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spinifex spinifex R package!

About tours

Data visualization tour is a class of linear projections that are animate small changes in a projection basis over time. Shadows are an example of a 3D object casting a 2D linear projection. Imagine a bar stool cast a circular shadow of its seat. Watching the shadow alone, a rotation of the objection would quickly give structural information about the object; when the legs are rotated into frame you can be more certain the object is a bar stool. In the same way, a tour watches a lower-dimensional projection of the data object. The object permanence of the observations between frames holds structural information that is revealed as the object is rotated.


Such visualizations are applicable to numeric matrices which could be approximations of component spaces or feature decomposition of non-tabular data. Continuous quantitative variables are preferred, although ordinal discrete variables can also be used. Mapping color and/or shape to a (supervised) class tends to be helpful.


The tourr R package implements grand tours (constrained random walks in the basis), projection pursuit (basis anneals to some objective function), and several other variants and options of visualization tours.

Grand tour

The work and contribution of spinifex are primarily two-fold. The addition of manual tours which allow for user defined (and interactive!) control of the basis. Secondly, a layered API to create tour elements that mirrors the additive creation of ggplot2 visuals. The extension to gganimate and plotly graphics packages, which allow for more control over display and exporting .gif, .mp4, and .html widgets of tours. The later can also consume tours produced in tourr!

We see that bill length is important for separating the orange and green species. Let’s change its contribution with a manual tour:

Manual tour

Getting started

#install.packages("spinifex")             ## Install from CRAN
library("spinifiex")                      ## Load into session
run_app("radial_tour")                    ## Run a local shiny app, showing radial tours
vignette("getting started with spinifex") ## Introduction to tours and spinifex
vignette("ggproto api")                   ## Introduction to the new ggproto api
?ggtour                                   ## Examples and links to ggproto functions
help(package = "spinifex")                ## Review the package contents and documentation

ggproto API

The ggproto API is a layered approach to the composition of animated tours, it should feel similar to the composition of ggplots.

Family Function Related to Description
processing scale_01/sd - scale each column to [01]/std dev away from the mean
processing basis_pca/olda/… Rdimtools::do.* basis of orthogonal component spaces
processing basis_half_circle - basis with uniform contribution across half of a circle
processing basis_guided tourr::guided_tour silently return the basis from a guided tour
tour path manual_tour - basis and interpolation information for a manual tour
tour path save_history tourr::save_history silent extended wrapper returning other tour arrays
display ggtour ggplot2::ggplot canvas and initialization for a tour animation
display proto_point/text geom_point/text adds observation points/text
display proto_density/2d geom_density/2d adds density curve/2d contours
display proto_hex geom_hex adds hexagonal heatmap of observations
display proto_basis/1d - adds adding basis visual in a unit-circle/-rectangle
display proto_origin/1d - adds reference mark in the center of the data
display proto_default/1d - wrapper for proto_* point + basis + origin
display facet_wrap_tour ggplot2::facet_wrap facets on the levels of variable
display append_fixed_y - add/overwrite a fixed vertical position
animation animate_plotly plotly::ggplotly render as an interactive html widget
animation animate_gganimate gganimate::animate render as a gif, mp4, or other video format
animation filmstrip - static gpplot faceting on the frames of the animation

Reporting issues

Please submit bug reports, errors, and feature requests to