------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------- CIS 563 Web Page

CIS 563: Physically Based Animation (Spring 2009)

Time:  MW 1:30-3pm
Towne 309

  Alla Safonova

Email: alla at cis.upenn.edu
Office: Levine 303
Office Hours: Tuesday from 4-5pm or by appointment (send me email)


TA: Benjamin Sunshine-Hill

Email: bsunshin@seas.upenn.edu
Office Hours: TW from 12-1pm, in Moore 100



Detailed Course Syllabus (Will change, check regularly)



New Announcements:

We will have Final Project presentations this Thursday, May 7 at 2pm (instructions are here).

Old Announcements:

You have 5 late days that you can use towards all of your assignments.

More motion capture data for assignment #1 can be found here: http://mocap.cs.cmu.edu/

ASF/AMC format description: http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~kiranb/animation/StartupCodeDescription.htm

HW2 Theoretical Questions have been posted on homework website. Here is a direct link: wh2_questions

Final Project Presentations will be on Thursday, May 7 at 2pm (it will take from 2 to 2.5 hours)

Professor Katherine Kuchenbecker will give introduction to haptics in our class on Monday, March 2

Course Syllabus Changed I moved few topics forward in order for you to have more material to start thinking about a topic for the final project

We will have a demo and explanation of how to use our new Vicon Motion Capture system on Monday, March 16 (in the lab)

We will have project2 presentations this Wednesday at regular class time in Levine 307 (notice location change).

Come a bit early if you can. Pizza will be there at 1:15pm. We will start promptly at 1:30.

Submit your presentation to Ben by midnight on Tuesday (instructions are here).

We will have Final Project Proposal presentations this Wednesday.

Submit your presentation to blackboard by Wednesday at 9am (instructions are here).


Course Description
This course introduces students to common physically based simulation techniques for animation of fluids and gases, rigid and deformable solids, cloth, explosions, fire, smoke, virtual characters, and other systems. Physically based simulation techniques allow for creation of extremely realistic special effect for movies, video games and surgical simulation systems. We will learn state of the art techniques that are commonly used in current special effect and animation studios and in video game community. To gain hands-on experience, students implement basic simulators for several systems. The course is appropriate for both upper level undergraduate and graduate students.


Students should have a good knowledge of object oriented programming and basic familiarity with linear algebra and physics. Some background in computer graphics is helpful.

List of Topics

  • Simulating Deformable Objects
    • Particle Systems
    • Mass spring systems
    • Deformable Solids & Fracture
    • Cloth
    • Explosions and Fire
    • Smoke 
    • Fluids
    • Deformable active characters
  • Simulating Rigid bodies
    • Rigid bodies dynamics
    • Collision detection and handling
    • Controlling rigid bodies simulation
  • Simulating Articulated Bodies
    • Simulated characters in games
    • Optimization for character animation
    • Data driven approaches
    • Dynamic Response for Games
  • Numerical Methods that will be covered

o    Finite Element Methods

o    Finite Difference Methods

o    Collision Detection & Response

o    Stability and Implicit Integration

o    Level Set Methods

o    Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

o    Model Reduction Techniques

o    Simulation Control

Grading will be based on a number of programming assignments.

Very preliminary assignment list (can change):

Mass-Spring Particle System Simulation (15%)

Fluid or Smoke Simulation (25%)

Rigid body simulation (25%)

Final project of your choice (35%)

There is no required text book for this class. Lecture notes will be provided for each class. Also supplemental reading material is linked from the syllabus.

Good resources:
Physically Based Deformable Models in Computer Graphics by Andrew Nealen, Mathias Muller, Richard Keiser, Eddy Boxerman and Mark Carlson  (Nice survey paper of the field)
Physically Based Modeling (The 2001 course notes by Baraff and Witkin)
Fluid simulation (SIGGRAPH 07 course notes on by Bridson et. al.)
Computer Animation Information Page (Rick Parent's page with large number of links)
Hecker Articles(Rigid body dynamics)

Useful Books (not required):

Fluid Simulation for Computer Graphics (Robert Bridson, A K Peters, 2008)

Physics Based Animation (Book by Erleben, Sporring, Henriksen, Dohlmann)

Detailed Course Syllabus From Spring 2008 is available here
Website for Spring 2008 class is here