I'd like to have a pretty complicated LaTeX figure, animated (if possible) for beamer. I'm modestly proficient in inkscape and some tikz, but can't imagine how to start this project. I suspect that if I ask for it some of the wizards here will rise to the challenge, and even enjoy it. Is it right to do that without even the beginning of an attempt of my own?

If I post the question should I entice people with a bounty?

Related: Our Do-it-for-me and Draw-it-for-me comments don't reflect our hypocrisy. Can they be improved?

  • 27
    The difference between an impossible task and a nice answer is a MWE :P You can fill in as much as you can and leave the rest to the blood-thirsty TikZers. In the course of writing an answer they loose their mind and rewrite the MWE anyway from scratch. But unfortunately the only way to trigger the thirst is a close-call MWE. Speaking for myself, seeing what has been done gives a very good idea of how to compactify things or where to start. Otherwise I get bored pretty quickly and switch to reading expl3 questions hehe.
    – percusse
    Aug 22, 2014 at 17:07
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    @percusse Needed to say, MWEs are a perfect way to obtain some code reviews. I don't think this has been discussed much before, but it's certainly true.
    – yo'
    Aug 23, 2014 at 19:41
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    A bounty does not obviate the need for an MWE. All questions need an MWE. Also, think about whether you can break the task down into more manageable steps to ask as separate questions. People are more inclined to help when they feel they can give a 'complete' answer than if they can only do part of the task or only have time to do a little.
    – cfr
    Aug 23, 2014 at 20:59
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    I once asked a "do it for me" question, but in contrast to standard "do it for me"-questions I was aware of the fact that this was one and hence declared it as one and added a template for a possible answerer. Also I added the sentence "Feel free to downvote or vote for closing this question, as it is a shameless "just do it for me" question." Aug 26, 2014 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


The comments have convinced me that if I were to ask the question I really should provide an MWE (no matter how minimal). But in the meanwhile I've decided on another strategy entirely. If you're curious, read on.

Next month I'm giving a talk on the Spinor Spanner, using parts of this paper I wrote 41 years ago: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2318771?uid=3739696&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21104093201771. I drew this picture then using ancient technology - pen and ink.

enter image description here

I've "animated" this for my talk by erasing pieces (using MS paint!)

enter image description here

and displaying beamer slides in succession.

If I still wanted the graphics in LaTeX I would suggest starting with one of the answers to How to draw a shaded sphere? . I think the rest of the picture would be hard to get right.

You can find many nice spinor spanner animations on the web, but none that serves my particular purpose. Here's the best known: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYBqIRM8GiY


Here's a link to my slides: http://www.cs.umb.edu/~eb/ss/houdini.pdf . Note no words - they were the talk.

  • Ah, I see, you want Penrose(ian) drawings. Prior last month I've been inking them and scanning. However progress has been made. I think a MWE is possible for any question, for only some things are challenging in each question. Here it's the point shaded sphere. Sep 30, 2014 at 23:46
  • I've been trying to automate the Penrose(ian) style image process in TeX for some time now, for my own purposes, with some success. One thing is this: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/185012/…. One superposes various such tones whose density decreases left to right spherically in a way that makes a shaded point toned sphere, by clipping. After that, arrows are made in tikz. White blanks (path goes over) are made by superposing in correct order identical \paths, but of different color. If you're still interested, the question is solvable. Sep 30, 2014 at 23:47
  • @GuidoJorg The shaded sphere isn't (wasn't) the crux of the problem - it was (for me) drawing the curves and learning the animation. I do believe the problem is (was) solvable but I had a hack solution that worked well enough. I've edited the question with a link to my slides. Oct 16, 2014 at 20:43

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