Easily turn flat pcolor, pcolorm, surf, or surfm data into a hillshade-style shaded relief map.
Updated 28 Jan 2015

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shadem adjusts lighting to give a sense of depth to the display of gridded elevation data. Although it was designed for use with the Matlab's Mapping Toolbox, this function can just as easily be used for pcolor or surface plots of any type.
Matlab's Mapping Toolbox is packaged with several sub-par functions that are intended to create shaded relief maps, but the built-in shading functions are difficult to use, create unattractive maps, and cannot be used with a colorbar.

Where surflsrm, surflm, shaderel, and meshlsrm each require an iterative process of guess-and-check to determine visually appealing lighting azimuth and elevation, shadem allows interaction with the map from the mouse and keyboard: Sunlight comes from wherever you click on your map, and intensity of the shading effect can be adjusted by pressing the up and down keys.

See the included shadem_documentation example for usage notes.

Cite As

Chad Greene (2024). shadem (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2012b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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Version Published Release Notes

Version 6: Sunlight color may now be toggled via the user interface.

Version 5: Added 'sun' option to mimic the color of sunlight as it changes throughout the day.

Minor documentation edits.

Fixed a typo in the documentation.

Fixed a typo in the documentation.

Name change from hillshader to shadem. Minor edits to documentation.

Version 2: added a 'reset' option and edited documentation.