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Published on December 29, 2016 by Microsoft Research
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Many natural phenomena consist of geometric elements with dynamic motions characterized by small scale repetitions over large scale structures, such as particles, herds, threads, and sheets. Due to their ubiquity, controlling the appearance and behavior of such phenomena is important for a variety of graphics applications. However, such control is often challenging; the repetitive elements are often too numerous for manual edit, while their overall structures are often too versatile for fully automatic computation.

We propose a method that facilitates easy and intuitive controls at both scales: high-level structures through spatial-temporal output constraints (e.g. overall shape and motion of the output domain), and low-level details through small input exemplars (e.g. element arrangements and movements). These controls are suitable for manual specification, while the corresponding geometric and dynamic repetitions are suitable for automatic computation. Our system takes such user controls as inputs, and generates as outputs the corresponding repetitions satisfying the controls.

Our method, which we call dynamic element textures, aims to produce such controllable repetitions through a combination of constrained optimization (satisfying controls) and data driven computation (synthesizing details). We use spatial-temporal samples as the core representation for dynamic geometric elements. We propose analysis algorithms for decomposing small scale repetitions from large scale themes, as well as synthesis algorithms for generating outputs satisfying user controls. Our method is general, producing a range of artistic effects that previously required disparate and specialized techniques.

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