Following up on this question about freely available crystal structure visualization codes, I wish to know what procedures people follow from start to finish in preparing images of their materials for publication. A procedure can comprise of tools (codes and otherwise), colour schemes, angles, axes (or some other way to describe directions), lighting, or any other details, how much ever minute they may be.

Let's keep answers restricted to one visualization software (e.g., VESTA) and accompanying details unless there's someone who uses two or more visualization software in tandem.

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    $\begingroup$ Related but not a duplicate: mattermodeling.stackexchange.com/q/1590/5 $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ I guess the original title could be restored because I didn't intend to ask about methods to visualize structures in general. It was meant for 'publication-worthy' visualization alone. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ Publication-worthy is a subjective term. Let's keep the title short and fitting on one line in the HNQ list. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting question. I guess you are asking about tips and tricks to make your visualisations of top quality $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Thomas precisely so. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 16:48

1 Answer 1



enter image description here

I'll list the features I played with in making the above cell, I'll update the answer whenever I find other features:

  1. The properties window allows most of the aesthetic editing options.
  2. Atoms have better sizes relative to each other when represented with van der Waals radii.
  3. Width of bonds matters on the overall appearance of the cell.
  4. Each colour (atom/bond) works best within a certain range of shininess. Try to play with this feature.
  5. In my personal opinion, a lighter unit cell border helps bring the atoms at centre stage. Playing around with its width, colour, and shininess is worth the time.
  6. Under the view tab is the overall appearance option. This window helps play with lighting. The interface is interesting and worth trying. In the picture above, faint ambient lighting and less diffused lighting on atoms was used. This window also allows you to choose the background colour, cell projection, and depth.

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