This post requires Javascript to display formulas!

In the previous posts of this series we got acquainted with shear operations:

Fun with shear operations and SVD – I – shear matrices and examples created with Blender

Fun with shear operations and SVD – II – Shearing of rectangles and cubes with Python and Matplotlib

Fun with shear operations and SVD – III – Shearing of circles

# Already established results for shearing a circle

Post III focused on the shearing of a circle, which was centered in the Euclidean coordinate system [**ECS**] we worked with. The shear operation resulted in an *ellipse* with an inclination against the coordinate axes of our ECS. This was interesting regarding four points:

- A circle, which is centered in a chosen ECS, exhibits a continuous rotational symmetry (isotropy). This obviously allows for a decomposition of a shear operation into a sequence of two affine operations in the chosen ECS: a scaling operation (with different factors along the coordinate axes) followed by a rotation (or the other way round). Equivalently: We could switch to another specific
**ECS**which is already rotated by a proper angle against our originally chosen ECS and just perform a scaling operation there.

The rotation angle is determined by the shear parameter λ.

This seems to stand in some contrast to the shearing of figures with only discrete rotational symmetries: We saw for rectangles and cubes that an additional rotation was required to replace the shear operation by a sequence of scaling and rotation operations. - Points (
*x*,*y*) of circles and ellipses are described by quadratic forms in*two*dimensions (with some real coefficients*α, β, γ, δ*):\[

\alpha \,x^2 \, + \, \beta \, x \, y \, + \, \gamma \, y^2 \:=\: \delta

\]Quadratic forms play a general role in the mathematical description of cone-sections. (Ellipses are the results of specific cone-sections.)

- Ellipses also result from projections of
*multi*-dimensional ellipsoids onto two-dimensional coordinate planes. Multi-dimensional ellipsoids are described by quadratic forms in an ECS covering the ℝ^{n}. - Hyper-surfaces for constant probability density values of multivariate normal vector distributions form multi-dimensional ellipsoids. Here we have a link to Machine Learning where key properties of certain objects are often ruled by Gaussian distributions.

From the first point we may expect that a shear operation applied to a multi-dimensional *sphere* will result in a multi-dimensional ellipsoid – and that such an operation could be replaced by scaling the original sphere (with different factors along *n* coordinate axes of a *n*-dimensional ECS) followed by a rotation (or vice versa). We will explicitly investigate this for a 3-dimensional sphere in the next post.

If our assumption were true we would get a first glimpse of the fact that a general multivariate standard distribution can be created by applying a sequence of distinct affine (i.e. linear) operations to a spherical probability distribution. This is discussed in detail in another post-series in this blog.

What is a bit confusing at the moment is that a replacement of a shear operation by simpler affine operations in general seems to require at least two rotations, but only one when we work with centered isotropic bodies. We come back to this point when we discuss the decomposition of a shear matrix by the so called SVD-procedure.

In the previous post of this series we have used the radius of the circle and the shearing parameter λ to derive analytical expressions for the coordinates of special points with extremal values on our ellipse

- Points with maximal and minimal y-coordinate values.
- Points with a maximal or minimal distance to the symmetry center of the ellipse. I.e. the end-points of the principal diameters of the ellipse.

From the fact that shearing does not change extremal values along the axis perpendicular to the sharing direction we could easily determine the lengths of the ellipse’s principal axes and the inclination angle of the longer axis with the x-axis of our Euclidean coordinate system [ECS].

What do we have in addition? In another mini-series on ellipses

Properties of ellipses by matrix coefficients – I – Two defining matrices (and two more posts)

I have meanwhile described how the geometry of an ellipse is related to its quadratic form and respective coefficients of a symmetric matrix. I call this matrix **A**_{q}. It forces the components of position vectors to fulfill an equation based on a quadratic polynomial. Furthermore **A**_{q}‘s eigenvalues and eigenvectors define the lengths of the ellipse’s principal axes and their inclination to the axes of our chosen ECS. The matrix coefficients in addition allow us to determine the coordinates of the points with extremal y-values on an ellipse. We will use these results later in the present post.

# Objectives of this post: Shearing of a centered, rotated ellipse

In this post I want to show that shearing a given centered, but rotated original ellipse **E**_{O} results in another ellipse **E**_{S} with a different inclination angle and different sizes of the principal axes.

In addition we will derive the relations of the shearing parameter λ_{S} with the coefficients of the symmetric matrix \(\pmb{\operatorname{A}}_q^S \) that defines **E**_{S}. I also provide formulas for the dependence of **E**_{S}‘s geometrical properties on the shear parameter λ_{S}.

There are two basic prerequisites:

- We must show that the application of a shear transformation to the variables of the quadratic form which describes an ellipse
**E**_{O}results in another proper quadratic form and a related matrix \(\pmb{\operatorname{A}}_q^S \). - The coefficients of the resulting quadratic form and of \(\pmb{\operatorname{A}}_q^S \) must fulfill a mathematical criterion for an ellipse.

We expect point 1 to be valid because a shear operation is just a linear operation.

To get some exercise we approach our goals by first looking at the simple case of shearing an *axis-parallel* ellipse before extending our considerations to general ellipses with an inclination angle against the coordinate axes of our chosen ECS.