Authoring and simulating meandering rivers

ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH Asia 2023)

Publication date: December 15, 2023

Axel Paris, Eric Guérin, Pauline Collon, Eric Galin

We present a method for interactively authoring and simulating meandering river networks. Starting from a terrain with an initial low-resolution network encoded as a directed graph, we simulate the evolution of the path of the different river channels using a physically-based migration equation augmented with control terms. The curvature-based terms in the equation allow us to reproduce phenomena identified in geomorphology, such as downstream migration of bends. Control terms account for the influence of the landscape topography and user-defined river trajectory constraints. Our model implements abrupt events that shape meandering networks, such as cutoffs forming oxbow lakes and avulsions. We visually show the effectiveness of our method and compare the generated networks quantitatively to river data by analyzing sinuosity and wavelength metrics. Our vector-based model runs at interactive rates, allowing for efficient authoring of large-scale meandering networks.

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Research Area:  Adobe Research iconGraphics (2D & 3D)