1.2.7.1 Transformations
The supported transformations are rotate , scale , and translate . They are
used to turn, size and move an object or texture. A transformation matrix may also be used to specify complex
transformations directly. Groups of transformations may be merged together and stored in a transformation identifier.
The syntax for transformations is as follows.
TRANSFORMATION:
rotate <Rotate_Amt>  scale <Scale_Amt> 
translate <Translate_Amt>  transform TRANSFORM_IDENTIFIER 
transform { TRANSFORMATION_BLOCK...} 
matrix <Val00, Val01, Val02,
Val10, Val11, Val12,
Val20, Val21, Val22,
Val30, Val31, Val32>
TRANSFORMATION_BLOCK:
TRANSFORM_IDENTIFIER  TRANSFORMATION  inverse
TRANSFORM_DECLARATION:
#declare IDENTIFIER = transform { TRANSFORMATION_BLOCK...} 
#local IDENTIFIER = transform { TRANSFORMATION_BLOCK...}
Items may be moved by adding a translate modifier. It consists of the keyword translate
followed by a vector expression. The three terms of the vector specify the number of units to move in each of the x, y
and z directions. Translate moves the element relative to its current position. For example
sphere { <10, 10, 10>, 1
pigment { Green }
translate <5, 2, 1>
}
will move the sphere from the location <10,10,10> to <5,12,11> . It does not
move it to the absolute location <5,2,1> . Translations are always relative to the item's location
before the move. Translating by zero will leave the element unchanged on that axis. For example:
sphere { <10, 10, 10>, 1
pigment { Green }
translate 3*x // evaluates to <3,0,0> so move 3 units
// in the x direction and none along y or z
}
You may change the size of an object or texture pattern by adding a scale modifier. It consists of
the keyword scale followed by a vector expression. The three terms of the vector specify the amount of
scaling in each of the x, y and z directions.
Uneven scaling is used to stretch or squish an element. Values larger than one stretch the
element on that axis while values smaller than one are used to squish it. Scale is relative to the current element
size. If the element has been previously resized using scale then scale will size relative to the new size. Multiple
scale values may used.
For example
sphere { <0,0,0>, 1
scale <2,1,0.5>
}
will stretch and smash the sphere into an ellipsoid shape that is twice the original size along the xdirection,
remains the same size in the ydirection and is half the original size in the zdirection.
If a lone float expression is specified it is promoted to a three component vector whose terms are all the same.
Thus the item is uniformly scaled by the same amount in all directions. For example:
object {
MyObject
scale 5 // Evaluates as <5,5,5> so uniformly scale
// by 5 in every direction.
}
When one of the scaling components is zero, POVRay changes this component to 1 since it assumes that 0 means no
scaling in this direction. A warning "Illegal Value: Scale X, Y or Z by 0.0. Changed to 1.0." is printed
then.
You may change the orientation of an object or texture pattern by adding a rotate modifier. It
consists of the keyword rotate followed by a vector expression. The three terms of the vector specify
the number of degrees to rotate about each of the x, y and zaxes.
Note: that the order of the rotations does matter. Rotations occur about the xaxis
first, then the yaxis, then the zaxis. If you are not sure if this is what you want then you should only rotate on
one axis at a time using multiple rotation statements to get a correct rotation.
rotate <0, 30, 0> // 30 degrees around Y axis then,
rotate <20, 0, 0> // 20 degrees around X axis then,
rotate <0, 0, 10> // 10 degrees around Z axis.
Rotation is always performed relative to the axis. Thus if an object is some distance from the axis of rotation it
will not only rotate but it will orbit about the axis as though it was swinging around on an invisible
string.
POVRay uses a lefthanded rotation system. Using the famous "Computer Graphics Aerobics"
exercise, you hold up your left hand and point your thumb in the positive direction of the axis of rotation. Your
fingers will curl in the positive direction of rotation. Similarly if you point your thumb in the negative direction
of the axis your fingers will curl in the negative direction of rotation. See "Understanding POVRay's Coordinate
System" for an illustration.
The matrix keyword can be used to explicitly specify the transformation matrix to be used for objects
or textures. Its syntax is:
MATRIX:
matrix <Val00, Val01, Val02,
Val10, Val11, Val12,
Val20, Val21, Val22,
Val30, Val31, Val32>
Where Val00 through Val32 are float expressions enclosed in angle
brackets and separated by commas.
Note: this is not a vector. It is a set of 12 float expressions.
These floats specify the elements of a 4 by 4 matrix with the fourth column implicitly set to <0,0,0,1> .
At any given point P, P=<px, py, pz>, is transformed into the point Q, Q=<qx, qy, qz> by
qx = Val00 * px + Val10 * py + Val20 * pz + Val30
qy = Val01 * px + Val11 * py + Val21 * pz + Val31
qz = Val02 * px + Val12 * py + Val22 * pz + Val32
Normally you will not use the matrix keyword because it is less descriptive than the transformation commands and
harder to visualize. However the matrix command allows more general transformation effects like shearing.
The following matrix causes an object to be sheared along the yaxis.
object {
MyObject
matrix < 1, 1, 0,
0, 1, 0,
0, 0, 1,
0, 0, 0 >
}
