Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Way To Make Realistic Shadows For Computer Images, Animation

Date:
June 23, 2003
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Scientists and computer gamers alike could benefit from a new method for creating soft, realistic shadows in computer-generated images.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Scientists and computer gamers alike could benefit from a new method for creating soft, realistic shadows in computer-generated images.

Related Articles


Engineers at Ohio State University have created computer algorithms that model how light passes through translucent three-dimensional objects or fluids such as water, clouds, fire, and smoke. The result: shadows that begin to approach the realism of Hollywood animation, but don't require as much computer memory to create.

Caixia Zhang, now a doctoral student at Ohio State, began this project for her master's thesis. She and Roger Crawfis, professor of computer and information science, described the work in the current issue of the journal IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics.

The new software algorithms are unique because they generate soft shadows for 3D objects, and take into account factors such as how light fades as it passes through a translucent object, Zhang said.

The engineers tested the algorithms by creating shadows for objects of varying complexity, including a cloud, a group of robots, and a bonsai tree.

Crawfis characterized Zhang's work as a bridge between low-level animation software and the high-end products used by Hollywood to create animated movies.

"The ultimate goal is super-accurate, super-fast, low-memory image rendering," he said. "This work is a step in that direction."

"Hollywood now spends an hour per frame, for animation that uses 30 frames a second," he continued. But moviemakers could use the Ohio State algorithms to make more realistic mock-ups as they're developing an animation.

Other possible applications include software that simulates surgical procedures or helps scientists visualize complex data.

In climate modeling, for instance, the algorithms could model how much solar radiation reaches the surface of the Earth. Such a model would have to include air temperature, wind velocity, and the moisture density of clouds in the atmosphere.

"The challenge is to display the data in a way that someone can get the information they need," Zhang said.

To make the new algorithms, she used a common volume-rendering method called splatting. Some methods trace a viewer's assumed line of sight to an object to create an image. Splatting, on the other hand, assumes that the object will be projected against a two-dimensional surface such as a TV or movie screen, so the calculations can be done as if for a 2D object.

The name "splatting" comes from software developers likening the method to throwing snowballs against a board, Zhang said. The 3D object is broken up into volume elements, or "voxels", and a voxel's 2D footprint is called a "splat."

"The advantage of splatting is that you can keep track of relevant voxels, and it's less expensive in terms of data storage," she said.

With the current advancements being made in graphics cards and related computer hardware, Crawfis feels that consumers would soon be able to enjoy computer games that use the new algorithms on their home PC.

The University of Erlangen-Nuremberg supplied the data for the bonsai tree used in this study, and funding came from a National Science Foundation CAREER award.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "New Way To Make Realistic Shadows For Computer Images, Animation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030623083139.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2003, June 23). New Way To Make Realistic Shadows For Computer Images, Animation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030623083139.htm
Ohio State University. "New Way To Make Realistic Shadows For Computer Images, Animation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030623083139.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins