Academic and scientific types: how do you present your 3D plots?

Disclaimer: Yes, I am writing a paper. No, I’m not looking to cheat. This about presentation.

I’m comparing twelve different sets of data among three subjects, meaning I’ve got 36 tables with about 150 data points each (X,Y,Z).

I’m going to include a spreadsheet with the data in the actual paper, natch, but since this is a business-oriented program, I’m expected to give an all-singing, all-dancing Powerpoint (ugh) presentation to go along with the report.

That’s what I get for being a networking dude in a class full of programmers - they get to code actual demos, while the best I can do is to show the audience a bunch of command output scrolling by.

Anyway, I’ve settled on gnuplot to make some pretty plots, mostly because I can automate the plot generation. The results look something like the Excel’s surface chart, but a helluva lot more interactive.

However, I won’t necessarily be able to fire up my Linux laptop on the podium - I’m pretty much stuck with Powerpoint. The best I can do is to generate some hopefully representative images of certain views of certain plots.

That doesn’t seem terribly slick. And unfortunately, in this dumbass class, slickness counts.

So, have any of you had to deal with this kind of situation? How did you impress the empty suits? I’m prepared to stand tall upon my statistical genius if I have to, but somebody has to have figured out how to add a little flash to this kind of thing.

What about one of the screen capture video programs where you can take a video of what’s on your screen? Then you could just play the video on the screen that way you aren’t stuck with static images.

I have used free ones on Windows. I am sure there are alternatives for Linux.

You know gnuplot runs under windows too right?

I was thinking about that. It would definitely be slick, but I wouldn’t be able to drill down to specific data points if somebody asked me a random question.

I figured; however, installing it on the instructor PC may be a problem - I’ll have to check it out.

I just discovered the “set view map” command, which will give me a pretty nice 2D intensity map of a pm3d surface, so I may not be completely out of luck. Note to self: borrow the laser pointer from the cats.

Do you need to show a response to two independent variables? That is, Z(x,y)? If so, a smoothed contour plot, overlaid with text labels for the raw data if you like, is nice. I think any kind of perspective view is more confusing than helpful.

Or are you showing a response to three variables, R(x,y,z)? If it’s to businesspeople I’m gonna guess your options are to baffle them, to show them slices, or to show them tables.