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MayaVi Logo.png
A screenshot of the main window, with an example visualization
A screenshot of the main window, with an example visualization
Original author(s)Prabhu Ramachandran
Initial release2001; 18 years ago (2001)
Stable release
4.5.0 / August 1, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-08-01)
Written inPython, VTK, wxPython/Qt
Operating systemGNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Available inEnglish
TypeData visualization
LicenseBSD License

MayaVi is a scientific data visualizer written in Python, which uses VTK and provides a GUI via Tkinter. MayaVi was developed by Prabhu Ramachandran, is free and distributed under the BSD License. It is cross-platform and runs on any platform where both Python and VTK are available (almost any Unix, Mac OS X, or Windows). MayaVi is pronounced as a single name, "Ma-ya-vee", meaning "magical" in Sanskrit. The code of MayaVi has nothing in common with that of Autodesk Maya or Vi.[1]

The latest version of MayaVi, called Mayavi2, is a component of the Enthought suite of scientific Python programs. It differs from the original MayaVi by its strong focus on making not only an interactive program, but also a reusable component for 3D plotting in Python. Although it exposes a slightly different interface and API than the original MayaVi, it now has more features.[2][3]

Major features[edit]

  • visualizes computational grids and scalar, vector, and tensor data
  • an easy-to-use GUI
  • can be imported as a Python module from other Python programs or can be scripted from the Python interpreter
  • supports volume visualization of data via texture and ray cast mappers
  • support for any VTK dataset using the VTK data format
  • support for PLOT3D data
  • multiple datasets can be used simultaneously
  • provides a pipeline browser, with which objects in the VTK pipeline can be browsed and edited
  • imports simple VRML and 3D Studio scenes
  • custom modules and data filters can be added
  • exporting to PostScript files, PPM/BMP/TIFF/JPEG/PNG images, Open Inventor, Geomview OOGL, VRML files, Wavefront .obj files, or RenderMan RIB file


Spherical harmonics[edit]

The spherical harmonic function
from numpy import linspace, meshgrid, array, sin, cos, pi, abs
from scipy.special import sph_harm 
from mayavi import mlab

theta_1d = linspace(0,   pi,  91) 
phi_1d   = linspace(0, 2*pi, 181)

theta_2d, phi_2d = meshgrid(theta_1d, phi_1d)
xyz_2d = array([sin(theta_2d) * sin(phi_2d),
                sin(theta_2d) * cos(phi_2d),

Y_lm = sph_harm(m,l, phi_2d, theta_2d)
r = abs(Y_lm.real)*xyz_2d
mlab.mesh(r[0], r[1], r[2], scalars=Y_lm.real, colormap="cool")
mlab.view(azimuth=0, elevation=75, distance=2.4, roll=-50)
mlab.savefig("Y_%i_%i.jpg" % (l,m))


  1. ^ "MayaVi project page". SourceForge.
  2. ^ "MayaVi2 wiki page".
  3. ^ "MayaVi2 project page".

External links[edit]