# How to create a custom set of coordinates based on two points in Unity?

As the title says, I am having problems finding a way to create a new set of local coordinates based on two points. Here is an example: Consider that the two gameObjects are not one parent of another, therefore I cannot use something like transform.localPosition, furthermore I tried using transform.TransformPoint(), however the latter works only if if I want to create it with respect to a single point. I think it is a silly question, yet I am not finding a way to solve it, so any help is greatly appreciated!

Based on your comments, I understand you want the second point to be on the Y+ axis of the local coordinate system you're building, and the local Z+ axis to correspond to the world Z+ axis. We can get this like so:

Matrix4x4 GetCoordinateSystemFromPoints(
Vector3 origin,
Vector3 pointOnYPlusAxis)
{
return Matrix4x4.TRS(
origin,
Quaternion.LookRotation(Vector3.forward, pointOnZPlusAxis - origin),
Vector3.One
);
}


You can transform a point from this local space to world space with:

var worldPoint = matrix.MultiplyPoint3x4(localPoint);


And transform from world space to local space with:

Matrix4x4 inverse;
Matrix4x4.Inverse3DAffine(matrix, ref inverse);

var localPoint = inverse.MultiplyPoint3x4(localPoint);


The downside of this is that it's somewhat more expensive to invert.

You could instead define your own CoordinateSystem struct that includes both the forward and inverse matrix, or an origin & quaternion pair, so you can transform both into and out of this coordinate system frequently without repeatedly computing a matrix inverse, something like this:

public struct CoordinateSystem {
// 7 floats instead of 12-16 for a 3x4 or 4x4 matrix.

public CoordinateSystem(Vector3 origin, Vector3 pointOnYPlusAxis) {
this.origin = origin;
this.orientation = Quaternion.LookRotation(
Vector3.forward, pointOnYPlusAxis - origin);
}

public Vector3 TransformVector(Vector3 vector) {
return orientation * vector;
}

public Vector3 InverseTransformVector(Vector3 vector) {
// Quaternion inverse is cheaper than a matrix inverse: just 3 negations.
// The compiler may be able to combine this with the multiplication below.
var inverse = Quaternion.Inverse(orientation);
return inverse * vector;
}

public Vector3 TransformPoint(Vector3 point) {
return origin + TransformVector(point);
}

public Vector3 InverseTransformPoint(Vector3 point) {
return InverseTransformVector(point - origin);
}
}

• Thanks for the reply! Quick question: I did not mention that I wanted to use it on a 2D plane, putting the second point on the y-axis, my bad. I just have a quick 2 questions: 1) isn't Vector3.up related to the y+ direction (0, 1, 0)? 2) Is it true to say that if I want to do the same on the 2D plane working on the y-axis, I should just change the LookRotation line? – FSic Jul 31 '19 at 19:41
• Actually, third question: once I have the transformation matrix, I should multiply a given vector in order to transform it according to the new reference system, however, working with a 3x1 vector, I cannot multiply it by a 4x4 matrix, so how do I apply the transformation? (Man I should really look back at my old algebra notes :0 ) – FSic Jul 31 '19 at 19:50
• Please edit your question to ensure it contains a complete definition of the coordinate transformation you want, to avoid getting answers that do something different from what you want. "I cannot multiply it by a 4x4 matrix" - why not? The documented API provides methods to do this just fine. – DMGregory Jul 31 '19 at 20:08