# What do the parameters skewX and skewY mean in the transform specified by Flash's motion XML?

Flash has the ability to export animations into a format they call motion XML. Its specification is here

I am trying to write a python renderer for these animations using pyglet. I understand everything, except the "skewX" and "skewY" properties. The spec describes "skewX" as "The angle (in degrees) of shearing along the horizontal axis. If the skewX and skewY values are equal, they are replaced by the rotation attribute."

Now, when I looked up shearing, it turns out that it doesn't describe what they mean by it. Equal shearing along X and Y does not result in rotation around Z. Furthermore, I've noticed that they sometimes represent mirroring around Y as a skewY of 180 degrees. Shearing does not do this. This page is particularly helpful when it comes to shearing. It says the shear matrix for a given angle is:

So my question is this, what is the transform that they actually mean by this? What transform skews along X or Y, for values greater than 180 degrees causes mirroring and when used equally on X and Y results in rotation?

Any clues would be helpful. Also, if this question belongs somewhere else(not on math.stackexchange please let me know and I'll move it)

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You should be asking in some forum dedicated to flash... There you will find (hopefully!) information about what the drafters of the spec meant. –  Mariano Suárez-Alvarez Apr 16 '12 at 7:32

I ran into the same issue / question. I was able to find the matrices Adobe was generating by making a short script and looking at the DisplayObject.transform.matrix property of a sample shape that I applied different values for shear to through the Transformation tool.
If shearX == shearY this is equal to a rotation transform, and at shearX == 180 or shearY == 180 (degrees) it creates -1 scale transforms on Y or X respectively.