Math::Project3D - Project functions of multiple parameters from R^3 onto an arbitrary plane


Current version is 1.010.


  use Math::Project3D;
  my $projection = Math::Project3D->new(
    plane_basis_vector => [0,  0, 0],
    plane_direction1   => [.4, 1, 0],
    plane_direction2   => [.4, 0, 1],
    projection_vector  => [1,  1, 1], # defaults to normal of the plane

    'u,v', 'sin($u)', 'cos($v)', '$u' 

  # Rotate the points before projecting them.
  # Rotate every point the same way we need to rotate the
  # z-axis to get the x-axis.

  # Nah, changed my minds. (<-- Freudian slip?)

  ($plane_coeff1, $plane_coeff2, $distance_coeff) =
     $projection->project( $u, $v );


I'll start explaining what this module does with some background. Feel free to skip to DESCRIPTION if you don't feel like vector geometry.

Given a function of three components and of an arbitrary number of parameters, plus a few vectors, this module creates a projection of individual points on this vectorial function onto an arbitrary plane in three dimensions.

The module does this by creating lines from the result of the vectorial function s(a) = x,y,z and a specified projection vector (which defaults to the normal vector of the projection plane. The normal vector is defined as being orthogonal to both directional vectors of the plane or as the vector product of the two.). Then, using the linear equation solver of Math::MatrixReal, it calculates the intersection of the line and the plane.

This point of intersection can be expressed as

  basis point of the plane + i2 * d + i3 * e

where i2/i3 are the coefficients that are the solution we got from solving the linear equation system and d1/d2 are the directional vectors of the plane. Basically, the equation system looks like this:

   n1*i1 + d1*i2 + e1*i3 = p1 + x(t)
   n2*i1 + d2*i2 + e2*i3 = p2 + y(t)
   n3*i1 + d3*i2 + e3*i3 = p3 + z(t)

where n1/2/3 are the normal vector components. p1/2/3 the basis point components, t is a vector of function parameters. i the solution.

Now, on the plane, you can express the projected point in terms of the directional vectors and the calculated coefficients.




new may be used as a class or object method. In the current implementation both have the same effect.

new returns a new Math::Project3D object. You need to pass a number of arguments as a list of key/value pairs:

  plane_basis_vector => [0,  0, 0],
  plane_directional1 => [.4, 1, 0],
  plane_directional2 => [.4, 0, 1],
  projection_vector  => [1,  1, 1], # defaults to normal of the plane

plane_basis vector denotes the position of the basis point of the plane you want to project onto. Vectors are generally passed as array references that contain the components. Another way to pass vectors would be to pass Math::MatrixReal objects instead of the array references. plane_directional1 and plane_directional2 are the vectors that span the plane. Hence, the projection plane has the form:

  s = plane_basis_vector + coeff1 * plane_dir1 + coeff2 * plane_dir2

The last vector you need to specify at creation time is the vector along which you want to project the function points onto the plane. You may, however, omit its specification because it defaults to teh cross-product of the plane's directional vectors. Hence, all points are orthogonally projected onto the plane.


This method may be used as a class or object method. It does not have side effects as a clas method, but as an object method, its results are applied to the projection object.

new_function returns an anonymous subroutine compiled from component functions which you need to specify.

For a quick synopsis, you may look at Math::Project3D::Function.

You may pass a list of component functions that are included in the compiled vectorial functions in the order they were passed. There are two possible ways to specify a component function. Either you pass an subroutine reference which is called with the list of parameters, or you pass a string containing a valid Perl expression which is then evaluated. You may mix the two syntaxes at will.

If any one of the component functions is specified as a string, the first argument to new_function must be a string of parameter names separated by commas. These parameter names will then be made availlable to the string component functions as the respective scalar variables. (eg. 't,u' will mean that the parameters availlable to the string expressions are $t and $u.)

Due to some black magic in Math::Project3D::Function, the string expression syntax may actually be slightly faster at run-time because it saves sub routine calls which are slow in Perl. Generally speaking, you should just choose whichever syntax you like because benchmarks show that the difference is very small. (Which is a mystery to me, really.) Arguably, the closure syntax is more powerful because closures, have access to variables outside the scope of the resulting vectorial function. For a simple-minded example, you may have a look at the synopsis in Math::Project3D::Function. Picture a dynamic radius, etc.


get_function returns the object's current vectorial function.


set_function is the counterpart of get_function.


The project method can be used to do the projection calculations for one point of the vectorial function. It expects a list of function parameters as argument.

On failure (eg. the projection vector is parallel to the plane.), the method returns undef.

On success, the method returns the coefficients of the projected point on the plane as well as the distance of the source point from the plane in lengths of the projection vector. (May be negative for points "behind" the plane.)


project_list is a wrapper around project and therefore rather slow because it is doing a lot of extra work.

project_list takes a list of array references as arguments. The referenced arrays are to contain sets of function parameters. The method the calculates every set of parameters' projection and stores the three results (coefficients on the plane and distance coefficient) in an n*3 matrix (as an MMR object, n is the number of points projected). The matrix is returned.

Currently, the method croaks if any of the points cannot be projected onto the plane using the given projection vector. The normal vector of the plane used as the projection vector should guarantee valid results for any points.


For projection of a large number of points, this method will probably be the best bet. Its first argument has to be a callback function that will be called with the calculated coefficients for every projected point. The callback's arguments will be the following: The two coefficients for the unit vectors on the projection plane, the coefficient for the projection vector (a measure for the point's distance from the plane), and (new in v1.010) an integer that will be different from 0 whenever a parameter other than the one corresponding to the innermost range (the first one) is incremented.

All arguments thereafter have to be array references. Every one of these referenced arrays represents the range of one parameter. These arrays may either contain one number, which is then treated as a static parameter, or three numbers of the form:

  [ lower boundary, upper boundary, increment ]

For example, [-1, 1, 0.8] would yield the parameter values -1, -0.2, 0.6. You may also reverse upper and lower boundary, given you increment by a negative value: [1, -1, -0.8] yields the same parameter values but in reversed order. Example:

    sub {...}, # Do some work with the results
    [ 1, 2,  .5],
    [ 2, 1,  .5],
    [ 0, 10, 4 ],

Will result in the coefficients for the following parameter sets being calculated:

1,2,0 1.5,2,0 2,2,0 1,1.5,0 1.5,1.5,0 2,1.5,0 1,1,0 1.5,1,0 2,1,0 1,2,4 etc.

croaks if a point cannot be projected. (projection vector parallel to the plane but not in the plane.)


Takes a vector as argument. (Either an MMR object or an array ref of an array containing three components.)

The method will replace the function with a wrapper around the original function that rotates the result of the original function by the same angles that the z-axis (e3) needs to be turned to become the passed vector. Example: Passed [1,0,0] means that e3 will be rotated to become e1. Hence all points will be rotated by 90 degrees and orthogonally to e2. Returns the wrapper function and the old function as code references.

You can apply this function multiple times. That means if you rotated the function once, you may do so again and the original rotated function will be wrapped again so that you effectively rotate it twice. Note, however, that you will sacrifice performance on the altar of recursion that way.


Removes the evil hack of rotation using an evil hack. Takes an optional integer as argument. Removes [integer] levels of rotation. 'Level of rotation' means: one rotation wrapper of the original function as wrapped using rotate().

If no integer was passed, defaults to the total number of rotations that were made, effectively removing any rotation.

Returns the number of wrappers (rotations) removed.


Steffen Mueller, mail at steffen-mueller dot net


Copyright (c) 2002-2003 Steffen Mueller. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.