Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Norman I. Badler


Physical, chemical, biological, environmental, and weathering effects produce a range of 3D model, shape, and appearance changes. Time introduces an assortment of aging, weathering, and decay processes such as dust, mold, patina, and fractures. These time-varying imperfections provide the viewer with important visual cues for realism and age. Existing approaches that create realistic aging effects still require an excessive amount of time and effort by extremely skilled artists to tediously hand fashion blemishes or simulate simple procedural rules. Most techniques do not scale well to large virtual environments. These limitations have prevented widespread utilization of many aging and weathering algorithms.

We introduce a novel method for geometrically and visually simulating these processes in order to create visually realistic scenes. This work proposes the ``mu-ton" system, a framework for scattering numerous mu-ton particles throughout an environment to mutate and age the world. We take a point based representation to discretize both the decay effects and the underlying geometry. The mu-ton particles simulate interactions between multiple phenomena. This mutation process changes both the physical properties of the external surface layer and the internal volume substrate. The mutation may add or subtract imperfections into the environment as objects age.

First we review related work in aging and weathering, and illustrate the limitations of the current data-driven and physically based approaches. We provide a taxonomy of aging processes. We then describe the structure for our ``mu-ton" framework, and we provide the user a short tutorial how to setup different effects. The first application of the ``mu-ton" system focuses on inorganic aging and decay. We demonstrate changing material properties on a variety of objects, and simulate their transformation. We show the application of our system aging a simple city alley on different materials. The second application of the ``mu-ton" system focuses organic aging. We provide details on simulating a variety of growth processes. We then evaluate and analyze the ``mu-ton" framework and compare our results with ``gamma-ton" tracing. Finally, we outline the contributions this thesis provides to computer-based aging and weathering simulation.

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