r/Simulated Sep 22 '18 Wholesome Helpful

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

938 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 3h ago

Blender did a wetmap simulation, materials got a bit glitchy

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36 Upvotes

r/Simulated 12h ago

Houdini How to make a Flamethrower in Houdini

171 Upvotes

r/Simulated 19h ago

Houdini Axiom v3 Explosion - Houdini - Karma XPU - After effects - Project files in comment

579 Upvotes

r/Simulated 1d ago

Blender Next Water dance - by FX mania

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712 Upvotes

r/Simulated 1d ago

Houdini Melting acid face

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760 Upvotes

r/Simulated 14h ago

Cinema 4D Deformer Simulation - Cinema 4d Tutorial

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2 Upvotes

r/Simulated 1d ago

Blender Mixing colors with Blender & Flip fluids

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8 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Cinema 4D Wave Of The Water

2.1k Upvotes

r/Simulated 18h ago

Question Digital Twin user experience research

0 Upvotes

Our research team from a world leading brand ( will disclose to candidates) is searching for industrial machinery manufacturing experts who have experience using digital twin technology tools. We are conducting a 45-minute Zoom interview to gather valuable insights on the current needs and challenges in this field.

We are looking for individuals with senior roles such as Head of Business Development, Product Manager, or Head of Product, who are based in the USA and have worked for companies with revenues exceeding $300 million and/or with individual machine costs of $200K or higher.

By participating in this research, you will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the future of digital twin technology and help address current challenges in the industry. Your expertise and insights are crucial in creating better solutions for the industry.

As a gesture of appreciation, all eligible participants will receive a $100 Amazon gift card. Don't miss this chance to share your knowledge and shape the future of the industry.

for more information, please contact me at [sashaz@modelzdesign.com](mailto:sashaz@modelzdesign.com)


r/Simulated 1d ago

Houdini [oc] Houdini | Flip Attraction | Karma XPU | Material X | Grid Markets

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18 Upvotes

r/Simulated 1d ago

Blender Dynamic Squashy Pillow Animation - Blender Tutorial

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3 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Maya Airscrew Racing - Snow Cannon - 3d Modeling/Texturing/Animation, by Artforge, 2023

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139 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Houdini [oc] Houdini | RBD Attraction | Karma XPU

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386 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Blender Colorful Molecular Sim #4

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62 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago Masterpiece

Cinema 4D cube_01

2.6k Upvotes

C4D simulation


r/Simulated 3d ago

Blender Colorful Molecular Sim #3

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75 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Cinema 4D Many of you asked for it. Here is another simulated Minecraft Marble Race. Let me know what you think. Everything in this video is generated, including the transition scenes and the winner scene. All I have to do is make the maps and click "run". Check it out!

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4 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Proprietary Software Space Battle with Simulated Gravity

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2 Upvotes

r/Simulated 2d ago

Interactive Hillclimb Challenge

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2 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Blender "Maybe a cup of Self-Control would be the route"

91 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

EmberGen I'm a fan

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2.6k Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Blender 2,752GB of Insane Fluid Sims That Will Destroy Your PC (but it’s worth it!)

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16 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Blender 3rd day of simulation journey

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2 Upvotes

r/Simulated 3d ago

Maya Rigid Body Simulation using Bullet Engine

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4 Upvotes

r/Simulated 4d ago

Proprietary Software Verlet integral for rigid body and Lattice Boltzmann for fluid simulation, coupled. 100 000 cells simulated real time, almost 13 million species mutated, 40 000 species alive, mostly micro-species the evolutionary algorithm is just trying out, with 1-3 alive cells

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52 Upvotes