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Can you elaborate on "good reasons for using continuum model (PDE)?


If you pretend that, say, cloth is actually a big collection of springs, it can be very hard to get behavior that actually matches cloth (not only at a quantitative level, but also a qualitative level). I.e., you may not have a clear way of connecting a known continuum model with your ad-hoc numerical scheme. Originally people were quite happy with these ad-hoc models, but as time goes on and people push for more physical realism (as in rendering) the trend seems to be more toward physically-based models.