We propose a physically based algorithm for synthesizing sounds synchronized with brittle fracture animations. Motivated by laboratory experiments, we approximate brittle fracture sounds using time-varying rigid-body sound models. We extend methods for fracturing rigid materials by proposing a fast quasistatic stress solver to resolve near-audio-rate fracture events, energy-based fracture pattern modeling and estimation of “crack”-related fracture impulses. Multipole radiation models provide scalable sound radiation for complex debris and level of detail control. To reduce sound model generation costs for complex fracture debris, we propose Precomputed Rigid-Body Soundbanks comprised of precomputed ellipsoidal sound proxies. Examples and experiments are presented that demonstrate plausible and affordable brittle fracture sounds.




    Changxi Zheng and Doug L. James, Rigid-Body Fracture Sound with Precomputed Soundbanks, ACM Transaction on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2010), 29(3), July 2009.

Individual Videos (1280x720 @ 60FPS)

dinner plate

Breaking a dinner plate

dropping glass slab

Dropping a glass slab

glass window

Smashing glass windows

droplets video

Shattering a wineglass

droplets video

Fracturing piggybanks

droplets video

Table and kitchen items



  • The National Science Foundation (HCC-0905506)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Intel Corporation
  • Advanced CAE Research
  • Vision Research
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Yafaray Free Open-source Raytracing Engine
  • Blender Free Open-source 3D Creation Suite

Selected Press