A Material Point Method For Snow Simulation – How Snow is Made for Disney’s Frozen

As part of the marketing for the release of Disney’s Frozen on November 27, 2013, the studio has shared a SIGGRAPH video describing their snow-making technology.

The video briefly demonstrates what is written in a white paper titled “A Material Point Method For Snow Simulation” developed by Alexey Stomakhin, Craig Schroedery, Lawrence Chai, Joseph Teran, and Andrew Selle. The white paper goes on to describe the difficulty of simulating snow, here’s the paper’s abstract:

Snow is a challenging natural phenomenon to visually simulate. While the graphics community has previously considered accumulation and rendering of snow, animation of snow dynamics has not been fully addressed. Additionally, existing techniques for solids and fluids have difficulty producing convincing snow results. Specifically, wet or dense snow that has both solid- and fluid-like properties is difficult to handle. Consequently, this paper presents a novel snow simulation method utilizing a usercontrollable elasto-plastic constitutive model integrated with a hybrid Eulerian/Lagrangian Material Point Method. The method is continuum based and its hybrid nature allows us to use a regular Cartesian grid to automate treatment of self-collision and fracture. It also naturally allows us to derive a grid-based semi-implicit integration scheme that has conditioning independent of the number of Lagrangian particles. We demonstrate the power of our method with a variety of snow phenomena including complex character interactions.

The simulation remarkably shows how subtle representations of wetness and density can have significant impacts on the dynamic nature of snow.

Dennis "Fox" Bonilla has been a user experience designer, software developer, and digital strategist collaborating with some of the most successful and high-tech organizations in the world. Fox is a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer at Baltu Technologies where he is helping create next generation workforce development tools. Fox started Unified Pop Theory with his friends in attempt to bookmark and comment on novel intersections of technology, science, and the arts. Fox is a trend finder and idea maker who is inspired by individuals that believe the world can be changed one great project at a time. Fox can be reached on LinkedIn and Twitter.


  1. i met you at dukes in maui about time you came back out here i have been on your website many times it’s awesome come back out and ill buy you both a drink

    • Rich! Just the other day Erin and I were talking about that trip and the awesome people we met. Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you enjoy the site! I’ll drop you a line when we head back to Maui so we can tag up.

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