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Function Art Tutorial

Getting started

To start the Function Art program, go to the Function Art page, and click on the Launch FunctionArt button at the bottom of the page: launch buttonYou will then see the Function Art program.  When it starts, it is showing the graph of the function f(x) = x.


Graphing functions

The Function Art program allows you to plot functions, as you can with your TI-83 calculator.  To graph a different function, you enter it in the box beside "f(x) =" and click on the New Function button. 

Try it out.  Plot the following functions.  (Note: If you have troubles, carefully examine the screenshot below to ensure you entered the function properly.)

Quirks about the program

The Function Art program requires you to enter functions in a way that you may not be used to:

  • You must always signify multiplication with the * symbol.  For example, where you would normally write 2x + 7, in the function art program you must write 2*x + 7
  • The way to signify an exponent is with the ^ symbol.  For example, where you would normally write 3(x-2)2 -5, in the function art program you must write 3*(x-2)^2 - 5
  • On some computers, you must press the * key twice in a row in order for it to show up.  The authors of the Function Art program have no idea why this happens.  This is also true of the following characters: ^ ( ) +

The following table shows functions in the form you would normally write them, and in the form that you must use with the Function Art program.

Normal
Function Art
x - 2
x - 2
2x + 4.5
2*x + 4.5
3x2 - 5x + 17
3*x^2 - 5*x + 17
1.5(x+2)2 - 3
1.5*(x+2)^2 - 3

Changing your viewing window

The Function Art program has the same concept of viewing window, just like your TI-83 calculator.  The viewing window can be changed in the following ways:

Changing the domain

Unlike your TI-83 calculator, the Function Art program allows you to change the Domain to be plotted for your function.  This is done by either moving the Domain Min and Domain Max scrollbars, or by entering numbers for the Domain Min and Domain Max.

Try it with the function f(x) = sin(x).  Notice how changing the Domain Min changes the smallest x value for which the function is plotted, and changing the Domain Max changes the largest x value for which the function is plotted.

Plotting more than one function

Up until now we've just been plotting one function.  Once you have decided which functions you would like to plot, and the domain for each of these functions, you enter this information in the multiple functions box.  The format for this box is:

function ; DomainMin ; DomainMax

For example, the following functions can be used to create an interesting design:

Function
Domain Minimum
Domain Maximum
-10/1*x + 10
0
1
-9/2*x + 9
0
2
-8/3*x + 8
0
3
-7/4*x + 7
0
4
-6/5*x + 6
0
5
-5/6*x + 5
0
6
-4/7*x + 4
0
7
-3/8*x + 3
0
8
-2/9*x + 2
0
9
-1/10*x + 1
0
10

To enter these in the Function Art program, enter the following in the Multiple Functions box:

-10/1*x + 10 ; 0 ; 1
-9/2*x + 9 ; 0 ; 2
-8/3*x + 8 ; 0 ; 3
-7/4*x + 7 ; 0 ; 4
-6/5*x + 6 ; 0 ; 5
-5/6*x + 5 ; 0 ; 6
-4/7*x + 4 ; 0 ; 7
-3/8*x + 3 ; 0 ; 8
-2/9*x + 2 ; 0 ; 9
-1/10*x + 1 ; 0 ; 10

When you finish, click the Load button.

Saving your Functions

The Function Art program does not have the ability to save your list of functions directly, so you must use copy and paste.  To save your functions, perform the following steps:

  • Use the mouse to highlight all of your functions in the Multiple Functions Box
  • Right-click your list of functions in order to get a menu of options
  • Select the copy option
  • Open a text document using your favorite editor (Microsoft Word, Word Pad, or Notepad will all suffice).
  • Select Paste from the Edit menu in order to paste your list of functions into your document.
  • Your list of functions will now be in your text document.  Save this document so you can retrieve your functions later.

Loading your functions

In order to load a list of functions you saved before, perform the following steps:

  • Open the document you saved your functions in (using Notepad, for example)
  • Use the mouse to highlight all of your functions
  • Select Copy from the Edit menu
  • Right-click in the Multiple Functions Box of the Function Art program, and select Paste from the menu of options.
  • You will now have your list of functions.  Click the Load button in order to plot them.

Printing your art

When you are happy with your art work (and you have remember to save your list of functions!) you can create a screenshot, by performing the following steps:

  • Press the Print Screen key on your keyboard (it is located immediately to the right of your F12 key).  This will create a copy of your screen in your computer's memory.
  • Open an image manipulation program, such as Microsoft Paint.
  • Select Paste from the Edit menu.
  • You will now have a copy of your screen (including the Function Art program).  Save this image using Graphics Interchange Format.