I have a method to plot a rectangular region and then plot the lattice transformation by some complex function $f[z]$.

latticeTransform[f_: Function, xrange_: Range, yrange_: Range] :=
  (curve = Graphics[BezierCurve[RandomPoint[
       Rectangle[{xrange[[2]], yrange[[2]]}, {xrange[[3]],yrange[[3]]}], 6]]];
   dom = Show[{ParametricPlot[{x, y}, xrange, yrange, 
       AspectRatio -> 1], curve}]; 
   image = ParametricPlot[{Re[f[z]], Im[f[z]]} /. z -> x + I*y, xrange, 
     yrange, PlotRange -> All];
   GraphicsGrid[{{dom, image}}, ImageSize -> Large]);

I added the Bézier curve to visualize how a random curve will get transformed in the output, but I'm not entirely sure how to map it onto the image. I thought about storing the random points I generated, transforming them with $f[z]$, and then calling BezierCurve[] on the points again, but I believe this wouldn't be a true mapping as Bézier will recalculate and find a new curve.

Is this correct? If so, how would I draw the curve transformed by $f[z]$?

Edit: My only other thought is to get a list of points {x, y} on the Bézier curve and generate a new list by f[x + I y], but again I'm unsure of how to do this and it has a tradeoff of accuracy vs. computation time.

  • $\begingroup$ A Bézier curve after an arbitrary complex transformation will of course not necessarily be a Bézier curve anymore. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 12:49
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Counter example : A exact circle can't be represented with a Bezier curve, though it is the transformation of a straight line by a complex function. $\endgroup$
    – andre314
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M. thanks, so I can't just call Bezier curve again. But how would I transform the curve by the function? I'm more interested in mapping the curve than the semantics of a Bezier. $\endgroup$
    – Dando18
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


You'll need to work a bit harder to demonstrate the complex transformation of a Bézier curve; in particular, you need to express the curve explicitly in terms of the Bernstein basis before transforming. Here's an example:

BlockRandom[SeedRandom["bezier"]; (* for reproducibility *)
 With[{f = Function[x, ArcTan[x]], xrange = {-5, 5}, yrange = {-4, 4}},

      (* generate random Bézier curve explicitly *)
      pts = RescalingTransform[{{0, 1}, {0, 1}}, {xrange, yrange}] @ RandomReal[1, {6, 2}];
      n = Length[pts] - 1;
      {bf[t_], bg[t_]} = BernsteinBasis[n, Range[0, n], t].pts;

      GraphicsRow[{Show[ParametricPlot[{x, y}, Prepend[xrange, x] // Evaluate, 
                                       Prepend[yrange, y] // Evaluate,
                                       AspectRatio -> Automatic, Mesh -> True,
                                       PlotStyle -> None], 
                        ParametricPlot[{bf[t], bg[t]}, {t, 0, 1}]], 
                   Show[ParametricPlot[ReIm[f[x + I y]], Prepend[xrange, x] // Evaluate,
                                       Prepend[yrange, y] // Evaluate, 
                                       AspectRatio -> Automatic, Mesh -> True,
                                       PlotStyle -> None], 
                        ParametricPlot[ReIm[f[bf[t] + I bg[t]]], {t, 0, 1}]]}]]]

mesh and Bézier curve, pre- and post-transformation

Turning the entire business into a suitable Manipulate[] is left as an exercise for the interested reader.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I'll have to read up on the Bernstein basis. Would you happen to have a recommendation on a cleaner way to generate a random curve and transform it? maybe without Béziers? $\endgroup$
    – Dando18
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 13:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your "and transform it" is the source of the complication in this case. Some math to ponder: Bézier curves (and more generally B-spline curves) only remain as such under an affine transformation, and such transformations can be done easily by transforming only the control points instead of the entire curve. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 13:19

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