We introduce the concept of soft 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 phenomenon 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 of
soft 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 a soft object, or collecion 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.
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