Dr. Peter Hall and Chris Li, two computer scientists at the University of Bath, have developed a program that can render trees just by watching footage of them. With both video games and CG animation, getting things such as trees and smoke to act as they do in the natural world can be tricky. It's not so much the look of the tree that the Bath program excels at, but getting it to sway just right. It can also generate multiple different trees from the same pattern, allowing a forest to be quickly modeled.
"Our system will make it faster and cheaper for animators to create animated backgrounds," Chris Li said. "In the future we want to use this same technique to animate other objects like clouds, water, fire and smoke."
Check it out in the video above.