When comparing different traces in a plot, the usual approach is to plot the traces in different colors and add the confidence bounds as thinner lines. This works ok for two colors, but it ain’t the prettiest.

Luckily, its pretty easy to plot confidence bounds as filled *patches. *By making the patches transparent (*alpha(x) in matlab*), plots become much more manageable.

This way, even large collections of traces can be made usable

With a very simple wrapper function, this trick is as easy to use as plot():

function varargout = plotshaded(x,y,fstr); % x: x coordinates % y: either just one y vector, or 2xN or 3xN matrix of y-data % fstr: format ('r' or 'b--' etc) % % example % x=[-10:.1:10];plotshaded(x,[sin(x.*1.1)+1;sin(x*.9)-1],'r'); if size(y,1)>size(y,2) y=y'; end; if size(y,1)==1 % just plot one line plot(x,y,fstr); end; if size(y,1)==2 %plot shaded area px=[x,fliplr(x)]; % make closed patch py=[y(1,:), fliplr(y(2,:))]; patch(px,py,1,'FaceColor',fstr,'EdgeColor','none'); end; if size(y,1)==3 % also draw mean px=[x,fliplr(x)]; py=[y(1,:), fliplr(y(3,:))]; patch(px,py,1,'FaceColor',fstr,'EdgeColor','none'); plot(x,y(2,:),fstr); end; alpha(.2); % make patch transparent

The only issue with this method is that at the time matlab can’t export figures with transparency to illustrator. A solution is to use Juerg Schwizer’s svg export function.