Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Purdue software promises better animation for movies, games

17.07.2003


Researchers at Purdue University are creating interactive software that artists could use to make realistic animations of cloud formations, explosions, smoke, steam, fog and other gaseous phenomena for movies and video games.


Purdue University engineering student Joshua Schpok has created a software program, called Swell, that can be used by artists to create realistic animations of cloud formations for movies and video games. The same approach also could be used to design software for creating animations of any gaseous phenomena, such as explosions, smoke, steam and fog. This image is an example of a cloud from one of the animations. (Purdue University graphic/Joshua Schpok)



The same software might also be used by meteorologists to create accurate representations of quickly developing weather conditions. Because the software is interactive, it shows results immediately, whereas conventional programs might take hours to complete such animations, said David Ebert, an associate professor in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Joshua Schpok, one of Ebert’s students, has used mathematical algorithms to design the software, which provides natural, intuitive controls.


"So an artist wouldn’t have to deal with scientific details – such as pressure and density, thermal convection, the percentage of dust and ice particles and all of these things that a meteorologist would look at – we have created a control system that an artist can actually manipulate," said Ebert, director of the Purdue University Rendering and Perceptualization Lab.

Behind the scenes, complex mathematical algorithms compute parameters needed to simulate such behavior as developing storm clouds and the effects of wind on clouds.

Although the software, which Schpok has named Swell, specifically produces animations of cloud formations, the same approach also could be used to design software for animations of any gaseous phenomena, Ebert said.

Findings about the research are detailed in a paper to be presented July 26 during the Symposium on Computer Animation in San Diego.

The amorphous nature of clouds makes them more difficult to animate than figures of people or objects. Another complicating factor is that to be realistic, the semitransparent animations must show the interior of a cloud, not just its general shape, Ebert said.

"You can sort of see through parts of the cloud and see the inside, which is useful if you want to, say, move a camera through a cloud or manipulate it rather than just look at its surface," Ebert said. "With most movie special effects, like the computer-generated female in ’Terminator 3,’ it’s an opaque object.

"Most things in computer games and computer graphics are done as hollow objects represented by approximations of a surface. With a cloud or other natural phenomena, like water or fog, you can see through the entirety of it, so you need to have the full interior detail, which is much more complex for modeling and image generation."

The animation software could soon be applied to commercial uses.

"I think it would make an excellent plug-in to some of the existing modelers," Ebert said. "They have systems to grow clouds now that do a pretty good job, but the problem is that it takes a few hours for the systems to produce the animation.

"If you are doing an animation, you tend to have to come back the next day to see what the actual sequence looks like. But with our system, you are interacting with the animation in real time, controlling it and changing how it evolves over time so you immediately see it and know what the results are.

"The fact that this is interactive means you could use it in video games, which now have very limited cloud-type effects."

Examples of the animations are available online.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The symposium in San Diego was organized by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, and the European Association for Computer Animation. The research paper was written by Schpok, Ebert, Charles Hansen, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Utah, and Joseph Simons, an undergraduate student in computer science at Purdue.

Schpok began working on the system about a year ago. The 22-year-old student from South Bend, Ind., recently graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, one each in mathematics and computer science. He will begin graduate studies next fall in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and plans to improve the visualization software.

"I am continuing to expand it in different directions," Schpok said.

Purdue engineers want to increase the types of lighting reproduced in the animations. Examples include the effects of light from a setting sun and the "bluing" of clouds caused by the atmospheric scattering of light.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: Joshua Schpok, (765) 494-5944, schpokj@purdue.edu

David S. Ebert, (765) 494-9064, ebertd@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | Purdue News
Further information:
http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html4ever/030716.Ebert.clouds.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Plant identification increased tenfold with Flora Incognita App in March
03.04.2020 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht AI finds 2D materials in the blink of an eye
02.04.2020 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Harnessing the rain for hydrovoltaics

Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.

Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...

Im Focus: A sensational discovery: Traces of rainforests in West Antarctica

90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous

An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...

Im Focus: Blocking the Iron Transport Could Stop Tuberculosis

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.

One of the most devastating pathogens that lives inside human cells is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. According to the...

Im Focus: Physicist from Hannover Develops New Photon Source for Tap-proof Communication

An international team with the participation of Prof. Dr. Michael Kues from the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover has developed a new method for generating quantum-entangled photons in a spectral range of light that was previously inaccessible. The discovery can make the encryption of satellite-based communications much more secure in the future.

A 15-member research team from the UK, Germany and Japan has developed a new method for generating and detecting quantum-entangled photons at a wavelength of...

Im Focus: Junior scientists at the University of Rostock invent a funnel for light

Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.

The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

13th AKL – International Laser Technology Congress: May 4–6, 2022 in Aachen – Laser Technology Live already this year!

02.04.2020 | Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

Most significant international Learning Analytics conference will take place – fully online

23.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Capturing 3D microstructures in real time

03.04.2020 | Materials Sciences

First SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Austria openly available

03.04.2020 | Life Sciences

Do urban fish exhibit impaired sleep? Light pollution suppresses melatonin production in European perch

03.04.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>