# Ray reflection with a triangle

I'm trying to reflect a ray of a triangle using Processing and not sure I got the code right. I'm using two bits of pseudo code from two locations:

1. Intersection of a Line with a Plane from Paul Bourke's site.
2. Reflecting a vector from 3DKingdoms site.

Here's my code so far:

PVector[] face = new PVector[3];
float ai = TWO_PI/3;//angle increment
float ro = 150;//random offset

PVector n;//normal
Ray r1;

void setup(){
size(500,500,P3D);
for(int i = 0 ; i < 3; i++) face[i] = new PVector(cos(ai * i) * r + random(ro),random(-50,50),sin(ai * i) * r + random(ro));
r1 = new Ray(new PVector(-100,-200,-300),new PVector(100,200,300));
}
void draw(){
background(255);
lights();
translate(width/2, height/2,-500);
rotateX(map(mouseY,0,height,-PI,PI));
rotateY(map(mouseX,0,width,-PI,PI));
//draw plane
beginShape(TRIANGLES);
for(PVector p : face) vertex(p.x,p.y,p.z);
endShape();
//normals
PVector c = new PVector();//centroid
c.div(3.0);
PVector cb = PVector.sub(face[2],face[1]);
PVector ab = PVector.sub(face[0],face[1]);
n = cb.cross(ab);//compute normal
line(c.x,c.y,c.z,n.x,n.y,n.z);//draw normal

pushStyle();
//http://paulbourke.net/geometry/planeline/
//line to plane intersection u = N dot ( P3 - P1 ) / N dot (P2 - P1), P = P1 + u (P2-P1), where P1,P2 are on the line and P3 is a point on the plane
PVector P2SubP1 = PVector.sub(r1.end,r1.start);
PVector P3SubP1 = PVector.sub(face[0],r1.start);
float u = n.dot(P3SubP1) / n.dot(P2SubP1);
strokeWeight(5);
point(P.x,P.y,P.z);//point of ray-plane intersection

//vector reflecting http://www.3dkingdoms.com/weekly/weekly.php?a=2
//R = 2*(V dot N)*N - V
//Vnew = -2*(V dot N)*N + V
//PVector V = PVector.sub(r1.start,r1.end);
PVector V = PVector.sub(r1.start,P);
PVector R = PVector.sub(PVector.mult(n,3 * (V.dot(n))),V);
strokeWeight(1);
stroke(0,192,0);
line(P.x,P.y,P.z,R.x,R.y,R.z);
stroke(192,0,0);
line(r1.start.x,r1.start.y,r1.start.z,P.x,P.y,P.z);
stroke(0,0,192);
line(P.x,P.y,P.z,r1.end.x,r1.end.y,r1.end.z);
popStyle();

}
void keyPressed(){   setup();  }//reset
class Ray{
PVector start = new PVector(),end = new PVector();
Ray(PVector s,PVector e){   start = s ; end = e;  }
}


I've tried to keep it simple and comment it. Still, the reflected vector (drawn in green) doesn't seem to be quite right:

I'm not sure if the reflected vector should meet the normal. Should I normalize/scale some vectors at some point?

• It definitely looks wrong, but it could be due to 3D perspective. The reflected vector only meets a normal (I guess you mean the one raising from the centre of the shape) by coincidence. 3dkingdoms having picked an example so close to 45° is an unfortunate decision, makes it hard to see what is supposed to happen. – ANeves wants peace for Monica Mar 15 '12 at 9:53
• Are you confident about the mathematical formulas being right? I tried looking at it, but it's been a while since I thought about vectors and don't want to get it wrong... so I'll pass. In 2D, a ray with incidence angle of N° reflects with a (180-N)° angle: it is mirrored through a perpendicular to the reflector line, this perpendicular raising from the point of incidence. I think the 3D version can be reduced to a 2D problem if you constrain it to the plane including the ray and the normal raising from the incidence point. – ANeves wants peace for Monica Mar 15 '12 at 9:57

Turns out I needed to normalize the normal first:

n.normalize();


full code for reference:

PVector[] face = new PVector[3];
float ai = TWO_PI/3;//angle increment
float ro = 150;//random offset

PVector n;//normal
Ray r1;

void setup() {
size(500, 500, P3D);
for (int i = 0 ; i < 3; i++) face[i] = new PVector(cos(ai * i) * r + random(ro), random(-50, 50), sin(ai * i) * r + random(ro));
r1 = new Ray(new PVector(-100, -200, -300), new PVector(100, 200, 300));
}
void draw() {
background(255);
lights();
translate(width/2, height/2, -500);
rotateX(map(mouseY, 0, height, -PI, PI));
rotateY(map(mouseX, 0, width, -PI, PI));
//draw plane
beginShape(TRIANGLES);
for (PVector p : face) vertex(p.x, p.y, p.z);
endShape();
//normals
PVector c = new PVector();//centroid
for (PVector p : face) c.add(p);
c.div(3.0);
PVector cb = PVector.sub(face[2], face[1]);
PVector ab = PVector.sub(face[0], face[1]);
n = cb.cross(ab);//compute normal
n.normalize();
line(c.x, c.y, c.z, n.x, n.y, n.z);//draw normal

pushStyle();
//http://paulbourke.net/geometry/planeline/
//line to plane intersection u = N dot ( P3 - P1 ) / N dot (P2 - P1), P = P1 + u (P2-P1), where P1,P2 are on the line and P3 is a point on the plane
PVector P2SubP1 = PVector.sub(r1.end, r1.start);
PVector P3SubP1 = PVector.sub(face[0], r1.start);
float u = n.dot(P3SubP1) / n.dot(P2SubP1);
PVector P = PVector.add(r1.start, PVector.mult(P2SubP1, u));
strokeWeight(5);
point(P.x, P.y, P.z);//point of ray-plane intersection

//vector reflecting http://www.3dkingdoms.com/weekly/weekly.php?a=2
//R = 2*(V dot N)*N - V
//Vnew = -2*(V dot N)*N + V
//PVector V = PVector.sub(r1.start,r1.end);
PVector V = PVector.sub(r1.start, P);
PVector R = PVector.sub(PVector.mult(n, 2 * (V.dot(n))), V);
strokeWeight(1);
stroke(0, 192, 0);
line(P.x, P.y, P.z, R.x, R.y, R.z);
stroke(192, 0, 0);
line(r1.start.x, r1.start.y, r1.start.z, P.x, P.y, P.z);
stroke(0, 0, 192);
line(P.x, P.y, P.z, r1.end.x, r1.end.y, r1.end.z);
popStyle();
}
void keyPressed() {
setup();
}//reset
class Ray {
PVector start = new PVector(), end = new PVector();
Ray(PVector s, PVector e) {
start = s ;
end = e;
}
}