Smash bang wallop crunch

2019-03-07 14:15:01

By Catherine Zandonella in Los Angeles CREATING mayhem and destruction is not as simple as you might think for computer animators and special effects technicians. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a more realistic model of how things smash. James O’Brien, a graduate student in computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, studied the complex laws governing smashed objects and devised a program that takes into account the stress applied to an object, figures out where cracks will form, and determines the direction in which they will spread. The three-dimensional objects that are smashed up in computers are composed of four-sided blocks, or tetrahedra. In other methods, cracks form only at junctions between these shapes, which gives shattered objects a “blocky” look. O’Brien’s method lets cracks spread not only between blocks, but also within each block, producing much more realistic shards and edges. The model is simple to implement, says O’Brien. But because it takes time to create the images,