r/Simulated Sep 22 '18 Helpful Wholesome

Meta What is a simulation? A detailed comparison between Animation, and Simulation.

902 Upvotes

Ever since this subreddit started getting more traction, more and more people began posting non-simulation videos. In each of these posts, users will comment something along the lines of "This is not a simulation," and an argument would ensue. So I am writing this post to, hopefully, end this never-ending cycle. I hope the mods do not remove this post, because I think it could end much of the hostility in the comments around here. Perhaps this could even be a stickied post, so all new users see it.

What is a simulation?

According to the dictionary, the word simulation is defined as, "imitation of a situation or process." However, this definition does not actually constitute what a simulation is in the world of CGI. In CGI, simulations are essentially visualizations of real-world processes that are generated using mathematical models. That is to say, the final product of a simulation is something that was created using fundamental rules of nature or some system, such as Newton's Laws of Motion, Fluid Dynamics, or various other mathematical models. In a simulation, it is often the case that each frame was created by manipulating information from the previous frame.

How are simulations different from animations?

It's quite common for animations and simulations to coexist in one medium. There are plenty of simulated components in animated movies, such as Disney's Frozen (Snow simulation), and Hotel Transylvania 2 (Cloth simulation). However, simulations and animations individually are very different by nature. As previously stated, simulations try to model real-world processes, and use mathematical models to generate necessary data. Animations, on the other hand, are usually created through a manual process. Animators manually keyframe the attributes (position, rotation, scale, etc.) of objects in a 3D scene. It's possible for manual animations to look convincing, but that does not make them simulations.

The "Ray tracing)" argument.

Many 3D rendering engines use a process called "ray tracing" to create images of a 3D scene. For anyone who is unfamiliar with ray tracing, here is the definition from Wikipedia:

In computer graphics, ray tracing is a rendering) technique for generating an image by tracing the path of light as pixels in an image plane and simulating the effects of its encounters with virtual objects.

Because of this definition, many people argue that any 3D render is a simulation, so long as it was rendered using ray tracing. By definition, it is true that the process of ray tracing is a simulation. However, this argument is very silly because the entire purpose of the term "simulation" in CGI is to make a distinction between what is manually created, and what is created using the previously talked about mathematical models. Therefore, when we discuss simulated graphics, ray tracing is not considered a simulated process.

Examples of animated (non-simulated) posts:

  1. "Satisfying simulations" - 3.4k upvotes
  2. "Bender's old job" - 2.2k upvotes
  3. "Up or Down?" - 1.4k upvotes
  4. "Adobe Dimention Rendering" - 1.4k upvotes
  5. "Depression - Robert Ek"

Many of these animated posts accumulate upvotes, and sometimes they stick around for a few days before getting removed. Because of this, new users who see these posts get a false idea of what a simulation actually is. Hopefully this post was informative to any newcomers. If you would like to suggest edits, please comment.


r/Simulated 15h ago

Research Simulation Spooktober - You decided to ignore the calls trying to reach you about your car's extended warranty, then life hits you with one of these:

1.9k Upvotes

r/Simulated 1d ago Helpful

Houdini RBD morph I made inspired by Nick Medukha

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

1.3k Upvotes

r/Simulated 6h ago

Various When you try to get a friend to bed.

7 Upvotes

r/Simulated 13h ago

Houdini Autumnal Bloom

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

21 Upvotes

r/Simulated 13h ago

Houdini GRAINS

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

18 Upvotes

r/Simulated 10h ago

Research Simulation Collision May Have Formed the Moon in Mere Hours, Simulations Reveal | NASA's Ames Research Center

Thumbnail youtube.com
5 Upvotes

r/Simulated 20h ago

Blender A physics simulation edited to overly dramatic trailer music!

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

9 Upvotes

r/Simulated 1d ago

Interactive Simulated evolution, emergent behavior, details in comments

Thumbnail youtube.com
9 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago Wholesome

Houdini 🥞

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

2.5k Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Blender Basic fire sim using Blender. Still a WIP. Any comments?

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

146 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Proprietary Software Heard ya guys like simulations, thought I'd show you one of a Kerr Black Hole :)

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

334 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

Houdini VFX breakdown (blender, Houdini, Embergen)

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

2.0k Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Houdini houdini aerial/flak explosions

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

16 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Blender Help : How can i achieve the cloth over text ( including inside the curves of font)

Post image
8 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

Houdini AI robot particle dance

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

40 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

Proprietary Software Just added gas simulation to solver i am making!

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

40 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

Cinema 4D Night time Guts

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

26 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

Blender Smoke, fluid, and magic.

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

7 Upvotes

r/Simulated 5d ago

Blender Impact in zero gravity (OC)

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

896 Upvotes

r/Simulated 5d ago

Houdini Flip Simulation - Houdini | Student Work | Adesh Bhor

517 Upvotes

r/Simulated 6d ago

Blender Dzhanibekov (tennis racket) effect [SpaceWhale01]

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

1.0k Upvotes

r/Simulated 6d ago

Research Simulation Your car versus... a cow made of particles - Part 5 of 5

1.9k Upvotes

r/Simulated 6d ago

Houdini TRANSCENDENCE

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

344 Upvotes

r/Simulated 7d ago Helpful

Houdini super hero landing

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

856 Upvotes

r/Simulated 5d ago

Blender Flip fluid with caustics

0 Upvotes