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Calculating Cartoons

Physics simulations create convincing illusions in films and games

In the animated film Monsters, Inc., James P. Sullivan is an 8-foot-tall monster who's covered from head to toe in a luxurious powder-blue pelt with faint red polka dots. What makes him stand out in the already eye-popping domain of computer animation is the independent motion of every single one of the 3.2 million hairs on his body. The result is a coat

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