Interactive 3D Scatter Plots, Networks and Globes

data-visualization, graph-animation, igraph, r, threejs, webgl


Three.js and R

Three.js widgets for R and shiny. The package includes

  • graphjs: an interactive force directed graph widget
  • scatterplot3js: a 3-d scatterplot widget similar to the scatterplot3d function
  • globejs: a widget that plots data and images on a 3-d globe

The widgets are easy to use and render directly in RStudio, in R markdown, in Shiny applications, and from command-line R via a web browser. They produce high-quality interactive visualizations with just a few lines of R code.

Visualizations optionally use accelerated WebGL graphics, falling back to non-accelerated graphics for systems without WebGL. When WebGL is available, the scatterplot3js function can produce fluid, interactive pointclouds with hundreds of thousands of points.

See for details on three.js.

See for an example.

This project is based on the new htmlwidgets package. See for details and links to amazingly cool visualization widgets for R.

What's new

Create force directed graphs the graphjs function.

The scatterplot3js function now supports scatterplot3d-like xlim, ylim and zlim options.

The globejs function can draw arcs and bars.

We include mouse-over labels for labeling scatterplot3js points, thanks to contributions from Alexey Stukalov,, thanks Alexey!


These examples generally run best in WebGL-enabled viewers, including at least Chrome, and recent versions of Internet Explorer web browsers. Users have had some issues with Firefox on Windows. Safari on Mac OS X seems to fall back to Canvas (not WebGL) rendering, but works. We try to maintain basic support for non-WebGL equipped browsers, but the performance and rendering quality will generally be inferior to WebGL visualizations.

The examples run inside RStudio, acting similarly to normal R plots. RStudio renders them using Canvas right now, but an upcoming version of RStudio will support WebGL.


Use the devtools package to install threejs directly from GitHub on any R platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, ...). You'll need the 'devtools' package.

if(!require("devtools")) install.packages("devtools")


The following example illustrates the 3D scatterplot widget.

runApp(system.file("examples/scatterplot", package="threejs"))

The next example illustrates the globe widget by plotting the relative population of some cities using data from the R maps package on a globe. It's based on the JavaScript WebGL Globe Toolkit ( by the Google Creative Lab Data Arts Team.

runApp(system.file("examples/globe", package="threejs"))

For detailed help on the widgets and additional examples, see


Changes to the three.min.js JavaScript library

The package now includes a check for a manual (but simple) change required of the three.min.js JavaScript library, discovered by Joe Cheng at RStudio. For details see

The required change is near the very beginning of the three.min.js file. Whenever we update this library we need to change:

'use strict';var THREE={REVISION:


'use strict';var THREE=window.THREE={REVISION:

That enables the library to work correctly with the shiny renderUI functions.


Travis CI status CRAN version