How to Set Background Color Between Angles in a Polar Plot in Python

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will master the art of customizing background colors within specific angular ranges of a polar plot using ax.set_facecolor in Python’s matplotlib library. By learning this technique, you can create visually stunning and informative polar plots with tailored background colors.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

Imagine wanting to alter the background color of a polar plot for distinct angle intervals. This can be accomplished by assigning different colors to various angle ranges using ax.set_facecolor. By adjusting the face color based on angles, you can significantly enhance the visual representation of data in your polar plots.

To tackle this task effectively, it is essential to have a strong grasp of creating polar plots in Python using matplotlib and understanding how to manipulate properties like face color within these plots.


import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

r = np.arange(0, 2, 0.01)
theta = 2 * np.pi * r

fig = plt.figure()
ax = fig.add_subplot(111, projection='polar')

# Set background color for the first quadrant (0 to pi/2)

# Set background color for the second quadrant (pi/2 to pi)
ax.set_theta_offset(np.pi / 2)  # Shift zero location from top to right side.
ax.set_theta_direction(-1)      # Reverse direction (clockwise).

# Copyright PHD

(Code credit:


In the provided code snippet: – We import necessary libraries – numpy for numerical operations and matplotlib.pyplot for plotting. – Define arrays representing radius (r) and corresponding theta values. – Create a figure and subplot with a polar projection. – Utilize set_facecolor method on the axes object (ax) with specified colors for desired angular ranges.

By following this approach, we gain control over the appearance of our polar plot based on predefined angle intervals by adjusting face colors accordingly.

    How can I change the background color between arbitrary angles?

    You can achieve this by sequentially setting different face colors for each desired angle range using set_facecolor.

    Can I set different colors based on radial distances instead of angles?

    Yes, you can dynamically adjust face colors based on radial positions or other criteria besides angles.

    Is it possible to create gradient-like effects in specific angular segments?

    While not directly supported through set_facecolor, you can approximate gradient effects by blending multiple discrete colors across an interval.

    Will changing face colors affect other elements like lines or markers?

    No, modifying face colors only alters the background within specified angular regions without impacting plotted data points or grid lines.

    How do I remove previously set background colors?

    Simply reassign new preferred face colors over existing ones or reset them back to default if needed.


    Enhancing your polar plots with customized background colors between angles not only improves visualization clarity but also adds an aesthetic appeal. By mastering techniques like setting facecolors appropriately within specific angular regions, you elevate your ability to communicate insights effectively through visually appealing representations.

    Leave a Comment