Virtual KEVA planks -
KEVA Computer Animated Destruction- Join The Fun
Looks Real, But it's Not
A Few years ago, a Canadian with the youtube name of Phymec posted a computer generated animation video of a KEVA style structure that looked so real, I watched it several times to decide if it might be real. I have knocked down a lot of KEVA structures and watched slow motion video of the real thing. Phymec's videos are incredibly accurate. I contacted him to learn more about him and how it does it. The video to the left has over 5 million views.
How do they do it?
Since Phymec's introduction of the concept, KEVA planks animated destruction videos have grown into a subculture with dozens of animators contributing to the fascinating collection. People find new creative ways to destroy the virtual structures and dramatic new camera angles to view the action. It's done with open source software called Bullet Physics and Blender 3D. It is the same cutting edge software used to create realistic gaming situations...and its free
Beeg Martin has created a top notch instructional video to teach you how to get in on the action. At no cost, you can learn a marketable skill using some of the best software in the world. Or, just enjoy the accomplishment of making something out of nothing. KEVA planks work well for learning virtual destruction because the simplicity of the planks allows video producers to focus on the creative process instead of the planks.
The Math and Science Behind the Technology
These KEVA planks videos were simulated in a virtual 3D space using a computer. The KEVA structures were built programmatically using high-school geometry and trigonometry mathematics. The KEVA structures were then simulated to fall apart under a virtual gravity using the same principles learned in high-school physics (classical mechanics or “Newtonian physics”) along with more advanced calculus to calculate collisions and 3D space orientation.
A free open source physics software library intended for programmers called “Bullet Physics” was used to calculate all of the physics in these videos. Bullet Physics is used by many computer and console games you play at home, as well as feature films. It’s called “Bullet” because it is very fast at calculating virtual simulated physics. (visit http://bulletphysics.org for more information)
If you would like to play with virtual 3D worlds and simulated physics at home, visit http://www.blender.org where you will find the free open source Blender 3D graphics software (for Windows, Mac, Linux, and more). Blender will allow you to build virtual objects and worlds and simulate those using virtual physics (Blender uses Bullet Physics internally to do this). Blender also includes a built-in game engine, allowing you to create your own games using simulated physics.