How to plot a gradient color line

Note that if you have many points, calling plt.plot for each line segment can be quite slow. It’s more efficient to use a LineCollection object.

Using the colorline recipe you could do the following:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.collections as mcoll
import matplotlib.path as mpath

def colorline(
    x, y, z=None, cmap=plt.get_cmap('copper'), norm=plt.Normalize(0.0, 1.0),
        linewidth=3, alpha=1.0):
    Plot a colored line with coordinates x and y
    Optionally specify colors in the array z
    Optionally specify a colormap, a norm function and a line width

    # Default colors equally spaced on [0,1]:
    if z is None:
        z = np.linspace(0.0, 1.0, len(x))

    # Special case if a single number:
    if not hasattr(z, "__iter__"):  # to check for numerical input -- this is a hack
        z = np.array([z])

    z = np.asarray(z)

    segments = make_segments(x, y)
    lc = mcoll.LineCollection(segments, array=z, cmap=cmap, norm=norm,
                              linewidth=linewidth, alpha=alpha)

    ax = plt.gca()

    return lc

def make_segments(x, y):
    Create list of line segments from x and y coordinates, in the correct format
    for LineCollection: an array of the form numlines x (points per line) x 2 (x
    and y) array

    points = np.array([x, y]).T.reshape(-1, 1, 2)
    segments = np.concatenate([points[:-1], points[1:]], axis=1)
    return segments

N = 10
x = np.random.rand(N)
y = np.random.rand(N)
fig, ax = plt.subplots()

path = mpath.Path(np.column_stack([x, y]))
verts = path.interpolated(steps=3).vertices
x, y = verts[:, 0], verts[:, 1]
z = np.linspace(0, 1, len(x))
colorline(x, y, z, cmap=plt.get_cmap('jet'), linewidth=2)

enter image description here

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