# Line Equation in 3D

**Related Topics:** Plane Equation

**Download:** StarGenerator.zip

- Intersection of 2 Lines
- Example: Intersection of 2 Lines (Interactive Demo)
- Intersection of Line and Plane
- Example: Intersection of Line and Plane (Interactive Demo)
- Example: Star Generator

The equation of a line is defined with 2 known points. This page describes a line equation using parametric form; a point on the line and the direction vector of the line.

The direction vector can be computed by subtracting 2 known points;

Therefore, the parametric form of the line equation is;

Or, each element (*x, y, z*) of the line can be written by the parameter *t*;

Notice that it is same as linear interpolation formula on each axis. If 0 < *t* < 1, it is an interpolation, otherwise extrapolation.

Also note that 2D line equation is frequently represented with slope-intercept form or standard form . However these forms are not suitable for computer algorithms because the slope of a vertical line is undefined (±∞), and plus the slope-itercept form cannot be used in 3D space.

## Intersection of 2 Lines

The intersection point of 2 lines is solving the linear system of 2 lines using vector algebra.

First, solve the linear system, Line1 = Line2 for *t*. Then substitute *t* into Line1 equation to find the intersection point (x, y, z).

*(Reference: Intersection of two lines in three-space, Ronald Goldman, Graphics Gems, page 304, 1990)*

If two lines are parallel, the cross product of 2 direction vectors of the lines becomes zero. You can determine if two lines are intersect or not with;

Here is C++ code to find the intersection point of 2 lines. Please see the details in Line.cpp.

```
// dependency: Vector3, Line
struct Vector3
{
float x;
float y;
float z;
};
class Line
{
Vector3 direction; // (Vx, Vy, Vz)
Vector3 point; // (Px, Py, Pz)
};
Vector3 intersect(Line& line1, Line& line2)
{
Vector3 p = line1.point; // P1
Vector3 v = line1.direction; // v
Vector3 q = line2.point; // Q1
Vector3 u = line2.direction; // u
// find a = v x u
Vector3 a = v.cross(u); // cross product
// find dot product = (v x u) . (v x u)
float dot = a.dot(a); // inner product
// if v and u are parallel (v x u = 0), then no intersection, return NaN point
if(dot == 0)
return Vector3(NAN, NAN, NAN);
// find b = (Q1-P1) x u
Vector3 b = (q - p).cross(u); // cross product
// find t = (b.a)/(a.a) = ((Q1-P1) x u) .(v x u) / (v x u) . (v x u)
float t = b.dot(a) / dot;
// find intersection point by substituting t to the line1 eq
Vector3 point = p + (t * v);
return point;
}
```

## Example: Intersection of 2 Lines in 2D (Interactive Demo)

The following JavaScript interactive demo is finding the intersection point from 2 lines in 2D. It requires WebGL enabled browsers.

## Intersection of Line and Plane

A plane equation in 3D is defined with its normal vector and a known point on the plane;

Please refer to Plane Equation to see how to derive the plane equation.

Finding the intersection point of a line and plane is solving a linear system of a line and plane.

First, substitute of the plane equation with from the line equation. Then, solve for *t*;

If the denominator part is zero, there is no intersection. And the sum of multiplications of the above equation can be replaced with dot products;

Here is C++ code to find the intersection point of a line and a plane.

```
// dependency: Vector3, Line, Plane
struct Vector3
{
float x;
float y;
float z;
};
class Line
{
Vector3 direction; // v
Vector3 point; // p
};
class Plane
{
Vector3 normal; // (a, b, c)
Vector3 d; // constant term: d = -(a*x0 + b*y0 + c*z0)
};
Vector3 intersect(Line& line, Plane& plane)
{
// from line = p + t * v
Vector3 p = line.point; // (x1, y1, z1)
Vector3 v = line.direction; // (Vx, Vy, Vz)
// from plane: ax + by + cz + d = 0
Vector3 n = plane.normal; // (a, b, c)
Vector3 d = plane.d; // constant term of plane
// dot products
float dot1 = n.dot(v); // a*Vx + b*Vy + c*Vz
float dot2 = n.dot(p); // a*x1 + b*y1 + c*z1
// if denominator=0, no intersect
if(dot1 == 0)
return Vector3(NAN, NAN, NAN); // return NaN point
// find t = -(a*x1 + b*y1 + c*z1 + d) / (a*Vx + b*Vy + c*Vz)
float t = -(dot2 + d) / dot1;
// find intersection point by substituting t to line eq
return p + (t * v);
}
```

## Example: Intersection of Line and Plane (Interactive Demo)

The following JavaScript interactive demo is finding the intersection point from a line and a plane in 3D. Use left and right mouse buttons to rotate the view, or to zoom in and out. It requires WebGL enabled browsers.

## Example: Drawing N-point Star

Download source and binary:

StarGenerator.zip *(Updated: 2020-07-17)*

StarGenerator_mac.zip *(Updated: 2023-04-25)*

Drawing a N-point star is a practical application using line intersection algorithm. The steps for drawing a star are;