Hi all,

Yi-Hao and I have been arguing in a pull request since this afternoon. I think we're having a tough time coming to an agreement about how to move this discussion forward so I thought I'd bring this discussion to the mailing list. For reference, this came up in PR 1710: https://github.com/yt-project/yt/pull/1710.

I'm going to try to summarize the issue, my opinion, and YI-Hao's opinion. Yi-Hao, please let me know if you feel like I'm mischaracterizing your position.

Our disagreement boils down to this test script:

    import yt
    import numpy as np
    arr = np.arange(8).reshape(4, 2, 1)
    data = dict(density=arr)

    ds = yt.load_uniform_grid(data, arr.shape)

    slc = ds.slice('z', 0.5)
    slc_frb = slc.to_frb(1, (4, 2))

    dens_image = slc_frb['density']

This script currently prints:

    (2, 4)
    [[ 0.  2.  4.  6.]
     [ 1.  3.  5.  7.]] g/cm**3

I think that the fact that the resolution argument of the to_frb call was (4, 2) means that I want an image with a shape (4, 2). But right now yt gives me an image with shape (2, 4). My pull request makes it so you get an image back with shape (4, 2).

Yi-Hao correctly points out that the current behavior of yt gives a gives a pixelization that happens to exactly match the discretization of the data loaded into the yt dataset and he wants to keep that property.  Unfortunately, with my pull request the same script would print:

    (4, 2)
    [[ 1.  5.]
     [ 1.  5.]
     [ 2.  6.]
     [ 2.  6.]] g/cm**3

So now the image's shape is correct, but the pixelization is no longer "natural" because this corresponds to 2 pixels along the x direction and 4 along y.

I *can* get a "natural" pixelization if I tell yt to flip what it calls the "x" and "y" axes:

    ds.coordinates.x_axis[2] = 1
    ds.coordinates.y_axis[2] = 0

If I add the above two lines to the script before calling to_frb, I get the following output:

    (4, 2)
    [[ 0.  1.]
     [ 2.  3.]
     [ 4.  5.]
     [ 6.  7.]] g/cm**3

This is again a "natural" pixelization because we have 4 pixels along y and 2 along x. However I don't think that's particularly useful since most people will want to make z-projections and slices with x plotted horizontally and y vertically.

Unfortunately there's just a basic issue here with how to interpret the shape of an image geometrically on a plot.

I have a feeling like Yi-Hao and I are a bit too close to this to resolve the issue either way. I'm hoping at least one person can weigh in with an opinion so we can find a way forward here.