Simulating Morphogenesis

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Porter, Benjamin: Simulating Morphogenesis. In: Dagstuhl Seminar 09291 2009: Computational Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach.



I am a graduate student at Monash University. My research is in the domain of computer graphics, where I am attempting to grow organic three dimensional forms using models inspired by real biological development. The presented animation demonstrated the simulated development of a virtual organism reminiscent of a starfish or sea urchin. As in a real developing organism the cells of the virtual organism divide and communicate, adding more complexity to the initially simple form. The behaviour of the cells result in the development of limbs, giving rise to the starfish-like appearance of the final organisms.

The complex organic forms we find in nature are typically difficult to geometri- cally model using traditional 3D modelling tools. This is because they often have complex surfaces and large number of components, which are tedious to create when manipulating the geometric model directly. One approach to this problem is to generate the geometry through simulation. The Simplicial Developmental System (my PhD research project) synthesizes virtual organic forms by simulating some biological and physical processes of morphogenesis [1]. Early results indicate that the system is capable of generating organic geometry with complex surfaces and symmetries. An example simulation demonstrates that from a simple starting shape a starfish-like form develops (Figures 1 and 2).

Extended Abstract


 author =	{Benjamin Porter},
 title =	{Simulating Morphogenesis},
 booktitle =	{Computational Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach},
 year = 	{2009},
 editor =	{Margaret Boden and Mark D'Inverno and Jon McCormack},
 number =	{09291},
 series =	{Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings},
 ISSN = 	{1862-4405},
 publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, Germany},
 address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
 URL =		{, },
 annote =	{Keywords: Morphogenesis 3D modelling}

Used References

[1] Ben Porter. A Developmental System for Organic Form Synthesis. Technical Report 2009/245, Monash University, Clayton School of Information Technology, July 2009.


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