Tutorial for UCS Based Transformations

With ezdxf v0.11 a new feature for entity transformation was introduced, which makes working with OCS/UCS much easier, this is a new edition of the older Tutorial for OCS/UCS Usage. For the basic information read the old tutorial please. In ezdxf v0.13 the transform_to_wcs() interface was replaced by the general transformation interface: transform().

For this tutorial we don’t have to worry about the OCS and the extrusion vector, this is done automatically by the transform() method of each DXF entity.

Placing 2D Circle in 3D Space

To recreate the situation of the old tutorial instantiate a new UCS and rotate it around the local x-axis. Use UCS coordinates to place the 2D CIRCLE in 3D space, and transform the UCS coordinates to the WCS.

import math
import ezdxf
from ezdxf.math import UCS

doc = ezdxf.new('R2010')
msp = doc.modelspace()

ucs = UCS()  # New default UCS
# All rotation angles in radians, and rotation
# methods always return a new UCS.
ucs = ucs.rotate_local_x(math.radians(-45))
circle = msp.add_circle(
    # Use UCS coordinates to place the 2d circle in 3d space
    center=(0, 0, 2),
    dxfattribs={'color': 1}

# mark center point of circle in WCS
msp.add_point((0, 0, 2), dxfattribs={'color': 1}).transform(ucs.matrix)
circle in ucs as side view circle in ucs as front view

Placing LWPolyline in 3D Space

Simplified LWPOLYLINE example:

# The center of the pentagon should be (0, 2, 2), and the shape is
# rotated around x-axis about -45 degree
ucs = UCS(origin=(0, 2, 2)).rotate_local_x(math.radians(-45))

    # calculating corner points in UCS coordinates
    points=(Vector.from_deg_angle((360 / 5) * n) for n in range(5)),
    format='xy',  # ignore z-axis
        'closed': True,
        'color': 1,

The 2D pentagon in 3D space in BricsCAD Left and Front view.

pentagon in ucs as side view pentagon in ucs as front view

Using UCS to Place 3D Polyline

Simplified POLYLINE example: Using a first UCS to transform the POLYLINE and a second UCS to place the POLYLINE in 3D space.

# using an UCS simplifies 3D operations, but UCS definition can happen later
# calculating corner points in local (UCS) coordinates without Vector class
angle = math.radians(360 / 5)
corners_ucs = [(math.cos(angle * n), math.sin(angle * n), 0) for n in range(5)]

# let's do some transformations by UCS
transformation_ucs = UCS().rotate_local_z(math.radians(15))  # 1. rotation around z-axis
transformation_ucs.shift((0, .333, .333))  # 2. translation (inplace)
corners_ucs = list(transformation_ucs.points_to_wcs(corners_ucs))

location_ucs = UCS(origin=(0, 2, 2)).rotate_local_x(math.radians(-45))
        'closed': True,
        'color': 1,

# Add lines from the center of the POLYLINE to the corners
center_ucs = transformation_ucs.to_wcs((0, 0, 0))
for corner in corners_ucs:
        center_ucs, corner, dxfattribs={'color': 1}
3d poyline with UCS

Placing 2D Text in 3D Space

The problem with the text rotation in the old tutorial disappears (or better it is hidden in transform()) with the new UCS based transformation method:

AutoCAD supports thickness for the TEXT entity only for .shx fonts and not for true type fonts.

# thickness for text works only with shx fonts not with true type fonts
doc.styles.new('TXT', dxfattribs={'font': 'romans.shx'})

ucs = UCS(origin=(0, 2, 2)).rotate_local_x(math.radians(-45))
text = msp.add_text(
        # text rotation angle in degrees in UCS
        'rotation': -45,
        'thickness': .333,
        'color': 1,
        'style': 'TXT',
# set text position in UCS
text.set_pos((0, 0, 0), align='MIDDLE_CENTER')
text in ucs as top view text in ucs as front view

Placing 2D Arc in 3D Space

Same as for the text example, OCS angle transformation can be ignored:

ucs = UCS(origin=(0, 2, 2)).rotate_local_x(math.radians(-45))

CENTER = (0, 0)

    dxfattribs={'color': 6},

    dxfattribs={'color': 6},

    dxfattribs={'color': 6},
arc in ucs as top view arc in ucs as front view

Placing Block References in 3D Space

Despite the fact that block references (INSERT) can contain true 3D entities like LINE or MESH, the INSERT entity uses the same placing principe as TEXT or ARC shown in the previous chapters.

To rotate the block reference 15 degrees around the WCS x-axis, we place the block reference in the origin of the UCS, and rotate the UCS 90 degrees around its local y-axis, to align the UCS z-axis with the WCS x-axis:

This is just an excerpt of the important parts, see the whole code of insert.py at github.

doc = ezdxf.new('R2010', setup=True)
blk = doc.blocks.new('CSYS')
msp = doc.modelspace()

ucs = UCS().rotate_local_y(angle=math.radians(90))
    insert=(0, 0),
    # rotation around the block z-axis (= WCS x-axis)
    dxfattribs={'rotation': 15},
../_images/ucs-insert-01-iso.png ../_images/ucs-insert-01-side.png

A more simple approach is to ignore the rotate attribute at all and just rotate the UCS. To rotate a block reference around any axis rather than the block z-axis, rotate the UCS into the desired position. Following example rotates the block reference around the block x-axis by 15 degrees:

ucs = UCS(origin=(1, 2, 0)).rotate_local_x(math.radians(15))
blockref = msp.add_blockref('CSYS', insert=(0, 0, 0))
../_images/ucs-insert-02-iso.png ../_images/ucs-insert-02-side.png

The next example shows how to translate a block references with an already established OCS:

# New UCS at the translated location, axis aligned to the WCS
ucs = UCS((-3, -1, 1))
# Transform an already placed block reference, including
# the transformation of the established OCS.
../_images/ucs-insert-03-iso.png ../_images/ucs-insert-03-side.png

The next operation is to rotate a block reference with an established OCS, rotation axis is the block y-axis, rotation angle is -90 degrees. The idea is to create an UCS in the origin of the already placed block reference, UCS axis aligned to the block axis and resetting the block reference parameters for a new WCS transformation.

# Get UCS at the block reference insert location, UCS axis aligned
# to the block axis.
ucs = blockref.ucs()
# Rotate UCS around the local y-axis.
ucs = ucs.rotate_local_y(math.radians(-90))

Reset block reference parameters, this places the block reference in the UCS origin and aligns the block axis to the UCS axis, now we do a new transformation from UCS to WCS:

# Reset block reference parameters to place block reference in
# UCS origin, without any rotation and OCS.

# Transform block reference from UCS to WCS
../_images/ucs-insert-04-iso.png ../_images/ucs-insert-04-side.png