ABSTRACT: There is a move in computer graphics toward more correctly simulating the world being modeled in hopes of achieving more realistic and interesting still images and animation. An important component of this move is the use of dynamics, i.e. considering the world as masses acting under the influence of forces and torques. Dynamics can be useful in providing inverse kinematics, constraints, collisions, and, in general, helping produce realistic positions and rates of motion. However, it is computationally expensive, involved to program, and complex to control. This paper is a summary of some useful information necessary for simulating the motion of bodies for computer animation. Computing Systems, Vol. I. No. I. Winter 1988 63What is Dynamics and What can it buy us? Dynamics refers to the description of motion as the relationship between forces and torques acting on masses. If we treat the objects modeled in computer graphics as masses and apply forces and torques to them, we can use physics to frnd out the motion these masses should undergo. This motion should mimic the motion that would actually occur to such masses in the real world, hence dynamics simulates the motion, rather than just animating ir. Dynamics is useful for a number of reasons: it can help restrict motion to that which is realistic in the world modeled; it can automatically frnd many kinds of complex motion with minimal user input (e.g., motion due to gravity); it can automatically impose many kinds of constraints (e.g., preventing intersection of colliding bodies); it can be used to move complex bodies in natural way; etc. Dynamics is problematic as a technique for motion control in computer animation because it is (often) computationally expensive, and because controlling the motion is (often) difficult. However, it shows considerable potential for manipulating and animating bodies, and merits further investigation. This paper attempts to provide enough basic information to let anyone simulate simple objects using dynamics
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