Translation (geometry)

In Euclidean geometry, a translation, or translation operator, is an affine transformation of Euclidean space which moves every point by a fixed distance in the same direction. It can also be interpreted as the addition of a constant vector to every point, or as shifting the origin of the coordinate system. In other words, if v is a fixed vector, then the translation Tv will work as Tv(p) = p + v.

If T is a translation, then the image of a subset A under the function T is the translate of A by T. The translate of A by Tv is often written A + v.

Each translation is an isometry.

Matrix representation

Since a translation is an affine transformation, but not a linear transformation, homogeneous coordinates are normally used to represent the translation operator by a matrix. Thus we write the 3-dimensional vector w = (wx, wy, wz) using 4 homogeneous coordinates as w = (wx, wy, wz, 1).

To translate an object by a vector v, each homogeneous vector p (written in homogeneous coordinates) would need to be multiplied by this translation matrix:

[itex] T_{\mathbf{v}} =

\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 & 0 & v_x \\ 0 & 1 & 0 & v_y \\ 0 & 0 & 1 & v_z \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix} . \! [itex]

As shown below, the multiplication will give the expected result:

[itex] T_{\mathbf{v}} \mathbf{p} =

\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 & 0 & v_x \\ 0 & 1 & 0 & v_y \\ 0 & 0 & 1 & v_z \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{bmatrix} \begin{bmatrix} p_x \\ p_y \\ p_z \\ 1 \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} p_x + v_x \\ p_y + v_y \\ p_z + v_z \\ 1 \end{bmatrix} = \mathbf{p} + \mathbf{v} . \! [itex]

The inverse of a translation matrix can be obtained by reversing the direction of the vector:

[itex] T^{-1}_{\mathbf{v}} = T_{-\mathbf{v}} . \! [itex]

Similarly, the product of translation matrices is given by adding the vectors:

[itex] T_{\mathbf{u}}T_{\mathbf{v}} = T_{\mathbf{u}+\mathbf{v}} . \! [itex]

Because addition of vectors is commutative, multiplication of translation matrices is therefore also commutative (unlike multiplication of arbitrary matrices).

• Translation Transform (http://www.cut-the-knot.org/Curriculum/Geometry/Translation.shtml) (requires Java)

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