Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, May 12, 2004
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

Controlling Digital Cloth

Ari Rapkin
Industrial Light + Magic
About the talk:

Over the last few years, cloth simulation has become a major tool for creating believable visual effects. Computer generated characters wear complex clothing, sports arenas are draped with banners and flags, and non-cloth items like hair, wings, and plastic bags can be simulated with the same numerical methods. The physics behind these simulations is improving every year, and it's possible to achieve superb fidelity. However, when making a film, it's not enough to get the physics right. Sometimes getting the physics right is the wrong thing entirely! The artists need to be able to override the physics, making the cloth behave as needed to convey the story they're trying to tell. A key feature of ILM's cloth simulation system is the user's ability to balance physical correctness with artistic and directorial control.

I'll present examples of digital cloth from several recent films, and provide a closer look at some of the ways ILM's visual effects artists control simulated cloth to achieve their desired results.

About the speaker:

Ari Rapkin began working at Industrial Light + Magic in 1998 as a member of the Production Software team, providing support and development for a variety of graphics software systems. In 2000, she joined the Software R&D department's simulation group. Her contributions to ILM's software include fluid & smoke simulation for films including Pearl Harbor and The Mummy Returns. Since early 2002, she has been the head of the cloth simulation project, working on cloth simulation for films such as Jurassic Park III, Star Wars: Episodes II and III, Hulk, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Van Helsing.

Ari was born in Los Angeles, but soon moved to Texas and then to Wilmington, Delaware. She attended The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she received a B.A. in mathematics. Her graduate education began with a program in gifted education at the University of Virginia, where she also earned a master's degree in computer science. Later she went on to obtain an M.S. in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, graduating in 1997. While in graduate school, she was a math instructor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and a research intern at Xerox PARC and DEC SRC.

Exploring Further:

The Stanford Joint Applied Math and Probability Seminar for this week features L. Mahadevan from Harvard University speaking on a related topic: Draping, Wrinkling and Crumpling.

Contact information:

Ari Rapkin