I present a method for graphically modeling a wide range of cracking phenomena produced naturally in mud, rock and wood, and also in man-made materials such as ceramic glaze and glass. In addition to creating visually plausible crack patterns, my approach affords the user control to tailor the appearance of the cracks. To satisfy these goals, I have developed a novel algorithm that obtains the realism of a physically correct simulation but maintains the controllability of a heuristic based method. With this combination, I can create a variety of crack patterns, ranging from regular patterns formed in rock to irregular patterns created in mud or ceramic glaze, by using the same system.

To model these phenomena, I build upon existing physically based methods but incorporate heuristics for controllability. My algorithm generates cracks from a stress field defined heuristically over a triangle discretization of the surface. The simulation then produces cracks by evolving this field over time. The user can control the characteristics and appearance of the cracks through a set of simple parameters. By changing these parameters, I have generated examples similar to a variety of crack patterns found in the real world. I assess the realism of several results by comparison with photographs of real-world examples. Because a physically based approach is temporally coherent, I am also able to generate animations of surface cracking similar to time-lapse photography. To further demonstrate the flexibility of my approach, I have created various artistically driven examples.




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