Undergraduate Honors Thesis

May 2012

UT CS honors students complete a thesis as part of their undergraduate career. My thesis, Physically Based Modeling of Interactive Plants, was done under professors Donald Fussell and (second reader) Calvin Lin. The goal was to produce a fully interactive simulation of a soft-body tree or plant which appeared realistic in its animation (the time domain), as opposed to looking convincing in a screenshot.

In retrospect, as a research work I spent too little time examining prior work and too much time hand-rolling my own physics. The results were not quantitatively measured, although everyone at the defense agreed that the animation was convincing. Despite these flaws, this thesis was selected for the department's runner-up best-undergraduate-thesis-award of 2012.

Find it here in this page of reports, or locally: [ TR-2083.pdf, 2.39 MB ].


[ demo.zip, 1.52 MB, Windows 32-bit ]
Thesis Demo Screenshot

Comes with defense presentation slides (made with deck.js).

[+] Controls:
  • Home - reset current demo
  • End / Esc - next demo
  • F11 - toggle full screen
  • F12 - toggle physics object drawing
  • J / Mouse scroll ↑ - zoom camera out
  • K / Mouse scroll ↑ - zoom camera in
  • W A S D - move untargeted camera
  • E - select next target
  • Q - select previous target
  • - move targeted emitter, move targeted tree base
  • Z - toggle targeted emitter, freeze targeted tree base
  • X - enable targeted emitter
  • C - grow targeted tree
  • Mouse L (drag) - break soft body constraint
  • Mouse R - grab soft body mass


As a proof of concept, this was later extended by Katheryn Shi onto iOS with Core Motion support, producing an app featuring a plant that wiggled in response to shaking of the device.

Wiggleplants Spritesheet