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Science and Technology Tips From the National Science Foundation
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The National Science Foundation today released the following science and technology tips.
SWELL SOFTWARE CRAFTS ARTIFICIAL CLOUDS IN REAL-TIME
For artists creating computer-animated special effects in films or games, artificial clouds present a real challenge. Now, a student at Purdue University has helped develop lightning-quick software that makes it easy for an artist to craft rolling thunderheads or delicate drifting wisps.
As an undergraduate research assistant working with professor David Ebert, director of the Purdue University Rendering and Perceptualization Lab (PURPL), and professor Charles Hansen of the University of Utah, Joshua Schpok developed software called Swell. Swell puts an artist-friendly interface on cloud-rendering software refined by Ebert over the past decade and takes advantage of modern computer graphics hardware to render complex clouds instantly.
"Clouds, fire, smoke and water are difficult to model because you need to capture the full 3-D distribution of the material," Ebert said. "Trying to simulate the complexity of nature is one of the challenges of computer graphics." Software for rendering natural phenomena typically has to make …