I was watching a Nature program the other day and a friend mentioned how disappointing it was to see computer generated imagery (CGI) on a nature program. I explained to him that in fact, everything in the nature program was real footage and none was computer generated. It is easy to explain why. CGI simply isn’t good enough at swarm behavior yet! Researchers have been working on getting computer generated agents to ‘look right’ for decades, and while the algorithms have gotten better, we aren’t quite there yet.
One of the first flocking algorithms was created by Craig Reynolds in 1986.
Since then, there have been great improvements, including this video of a crowd.
Some things still aren’t quite right. For some beautiful footage of real swarms, check out PBS’s nature program, Gathering Swarms.