The Igarashi Lab. at the University of Tokyo is developing a new type of physics engine which can faithfully recreate in 3D the stylizations common to 2D anime.

“Physics engines are used in 3D animation, to generate the motions of hair and clothes. They can do physically correct computing, but the problem is, that’s all they can do. The engine we’ve created makes it possible for artists to adjust such physics computations, in other words, to deform things.”

“For example, suppose you wanted to make a rabbit’s ears sway through physics computation. If you were asked to make them look like this when seen from the right, with an ordinary physics engine, you couldn’t do it. But using our technology, you can do physics computation while meeting specific conditions, such as wanting this shape when the object is seen from that angle.”

“This example involves what’s called ‘ahoge’ (foolish hair), which is often seen in Japanese animations. For example, if you want the ‘ahoge’ to keep pointing in the same direction, that’s hard to do with an ordinary physics engine. But our engine can compute how to move the hair while keeping it pointing in the same direction.”

via Directable Physics Engine recreates 2D anime stylizations in 3D – DigInfo TV.