Combining physical and visual simulation—creation of the planet Jupiter for the film “2010”

By integrating physical simulation, in the form of numerical fluid dynamics, with visual simulation, in the form of particle rendering, texture mapping and traditional polygonal modeling techniques, we have achieved a uniquely realistic and organic special effects sequence of a planetary atmospheric flow. This paper examines the selection, implementation, and application of these techniques, know collectively as VORTEX, to produce the moving images of the planet Jupiter in the film "2010." Details of the generation of the flow field and the fluid dynamic algorithms employed are presented, along with issues relating to the generation and updating of the atmospheric images. We also describe the integration of these techniques with an advanced computer graphics imaging system. The VORTEX system provides a fairly general solution to a class of imaging problems involving two-dimensional fluid flows, and we remark upon its application to other projects. VORTEX, as an example of the marriage of physical simulation to visual simulation, demonstrates the importance of computer graphics to the computational sciences and of the physical sciences to the field of computer graphics.

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