Proceedings: GI 1998

Animating Sand, Mud, and Snow

Robert Sumner, James O'Brien, Jessica Hodgins

Proceedings of Graphics Interface '98: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 18 - 20 June 1998, 125-132

DOI 10.20380/GI1998.16

  • BibTeX

     title = {Animating Sand, Mud, and Snow},
     author = {Robert Sumner and James O'Brien and Jessica Hodgins},
     booktitle ={Proceedings of the Graphics Interface 1998 Conference, June 18-20, 1998, Vancouver, BC, Canada},
     year = {1998},
     month = {June},
     pages = {125--132},
     url = {}


Computer animations often lack the subtle environmental changes that should occur due to the actions of the characters. Squealing car tires usually leave no skid marks, airplanes rarely leave jet trails in the sky, and most runners leave no footprints. In this paper, we describe a simulation model of ground surfaces that can be deformed by the impact of rigid body models of animated characters. To demonstrate the algorithms, we show footprints made by a runner in sand, mud, and snow as well as bicycle tire tracks, a bicycle crash, and a falling runner. The shapes of the footprints in the three surfaces are quite different, but the effects were controlled through only five essentially independent parameters. To assess the realism of the resulting motion, we compare the simulated footprints to video footage of human footprints in sand.