Customizing the Visualization

One advantage to PySurfer over Tksurfer is that you are not limited to a single look for the visualization. Of course, being built on Mayavi, PySurfer is in theory completely customizable. However, we also offer a few preset options so that you do not have to delve into the underlying engine to get a different look.

Changing the display background

The display background can take any valid matplotlib color (i.e., it can be a tuple of rgb values, an rgb hex string, or a named HTML color).

Changing the display size

The default display window is 800px by 800px, but this can be configured using the size keyword argument in the Brain constructor. size should either be a single number to make a square window, or a pair of values, (width, height), to make a rectangular window.

Changing the curvature color scheme

By default, a new Brain instance displays the binarized cortical curvature values, so you can see which patches of cortex are gyri and which are sulci (pass curv=False to the Brain constructor, or use the -no-curv switch in the command-line interface to turn this off). There are four preset themes for the curvature color scheme, which you can pass to the cortex parameter in the Brain constructor: classic, bone, high_contrast, and low_contrast:


Note that, in each theme, the darker color signifies sulci.

It’s also possible to customize this further by passing the name of a mayavi colormap or a colormap name along with the endpoints of the colormap and whether it should be reversed.

Additionally, you can load a continuous curvature map with the add_morphometry() method.

How to use these themes

These options can be selected either as keyword arguments to the Brain constructor,

In [1]: from surfer import Brain
In [2]: b = Brain('fsaverage', 'lh', 'inflated', cortex='bone')

or as options in the command-line interface:

pysurfer fsaverage lh inflated -background slategray -size 400