FILM Archive or Scan Method files. Opening a new design does not change appearance.

Graph Details 3

When using FSPlot one might want to utilize the same graph in a website, PowerPoint presentation, printed catalog, QA report. Each end-use requires different Graph Details. In the main program window, click Tools.. BASIC Editor <F6> and then Debug.. Browse (or Browse Object icon) and scroll down to Plot.. commands. Note the large number of settings corresponding to Graph Details, documented in Design Reference.. FilmStar BASIC.. FilmStar DESIGN (MEASURE) Extensions.

Fortunately there's no need to master these obscure settings because FSPlot creates the code for you. Click File.. Create BASIC Code and paste into Sub Main o (recommended) a separate subroutine. The code listing is displayed below. The Plot Format dialog is generated by PlotConfig.bas (included in the FilmStar installer). This is a handy way to define formats that will be used repeatedly.

Sub PlotSetup
    ' FSPlot graph setup code:
    PlotConfig 9273545, 32128, 0
    PlotSize 8670, 6585, 95
    PlotTitleFont = "Segoe UI Semibold"
    PlotTitleSize = 110
    PlotLegendSize = 100
    PlotLegendSimple = False
    PlotAxesFont = "Segoe UI Semibold"
    PlotAxesLabelSize = 100
    PlotAxesNumberSize = 100
    ' etc.
End Sub


As an alternative, December 2014 releases add the FSPlot Customizer (File.. Customize <Ctrl+U>). This saves format codes in ..\Config\Common.ini thus enabling plot setup to be shared by DESIGN and MEASURE. It's actually the same BASIC plot setup code, but easier to deal with.

The FSPlot File Menu includes some options requiring further comment:

  • Save As - PNG (portable network graphics) is recommended for web and printed graphics. WMF may be useful if vector graphics are needed, but thorough testing is required as fonts and line thicknesses may not scale as intended. Save as BMP only when necessary as file size will be very large.

  • Graphics Mode - Sets mode for copying to clipboard. There is no difference between BMP and PNG.

  • Bitmap Size - Use 100% for web pages. 200-300% is intended for printed documents and gives smooth fonts without the need for the less WSIWYG WMF vector format. Ultimately, as shown here, WMF gives the highest quality scalable fonts.

  • Disable Save - Check only if you have made temporary Graph Details adjustments which you don't want saved when you exit DESIGN or MEASURE.

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