Affine transformation

In Euclidean geometry, an affine transformation, or an affinity (from the Latin, affinis, "connected with"), is a geometric transformation that preserves lines and parallelism (but not necessarily distances and angles).

An image of a fern-like fractal (Barnsley's fern) that exhibits affine self-similarity. Each of the leaves of the fern is related to each other leaf by an affine transformation. For instance, the red leaf can be transformed into both the dark blue leaf and any of the light blue leaves by a combination of reflection, rotation, scaling, and translation.

More generally, an affine transformation is an automorphism of an affine space (Euclidean spaces are specific affine spaces), that is, a function which maps an affine space onto itself while preserving both the dimension of any affine subspaces (meaning that it sends points to points, lines to lines, planes to planes, and so on) and the ratios of the lengths of parallel line segments. Consequently, sets of parallel affine subspaces remain parallel after an affine transformation. An affine transformation does not necessarily preserve angles between lines or distances between points, though it does preserve ratios of distances between points lying on a straight line.

If X is the point set of an affine space, then every affine transformation on X can be represented as the composition of a linear transformation on X and a translation of X. Unlike a purely linear transformation, an affine transformation need not preserve the origin of the affine space. Thus, every linear transformation is affine, but not every affine transformation is linear.

Examples of affine transformations include translation, scaling, homothety, similarity, reflection, rotation, shear mapping, and compositions of them in any combination and sequence.

Viewing an affine space as the complement of a hyperplane at infinity of a projective space, the affine transformations are the projective transformations of that projective space that leave the hyperplane at infinity invariant, restricted to the complement of that hyperplane.

A generalization of an affine transformation is an affine map[1] (or affine homomorphism or affine mapping) between two (potentially different) affine spaces over the same field k. Let (X, V, k) and (Z, W, k) be two affine spaces with X and Z the point sets and V and W the respective associated vector spaces over the field k. A map f: XZ is an affine map if there exists a linear map mf : VW such that mf (xy) = f (x) − f (y) for all x, y in X.[2]


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Affine transformation, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.