How are Forensic Computer Animations Created?

Animations are created with a scientific accuracy based on compiling a lot of data, and physical evidence.

Published March 20, 2018
 Richard M. Ziernicki, Ph.D., P.E.

Computer animation wire mesh image of trailer underride


We are relying on evidence like tire marks, debris, scratch patterns, vehicle damage in cases of motor vehicle accidents.  We take all the engineering evidence and use that evidence to provide a foundation for the animation.  This foundation and the scientific method used is one of the fundamental criteria’s used by a judge to decide whether or not that animation is accepted by the courts.  It’s not just somebody else’s vision of the accident.  It is this scientific reliable data which is the foundation and base for the animation.  We use sophisticated, validated engineering programs such as PC Crash that will find the motion of the vehicles before the accident, during the accident, and after the accident.  There is a lot of science that goes into that.

About the Author

Michael Zwarg

Mr. Zwarg joined Knott Laboratory in 2006 as IT Manager. He oversees all aspects of technology for the engineering and animation teams including workstations, servers, websites, renderfarm, software and training. Prior to joining Knott Laboratory, Mr. Zwarg worked for Moses Brown School in Providence, RI as a Senior Network Analyst and for in Norwood, MA as Production Systems Manager.