Large and Small Eddies Matter: Animating Trees in Wind Using Coarse Fluid Simulation and Synthetic Turbulence



Animating trees in wind has long been a problem in computer graphics. Progress on this problem is important for both visual effects in films and forestry biomechanics. More generally, progress on tree motion in wind may inform future work on two-way coupling between turbulent flows and deformable objects. Synthetic turbulence added to a coarse fluid simulation produces convincing animations of turbulent flows but two-way coupling between the enriched flow and objects embedded in the flow has not been investigated. Prior work on two-way coupling between fluid and deformable models lacks a subgrid resolution turbulence model. We produce realistic animations of tree motion by including motion due to both large and small eddies using synthetic subgrid turbulence and porous proxy geometry. Synthetic turbulence at the subgrid scale is modulated using turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). Adding noise after sampling the mean flow and TKE transfers energy from small eddies directly to the tree geometry. The resulting animations include both global sheltering effects and small scale leaf and branch motion. Viewers, on average, found animations, which included both coarse fluid simulation and TKE-modulated noise to be more accurate than animations generated using coarse fluid simulation or noise alone.