Order of a 3D Triangle
Date: 08/29/2001 at 07:40:38 From: vincent Subject: Winding order af a 3d triangle Hi, Do you know how to find the winding order of a triangle given three points in space (x,y,z)? I want to know if when I visit the vertex from a to b, then from b to c, and returning to a, I am going clockwise or anticlockwise.
Date: 08/29/2001 at 11:58:44 From: Doctor Rob Subject: Re: Winding order af a 3d triangle Thanks for writing to Ask Dr. Math, Vincent. This depends on from which side of the plane containing a, b, and c you view this operation. Opposite sides of the plane give opposite answers. (Think about it!) Suppose the three coordinate axes are arranged so that if the x-axis is pointing along your right thumb, and the y-axis is pointing along your right forefinger, then the z-axis is pointing along your right middle finger. If you have three points A(x1,y1,z1), B(x2,y2,z2), and C(x3,y3,z3), and you view the operation from a fourth point P(x4,y4,z4), then the sign of the following determinant will give you the information you want: |x1 y1 z1 1| |x2 y2 z2 1| d = |x3 y3 z3 1|. |x4 y4 z4 1| If d > 0, then A to B to C to A will appear from P to be clockwise. If d < 0, then it will appear to be anticlockwise. If d = 0, then P is in the same plane as ABC, so one cannot observe either clockwise or anticlockwise angular motion. If your axes are arranged using the left hand instead of the right, then the two cases are reversed: d > 0 means anticlockwise and d < 0 means clockwise. - Doctor Rob, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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