We introduce the concept ofsoft objects whose shape changes in response to their surroundings. Established geometric modelling techniques exist to handle most engineering components, including ‘free form’ shapes such as car bodies and telephones. More recently, there has been a lot of interest in modelling natural pheomena such as smoke, clouds, mountains and coastlines where the shapes are described stochastically, or as fractals. None of these techniques lends itself to the description ofsoft objects. This class of objects includes fabrics, cushions, living forms, mud and water. In this paper, we describe a method of modelling such objects and discuss its uses in animation. Our method is to represent asoft object, or collection of objects, as a surface of constant value in a scalar field over three dimensions. The main technical problem is to avoid calculating the field value at too many points. We do this with a combination of data structures at some cost in internal memory usage.
Key wordsSoft objects Geometric modelling Computer animation
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