Visual Computer

Animation of fracture by physical modeling

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The breaking of solid objects, like glass or pottery, poses a complex problem for computer animation. We present our methods of using physical simulation to drive the animation of breaking objects. Breakage is obtaned in a three-dimensional flexible model as the limit of elastic behavior. This article describes three principal features of the model: a breakage model, a collision-detection/response scheme, and a geometric modeling method. We use networks of point masses connected by springs to represent physical objects that can bend and break. We present effecient collision-detection algorithms, appropriate for simulating the collisions between the various pieces that interact in breakage. The capability of modeling real objects is provided by a technique of building up composite structures from simple lattice models. We applied these methods to animate the breaking of a teapot and other dishware activities in the animation Tipsy Turvy shown at Siggraph '89. Animation techniques that rely on physical simulation to control the motion of objects are discussed, and further topics for research are presented. © 1991 Springer-Verlag.


01 Jul 1991


Visual Computer