How to Use Trig Functions to Make a Picture

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Trigonometric functions are functions that from specific line patterns when graphed. Trigonometric functions include sine, cosine, tangent, secant and cotangent. Once you master trigonometric functions you can use them to form pictures or replicate naturally occurring shapes. The key is learning to use each equation and mastering the techniques for manipulating the lines.

Determine which trigonometric function will work best for the design you are creating. For vertical wavy lines, use tangent. Horizontal wavy lines are created by sine and cosign. Secant lines are straight and intersect to form limits.

Adjust the vertical stretch of your lines by placing a fraction over one on the “y” side of your equation.

Adjust the vertical translation of the lines by adding or subtracting from “y”.

Adjust the horizontal stretch of the lines by multiplying by the trig function.

Adjust the horizontal translation of the lines by adding or subtracting from “x”.