CIS 563: Physically Based Animation
University of Pennsylvania
         Spring 2012
Home › Course Information

2012 Spring Website

To visit the current semester's site please visit here : Spring 2013

Course Objective

Physically based simulation techniques have revolutionized special effects in film and video games, creating extremely realistic effects while allowing unprecedented artistic control. This course explores physically based simulation methods for computer animation of a wide variety of phenomena and materials including rigid and deformable solids, cloth, liquids, virtual characters, and explosions. Students will be introduced to numerical methods, physical models, data structures, and theoretical results which form the building blocks of these methods. To gain hands-on experience, students will implement basic simulators for several phenomena. The course is appropriate for both upper level undergraduate and graduate students.

Time: Monday + Wednesday : 1:30pm-3:00pm
Location: Moore 212

See the best student work from last semester (Spring 2011): Student Highlights + Movie Day Submissions


Joseph Kider (kiderj _at_
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 3-5pm
  • Office Location: Moore 108 - HMS Lab

Teaching Assitants / Graders

Lead TA: Tiantian Liu (cis563 _at_
  • Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 3-4pm
  • Office Location: Moore 100
TA: Peter Kutz (cis563 _at_
  • Office Hours: TBA
  • Office Location: Moore 100
Grader: TBA (cis563 _at_
  • Office Hours: TBA
  • Office Location: Moore 100

Course Mechanics

In CIS 563 you will be asked to complete three programming homework assignments, and a larger programming class project. In each assignment, the student will program an interactive computer graphics simulation, related to the material covered in class. Tentative topics are a mass-spring system simulation, a smoke simulation, and a dynamic simulation of rigid bodies. Students will be able to select their individual topic for the final project. All the assignments must be done individually. You may work in groups for the final project. Students should have a good knowledge of object oriented programming and basic familiarity with linear algebra, caculus, and physics. Some background in computer graphics is helpful. Suggested prerequisite courses include: CIS277, CIS460/560, and MATH240. At the conclusion of spring term, a poster session or short presentation will be held, with prizes awarded to outstanding projects.


Grading will be based on a number of programming assignments and participation.
Detailed allocations are tentatively as follows:

- Programming Projects(60%)
  • Simulating a Jello Cube (20%)
  • Smoke Simulation (20%)
  • Rigid Body Simulation (20%)

  • - Final project of your choice (36%)
  • Mid-review report and presentation 10%
  • Final project presentation 20% (quality of your presentation and results on Wednesday, April 27)
  • Final report 10% (quality of the report)
  • Project outcome 60% (technical achievement of the project)

  • - Class Participation (4%)

    Topics to be Covered

    • Particle Systems
    • Deformable Solids & Fracture
    • Cloth & Thin Shells
    • Smoke & Explosions
    • Liquids
    • Rigid Bodies
    • Simulated characters in games
    • Hair
    • Finite Element Methods
    • Finite Difference Methods
    • Collision Detection & Response
    • Stability and Implicit Integration
    • Level Set Methods
    • Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics
    • Model Reduction Techniques
    • Simulation Control


    There is no required text book for this class. Lecture notes will be provided for each class. Also supplemental reading material is linked from the syllabus. The "Resource" link also has helpful material for you.


    Jan 31, 2011 by Joe Kider

    Homework 1 was handed out, due in 2 weeks! Best of luck.

    Jan 6, 2011 by Joe Kider

    Welcome to CIS 563 : Physically Based Animation. First class will be held Jan 12, 2011. Hope to see you there! We just updated the website and various resources for Spring 2011.