Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mathematics behind rotation part 2

Back to Part 1

In this part I will show how to define a matrix for the rotation. Once we have seen all this in 2D we can rather easily transfer this knowledge, and create a 3D rotation. If you don’t know what a matrix is, you can always look it up on Wikipedia, even though you can understand this tutorial with pretty basic knowledge about matrices!

Continuing from the last part, we’ll have a look at rotation the green square again. Let's first focus on a matrix to rotate our square with a certain amount of degrees denoted by $\theta$. We'll take each point on the square as a vector in 2D. For rotating by an arbitrary degree we can use the following formulas for the x and y:

$x'=x\cdot \cos\theta -y\cdot \sin\theta$

$y'=x\cdot \sin\theta +y\cdot \cos\theta$

This would rotate a vector, initially aligned with the x-axis, $\theta$ degrees counterclockwise. To get our output results x' and y' we have to apply a rotation matrix on the vector. By taking the above formulas we can setup the required matrix to rotate counterclockwise rather easily:


To see this in action, I will provide an example by rotating 90 degrees counterclockwise. Taking the cosine of 90 degrees, or rather, $\frac{\pi}{2}$ radians is equal to 0. And the sine of 90 degrees is equal to 1. This leaves us with a rather easy to use Matrix:


For example, filling in the vector (4, 1) would produce the following result:


Now we got this all sorted out in 2D let's make a quick stop at creating the same rotation in 3D. We got a brand new vector in 3D with an x, y and z coordinate. To rotate this vector we have to specify around which axis we want to rotate. We will fill in nearly the same matrix as for 2D rotations, only now for the axis we are rotating on. For the other axis we just leave the matrix blank except the multiplier for the coordinate itself, which we want to multiply by 1. A little mindboggle to explain the previous 2D rotation: If you imagine the rotation in 2D, its actually rotating around the (invisible) Z-axis in 3D. If you see that, you will see the next matrices for 3D rotations are no different at all.


If you would fill in our test vector of (4, 1, 0) and rotate it over the Z-axis you would get the same result as before. The only difference is an extra coordinate.

This is all you need to know about matrix rotations to create a nice rotation in 3D. In the next part I will show some code samples on how all of these matrices are predefined in Microsoft's XNA, and how you can use them with the theory from part 1.

Continue to part 3

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