3D graphics on svg element

The 3D representation in a svg element can be possible if it makes a projection of points on a plane normal to the direction of view, let name it P. The direction of view is defined by two angles: "azimuth" and "elevation".

In the figure aside you can see the P plane represented in a fix reference system, [Oxyz]. The plane has a local axis system [OG uvw] (w not represented in the figure), coresponding to the graphic coordinate system of canvas html element.


The initial position of the plane P is parallel to [yz] plane of the fixed system, then rotated around a vertical axis with "az" angle, and finally rotated around the local axis "u" with angle "el". The point G of this plane, located by local coordinates uG, vG is superposed to the fix point Q defined in the fixed axis system by coordinates xQ yQ zQ.

This geometrical position's definition of the projection plane P ca be expressed by a matrix transformation between these two coordinate systems. For that, we must express the origin OG and the unit vectors u and v by components, to respect [Oxyz] system:

OG =xQ+uG·sin(az)-vG·sin(el)·cos(az)

u =-sin(az)

v =+sin(el)·cos(az)

The transformation matrix is:

T = ux vx wx OGx
uy vy wy OGy
uz vz wz OGz
0 0 0 1

And it's inverse:

T-1 = ux uy uz -<u,OG>
vx vy vz -<v,OG>
wx wy wz -<w,OG>
0 0 0 1

Where the notation <v1,v2> represents the scalar product between vectors v1 and v2

A point p(x,y,z) in the virtual 3d space has in the local system [OG uvw] the coordinates a, b and c computed with formula:

a = T-1· x
b y
c z
1 1

The projection p' of the point on the plane P has coordinates a and b extracted from above matrix formula:

a = <u,(x,y,z)-OG>
b = <v,(x,y,z)-OG>

A function to compute the projection of points can be write like:

function trans32(Q,G,az,el,p){
    var sa, ca, se, ce, OG, u, v, S1, S2;
    sa = Math.sin(az);
    ca = Math.cos(az);
    se = Math.sin(el);
    ce = Math.cos(el);
    OG = [
    u = [-sa,ca,0], v = [se*ca,se*sa,-ce];
    S1 = -u[0]*OG[0]-u[1]*OG[1]-u[2]*OG[2];
    S2 = -v[0]*OG[0]-v[1]*OG[1]-v[2]*OG[2];
  return [

Here is an application to show how it works.

The application you see below uses the equations for projection presented above. I have used a svg-element and a lot of javascript functions. All is made as an "object" entity having members and methods.

You can use the mouse to drag G point on the projection plane (four arrows sign), or to continuous change the "azimuth" and "elevation" values (on the black square). Also you can change the 3d coordinates of the Q point using the sliders.

move mouse over image, left-button pressed