Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Purdue Software Promises Better Animation For Movies, Games

Date:
July 17, 2003
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
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.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - 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.

Related Articles


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 at http://expert.ics.purdue.edu/~schpokj/research/purpl/clouds/index.html.

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.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Purdue Software Promises Better Animation For Movies, Games." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030717090257.htm>.
Purdue University. (2003, July 17). Purdue Software Promises Better Animation For Movies, Games. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030717090257.htm
Purdue University. "Purdue Software Promises Better Animation For Movies, Games." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030717090257.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Nintendo released new "Super Smash Bros." Friday, and it's getting great reviews. Could this mean a comeback for the gaming company? Video provided by Newsy
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