Animation in R – Bouncing Ball Simulation

This post fill focus on how to create an animation to visualise the simulation of a physical system, in this case a bouncing ball. Whilst this post is unrelated to trading it will form the basis of future articles. In my next post I will show how to simulate the classic pole balancing / inverted pendulum problem. Machine learning will then be applied to develop a control system for the dynamic systems.

A video of the simulation is below:

Creating Animations

The R package “animation” has been used to create videos of the simulated process. This package requires that FFMpeg is installed on your machine and added to your environmental path. To learn how to add items to your path follow this tutorial at Geeks With Blogs.

The code below demonstrated how to generate a video:

?View Code RSPLUS
oopt = ani.options(ani.width = 1200, ani.height = 800, other.opts = "-pix_fmt yuv420p -b 600k")
saveVideo(runSimulationFunc(),interval = simulation.timestep,ani.options=oopt,"bounce.mp4")
  • ani.width is the width of the video
  • ani.height is the height of the video
  • other.opts are command line arguments that are passed to ffmpeg and can be used to control the bitrate and other quality settings
  • interval specifies in seconds how long to wait between frames
  • runSimulationFunc() is a function that should run your simulation, and charts plotted during the simulation will be added to the video

Drawing Graphics

I have written some functions to make drawing basic graphics easy.

  • createSceneFunc(bottomLeftX, bottomLeftY, width,height) creates a brand new scene to draw objects on, bottomLeftX and bottomLeftY are Cartesian co-ordinates to specify the bottom left corner of the canvas. The width and height variables are used to specify the canvas dimensions.
  • createBoxFunc(topLeftX, topLeftY, width, height, fillColour) draws a box to the current canvas, topLeftX and topLeftY specify the Cartesian co-ordinate of the top left of the box, width and height specify the dimensions and fillColour specifies the colour that fills in the box.
  • createCircleFunc(centerX,centerY,radius,fillColour) draws a circle to the current canvas, centerX and centerY specify the Cartesian co-ordinate of the center on the circle, the radius specifies the radius of the circle and fillColour specifies the colour that fills in the circle.

Simulation Dynamics

The following single period update equations are used:
Position_{t+\Delta t}=Position_{t}+Velocity_{t}*\Delta t
Velocity_{t+\Delta t}=Velocity_{t}+Acceleration_{t}*\Delta t

When a collision is made between the ball and the platform the following update is used:
Velocity_{t+\Delta t}=-\kappa*Velocity_{t}
\kappa=\text{Coefficient of restitution}

Onto the code:

?View Code RSPLUS
library("animation")  #Library to save GIFs
#Function to create a blank canvas / scene for drawing objects onto later
createSceneFunc <- function(bottomLeftX, bottomLeftY, width,height,main="",xlab="",ylab="",ann=T,xaxt=NULL,yaxt=NULL){
        plot(c(bottomLeftX, width), c(bottomLeftY,height), type = "n",ann=ann, xaxt=xaxt, yaxt=yaxt,main=main,xlab=xlab,ylab=ylab )
#Function to draw a box on the scene
createBoxFunc <- function(topLeftX, topLeftY, width, height, fillColour=NA, borderColour="black"){
              col = fillColour, border=borderColour)
#Function to draw a circle on the scene
createCircleFunc <- function(centerX,centerY,radius,fillColour=NA, borderColour="black"){
#Parameters to control the simulation
simulation.timestep = 0.02
simulation.gravity = 1.8
simulation.numoftimesteps = 2000
#Define the size of the scene (used to visualise what is happening in the simulation)
scene.bottomLeftX = 0
scene.bottomLeftY = -1
scene.width = 10
#This is the object the bouncing ball is going to hit
platform.x = scene.bottomLeftX+1
platform.y = 0
platform.width= scene.width - 2
platform.colour = "red"
#This is just a box resting on the left end of the platform to practise drawing things
leftbluebox.x = platform.x
leftbluebox.y = platform.y+0.5
leftbluebox.colour = "blue"
#This is just a box resting on the right end of the platform to practise drawing things
rightbluebox.x = platform.x+platform.width-0.5
rightbluebox.y = platform.y+0.5
rightbluebox.colour = "blue"
#This is the ball that is going to be bouncing
ball.radius = 0.25
ball.yvelocity = 0
ball.yacceleration = 0
ball.coefficientofrestitution = 0.85 #This is a physics term to describe how much velocity as pct is kept after a bounce
#Some variables to store various time series values of the simulation
logger.yposition = rep(NA,simulation.numoftimesteps)
logger.yvelocity = rep(NA,simulation.numoftimesteps)
logger.yacceleration = rep(NA,simulation.numoftimesteps)
#Some settings to control the charts used to plot the logged variables
plotcontrol.yposition.ylim = c(0,10)
plotcontrol.yvelocity.ylim = c(-6,6)
plotcontrol.yacceleration.ylim = c(-simulation.gravity,400)
runSimulationFunc <- function(){
  #Main simulation loop
  for(i in seq(1,simulation.numoftimesteps)){
     #Equations of motion
     ball.yacceleration = -simulation.gravity
     ball.y = ball.y + ball.yvelocity*simulation.timestep
     ball.yvelocity = ball.yvelocity+ball.yacceleration*simulation.timestep
     #Logic to check is there has been a collision between the ball and the platform
     if(ball.y-ball.radius <= platform.y){
        #There has been a collision
        newyvelocity = -ball.yvelocity*ball.coefficientofrestitution
        ball.yacceleration = (newyvelocity - ball.yvelocity)/simulation.timestep
        ball.yvelocity = newyvelocity
        ball.y = ball.radius+platform.y
     #Log the results of the simulation
     logger.yposition[i] <- ball.y
     logger.yvelocity[i] <- ball.yvelocity
     logger.yacceleration[i] <- ball.yacceleration
    #Plot the simulation
    #The layout command arranges the charts
    layout(matrix(c(1,2,1,3,1,4,5,5), 4, 2, byrow = TRUE),heights=c(3,3,3,1))
    par(mar=c(3,4,2,2) + 0.1)
    #Create the scene and draw the various objects
    #Create the scene
                 main="Simulation of Bouncing Ball -",xlab="",ylab="Ball Height",xaxt="n")
    #Draw the platform the ball lands on
    #Draw a box on the left off the platform
    #Draw a box on the right of the platform
    #Draw the ball
    #Plot the logged variables
    plot(logger.yposition, type="l", ylim=plotcontrol.yposition.ylim, ylab="Y POSITION")
    plot(logger.yvelocity, type="l", ylim=plotcontrol.yvelocity.ylim, ylab="Y VELOCITY")
    plot(logger.yacceleration, type="l",ylim=plotcontrol.yacceleration.ylim, ylab="Y ACCELERATION")
    #Plot a progress bar
    plot(-5, xlim = c(1,simulation.numoftimesteps), ylim = c(0, .3), yaxt = "n", xlab = "", ylab = "", main = "Iteration")
    abline(v=i, lwd=5, col = rgb(0, 0, 255, 255, maxColorValue=255))
oopt = ani.options(ani.width = 1200, ani.height = 800, other.opts = "-pix_fmt yuv420p -b 600k")
saveVideo(runSimulationFunc(),interval = simulation.timestep,ani.options=oopt,"bounce.mp4")

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