Erik Bernhardsson    About

3D in D3

I have spent some time lately with D3. It’s a lot of fun to build interactive graphs. See for instance this demo (will provide a longer writeup soon).

D3 doesn’t have support for 3D but you can do projections into 2D pretty easily. It’s just old school computer graphics. I ended up adding an animated background to this blog based on an experiment. The math is simple.

First, there’s the rotation. Given a bunch of 3D coordinates, how do you rotate them in 3D space? The cleanest way is to define angles and use them for rotation in the yz-plane, xz-plane, and xy-plane, respectively. Each of them define a rotation matrix. For the xy-plane, we get the rotation matrix (see code):

We get three of these matrices in total: .

The rotation of any vector can now be described as . The nice thing is we can precompute the product of these matrices (see code). Math porn:


Now going forward we can use the matrix to rotate any vector (see code).

The other thing you want to do is to make distant objects look further away. Thinking through proportionalities you can derive a pretty simple equation (see code). , and same for . The constant is just a hack to scale down the values.

Not sure whether the 3D animation is cool or just annoying, but I’ll prob keep it for a bit – enjoy!

Erik Bernhardsson

... is the CTO at Better, which is a startup changing how mortgages are done. I write a lot of code, some of which ends up being open sourced, such as Luigi and Annoy. I also co-organize NYC Machine Learning meetup. You can follow me on Twitter or see some more facts about me.