Applying multiple 3D transformations

You can apply many 3D transformations at once using a Matrix3D object. For example if you wanted to rotate, scale, and then move a cube, you could apply three separate transformations to each point of the cube. However it is much more efficient to precalculate multiple transformations in one Matrix3D object and then perform one matrix transformation on each of the points.

Note: The order in which matrix transformations are applied is important. Matrix calculations are not commutative. For example, applying a rotation followed by a translation gives a different result than applying the same translation followed by the same rotation.

The following example shows two ways of performing multiple 3D transformations.

package { 
    import flash.display.Sprite;     
    import flash.display.Shape; 
    import flash.display.Graphics; 
    import flash.geom.*; 
public class Matrix3DTransformsExample extends Sprite 
        private var rect1:Shape; 
        private var rect2:Shape; 
public function Matrix3DTransformsExample():void 
            var pp:PerspectiveProjection = this.transform.perspectiveProjection; 
            pp.projectionCenter = new Point(275,200); 
            this.transform.perspectiveProjection = pp; 
            rect1 = new Shape(); 
            rect1.x = -70; 
            rect1.y = -40; 
            rect1.z = 0; 
            rect2 = new Shape(); 
            rect2.x = 20; 
            rect2.y = -40; 
            rect2.z = 0; 
        private function doTransforms():void 
            rect1.rotationX = 15; 
            rect1.scaleX = 1.2; 
            rect1.x += 100; 
            rect1.y += 50; 
            rect1.rotationZ = 10; 
            var matrix:Matrix3D = rect2.transform.matrix3D; 
            matrix.appendRotation(15, Vector3D.X_AXIS); 
            matrix.appendScale(1.2, 1, 1); 
            matrix.appendTranslation(100, 50, 0); 
            matrix.appendRotation(10, Vector3D.Z_AXIS); 
            rect2.transform.matrix3D = matrix; 

In the doTransforms() method the first block of code uses the DisplayObject properties to change the rotation, scaling, and position of a rectangle shape. The second block of code uses the methods of the Matrix3D class to do the same transformations.

The main advantage of using the Matrix3D methods is that all of the calculations are performed in the matrix first,. Then they are applied to the display object only once, when its transform.matrix3D property is set. Setting DisplayObject properties make the source code a bit simpler to read. However each time a rotation or scaling property is set, it causes multiple calculations and changes multiple display object properties.

If your code will apply the same complex transformations to display objects more than once, save the Matrix3D object as a variable and then reapply it over and over.