Welcome to the Computer Animation Group at RWTH Aachen University!

The research of the Computer Animation Group focuses on the physically-based simulation of rigid bodies, deformable solids and fluids in interactive virtual reality applications and computer animation, and on related topics such as GPGPU and real-time visualization. The main application areas include virtual prototyping, medical simulation, computer games and special effects in movies.

Open PhD positions

Currently, we are seeking PhD candidates with a strong interest in physically-based simulation in the field of computer graphics.

Candidates should send their application containing a letter of motivation, CV, master and bachelor transcripts and further relevant certificates via email in pdf format to Prof. Dr. Jan Bender.

Oct. 26, 2017

Best Paper Award

Our paper "A Micropolar Material Model for Turbulent SPH Fluids" got the best paper award at the ACM SIGGRAPH / EUROGRAPHICS Symposium on Computer Animation.

Aug. 15, 2017

SPlisHSPlasH now available on Github!

SPlisHSPlasH is an open-source library for the physically-based simulation of fluids. The simulation in this library is based on the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method which is a popular meshless Lagrangian approach to simulate complex fluid effects. Check it out here!

Nov. 17, 2016

CompactNSearch now available on Github!

We published an open source implementation of our fixed radius neighborhood search for point clouds. The algorithm is written in C++, parallelized and features reordering of the points according to a space-filling Z curve. The implementation is particularly useful for particle based fluid simulations following the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) approach. Check it out here!

Nov. 17, 2016

Recent Publications

A Physically Consistent Implicit Viscosity Solver for SPH Fluids

Computer Graphics Forum (Eurographics)

In this paper, we present a novel physically consistent implicit solver for the simulation of highly viscous fluids using the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) formalism. Our method is the result of a theoretical and practical in-depth analysis of the most recent implicit SPH solvers for viscous materials. Based on our findings, we developed a list of requirements that are vital to produce a realistic motion of a viscous fluid. These essential requirements include momentum conservation, a physically meaningful behavior under temporal and spatial refinement, the absence of ghost forces induced by spurious viscosities and the ability to reproduce complex physical effects that can be observed in nature. On the basis of several theoretical analyses, quantitative academic comparisons and complex visual experiments we show that none of the recent approaches is able to satisfy all requirements. In contrast, our proposed method meets all demands and therefore produces realistic animations in highly complex scenarios. We demonstrate that our solver outperforms former approaches in terms of physical accuracy and memory consumption while it is comparable in terms of computational performance. In addition to the implicit viscosity solver, we present a method to simulate melting objects. Therefore, we generalize the viscosity model to a spatially varying viscosity field and provide an SPH discretization of the heat equation.


Direct Position-Based Solver for Stiff Rods

Computer Graphics Forum

In this paper, we present a novel direct solver for the efficient simulation of stiff, inextensible elastic rods within the Position-Based Dynamics (PBD) framework. It is based on the XPBD algorithm, which extends PBD to simulate elastic objects with physically meaningful material parameters. XPBD approximates an implicit Euler integration and solves the system of non-linear equations using a non-linear Gauss-Seidel solver. However, this solver requires many iterations to converge for complex models and if convergence is not reached, the material becomes too soft. In contrast we use Newton iterations in combination with our direct solver to solve the non-linear equations which significantly improves convergence by solving all constraints of an acyclic structure (tree), simultaneously. Our solver only requires a few Newton iterations to achieve high stiffness and inextensibility. We model inextensible rods and trees using rigid segments connected by constraints. Bending and twisting constraints are derived from the well-established Cosserat model. The high performance of our solver is demonstrated in highly realistic simulations of rods consisting of multiple ten-thousand segments. In summary, our method allows the efficient simulation of stiff rods in the Position-Based Dynamics framework with a speedup of two orders of magnitude compared to the original XPBD approach.


Robust eXtended Finite Elements for Complex Cutting of Deformables

ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2017)

In this paper we present a robust remeshing-free cutting algorithm on the basis of the eXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM) and fully implicit time integration. One of the most crucial points of the XFEM is that integrals over discontinuous polynomials have to be computed on subdomains of the polyhedral elements. Most existing approaches construct a cut-aligned auxiliary mesh for integration. In contrast, we propose a cutting algorithm that includes the construction of specialized quadrature rules for each dissected element without the requirement to explicitly represent the arising subdomains. Moreover, we solve the problem of ill-conditioned or even numerically singular solver matrices during time integration using a novel algorithm that constrains non-contributing degrees of freedom (DOFs) and introduce a preconditioner that efficiently reuses the constructed quadrature weights. Our method is particularly suitable for fine structural cutting as it decouples the added number of DOFs from the cut's geometry and correctly preserves geometry and physical properties by accurate integration. Due to the implicit time integration these fine features can still be simulated robustly using large time steps. As opposed to this, the vast majority of existing approaches either use remeshing or element duplication. Remeshing based methods are able to correctly preserve physical quantities but strongly couple cut geometry and mesh resolution leading to an unnecessary large number of additional DOFs. Element duplication based approaches keep the number of additional DOFs small but fail at correct conservation of mass and stiffness properties. We verify consistency and robustness of our approach on simple and reproducible academic examples while stability and applicability are demonstrated in large scenarios with complex and fine structural cutting.

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