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Dynamic Cloud Simulation Using Cellular Automata and Texture Splatting

Eric Upchurch and Sudhansu Semwal

The 2010 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC 10)
Ottawa, Canada, July 11-14, 2010


Visually convincing simulation of natural environments and natural phenomena has been a goal of computer graphics for decades, and has broad applications in both modeling environments and entertainment venues. Natural phenomena have a wide scope, ranging from water surfaces, fire, smoke, and clouds, to individual flora and forests of trees. Clouds in particular represent a challenge for modelers, since their formation, extinction, and movement are amorphous and dynamic in nature. This paper outlines a computationally inexpensive, real-time method for the simulation of clouds using cellular automata. The base model, as put forth by Dobashi et al. is extended to incorporate cloud textures sampled from actual images of cloud systems. The simulation model is also extended with an enhanced wind model for more organic cloud movement. Furthermore, a graphical user interface for manipulating simulation and cloud model rendering parameter values is provided, so that users may interactively control the simulation and its rendered results.

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