Fakultät Informatik


Deformable Bodies Simulation in Real Time


Over the last decade, interactive, yet physics-based dynamic simulation of deformable volumetric objects has received increasing attention. Applications range from surgery simulation, medical imaging and solid mechanics to computer animation and virtual sculpting. In these scenarios, physical correctness is often sacrificed for efficiency, resulting in approximate behavioural simulations or in the restriction to non-realistic material properties and small deformations.

Comparison of deformations simulating the linear Cauchy and the non-linear Green strain tensor
FE-Simulation and Rendering (including a GPU Fur shader) of the Bunny model consisting of 11 k tetrahedra at 100 fps
FE-Simulation of large and heterogeneous models (50k tetrahedra) is done with 25 timesteps/sec)

Animations (click to get movies)

CPU Multigrid Solver

In this research project, we overcome many of the limitations of previous methods by developing a generic real-time multigrid framework for constructing interactive and stable solvers for the governing equations of motion of deformable volumetric objects. This framework is open to a variety of different formulations of strain, i.e. linear, corotational and non-linear. By taking advantage of a finite element hierarchy, the proposed solvers are significantly faster than previous solution methods. Due to the linear asymptotic complexity of the multigrid solvers, with increasing problem size an ever increasing performance gain compared to previous approaches is achieved.


Compared to the standard preconditioned conjugate gradient method (dashed line) the run-time behavior of the multigrid solver (solid line) becomes increasingly better for large models (left) and stiffer materials (right)
(Timings were measured on a Intel Core 2 6600 2.4GHz processor using a single simulation thread)


The multigrid solver (solid line) can even outperform the preconditioned conjugate gradient method (dashed line) in the case of corotatational finite elements. Then, the system matrix and the multigrid solver have to be rebuilt in every simulation step. The performance gain becomes increasingly better for large models (left) and stiffer materials (right)
(Timings were measured on a Intel Core 2 Duo 6600 2.4GHz processor using a simulation thread and a matrix reassembling thread)

Real-Time deformation of a liver model consisting of 9k tetrahedra can still be done with 140 Hz
Volume visualization of von Mises stress using a town model (18k tetrahedra) under influence of wind forces can still be achieved with 60 fps
Large and global deformations can be simulated in the non-linear framework

Animations (click to get movies)

Direct volume rendering of the deformable visible human data set. The tetrahedral mesh consists of 3.8 million elements, and it is textured with a 512x512x302 3D texture map

Animation (click to get movie)

GPU Collision Detection

We have integrated an algorithm for collision detection within the simulation framework. The design goal of this algorithm was to take the scene geometry as it is represented on the GPU for rendering purpose. In particular, this make the method amenable to the handling of geometry that is arbitrarily modified or created on the GPU. Usually, a high resolution mesh rather than the simulation mesh is used to render the deformed object. However, if collision detection is performed on the simulation mesh only, rendering artifacts can occur. Using our algorithm, collision detection can be performed directly on the render mesh. Only potentially colliding triangles have to be read back to the CPU to allow for exact intersection testing and collision response.

(Self-) collision of three bunnies, each consisting of 11k tetrahedra and 32k rendersurface triangles
(Self-) collision of two horses, each consisting of 10k tetrahedra and 32k rendersurface triangles

Animations (click to get movies)

GPU Simulation

On a different avenue, we have developed and analyzed different implementations of mass-spring systems for interactive simulation of deformable objects on graphics processing units (GPUs). By exploiting features of recent graphics accelerators to simulate spring elongation and compression on the GPU, saving displaced point masses in graphics memory, and then sending these positions through the GPU again to render the deformed object, any CPU-GPU data transfer can be avoided at run-time. Because it is hard to control numerical stability of explicit mass-spring systems, the GPU implementation should only be considered in constraint applications using low resolution models. Then, the GPU system yields considerably better performance compared to the multigrid approach. On the other hand, the implicit multigrid framework enables much better control of material parameters and allows for an integration time step that is not dependent on material stiffness. Our experiments have also shown, that the implementation of an implicit mass-spring system as proposed by Baraff and Witkin on the GPU has several limitations. Neither is the GPU implementation reliable in terms of numerical accuracy nor is it more efficient than the CPU implicit multigrid approach. The reason therefore is twofold: First, limited numerical accuracy of the GPU conjugate gradient method introduces a significant error in the solution. Second, both the update of a random-sparse matrix and linear algebra operations on it can not be encoded efficiently on the GPU. In the future, we aim to extend the multigrid framework towards an implicit mass-spring system.

Real-Time mass-spring simulation of a bunny model consisting of 11k tetrahedra
Real-Time mass-spring simulation of cloth including collision detection

Animations (click to get movies)



- In collaboration with partners from industry, we have a number of thesis topics available in the area of point-based rendering, geo-localization using public data, scene fusion from different viewpoints. If you are interested, please contact  westermann(at)tum.de


- One PhD position on   Turbulence Visualization is available at the Computer Graphics & Visualization group.