No Bones, Just MusclesCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 9, 2012 02:48PM
To create a 3D animation on a computer, an animator manipulates the joints in a mesh's skeleton. Careful manipulation of these joints creates the effect of motion, but not everything is conducive to having a skeleton. Worms, starfish, and the human tongue are soft bodies that do not have a skeleton but instead move based on muscles. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed algorithms to enable the animation of soft bodies by just telling the software where the body should go.
To animate a soft body this way first the user needs to select the muscles they want the body to have, then the kind of movement it should use. After that, it just takes a few clicks to tell the body where to go, and the algorithms figure out the rest, including the type of contact it has to the ground. A rigid body does not need to change the size of its feet to stay balanced but soft bodies have no unchanging contact points to rely on.
The researchers hope this technology can be used to make modern animation technology more life-like and faster to animate. It also could enable amateurs to more easily create animations of their own.