Gist is a scientific graphics library written in C by David H. Munro of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It features support for three common graphics output devices: X-Windows, (color) Postscript, and ANSI/ISO Standard Computer Graphics Metafiles (CGM). The library is small (written directly to Xlib), portable, efficient, and full-featured. It produces x-vs-y plots with ``good'' tick marks and tick labels, 2-D quadrilateral mesh plots with contours, filled contours, vector fields, or pseudocolor maps on such meshes. Some 3-D plot capabilities are also available. The Python Gist module
gist.py and the Python extension gistCmodule provide a low-level Python interface to this library as far as 2-D is concerned. In addition, there are several other Python modules which interface with the 2-D graphics to produce 3-D graphics and animation: movie.py (supporting animation), pl3d.py (basic 3-D plotting algorithms), plwf.py (wire frame plotting), and slice3.py (providing mesh capability with isosurface and plane slicing). Collectively all of these interface modules are known as PyGist.
This chapter will summarize the plotting features that are available in PyGist, and list (in the final section) the functions that are to be described in future chapters.