News

Golaem Crowd 3.2, Bring Out The Painter In You

Golaem Crowd 3.2 introduces a Crowd Paint Tool enabling artists to place their characters and control their behaviors (Character Attributes, Triggers and Navigation) with a simple brush.

Intuitive and Powerful Paint Tool

  • Placement: place characters by painting them on the ground, while controlling their density with color. 
  • Character Attributes: paint character attributes to control their behaviors and their appearances.
  • Zone Triggers: paint color zones on your terrain to activate/deactivate behaviors on your characters.
  • Navigation: control characters path-finding by painting vector fields on the ground.

 

Convincing Crowd Shots in a Few Days

Golaem Crowd is currently used by more than 50 studios all over the world, from one-man shops to established studios like Framestore or Cinesite. Some of their productions have been included in the new Golaem Crowd Showreel, e.g. the “Lipton, Be More Tea” commercial, featuring crowds of Muppets, made by Framestore for the opening of the Academy Awards ceremony.
 
 
Golaem Crowd 3.2 benefits from these users’ feedback and integrate lots of usability improvements as well as new behavior operators (delay, loop, script). 
 
Golaem Crowd is more and more open. Simulation caches can be loaded directly in Maya for editing them or adding FX on top. Code samples are also provided for loading them directly inside studios proprietary tools, and the  MEL/Python API is growing.
 
This focus on ease of use and interoperability is what enables Golaem Crowd customers to nail down pipeline integration very quickly, have their artists send shots for review in a few days and make producers & clients relax.
 
Golaem Crowd is available either through
  • rental (1500 EUR for 3 months)
  • permanent license (4999 EUR including 1 year of support & upgrade)

Both are floating licenses, enable to render on an unlimited number of nodes for free, and come with a contemporary ready-to-use Character Pack. Maintenance & Support Subscription (875 EUR/year) enables permanent licensees to benefits from all upgrades including major versions.

For more information about Golaem Crowd:
 

 

 

Golaem Crowd 3.1, visual debug and Arnold mtoa 1.x

Golaem just released a new update for its crowd simulation plugin for Maya. Golaem Crowd 3.1 now enables to visually follow the execution of characters behaviors in the Behavior Editor.


Behavior Live Visual Debug

The Golaem Crowd Behavior Editor makes it simple to describe elaborate behaviors by drag'n'dropping a few built-in behaviors and connecting them to each others. It is now directly linked with the Maya viewport and can display which behaviors or motions the selected character is running. It makes it easier than ever to build behaviors and identify unexpected behaviors or wrong configuration.

Arnold Mtoa 1.x Compatibility

Golaem Crowd is now compatible with Arnold 4.3 + mtoa 1.x. Golaem Crowd has been used together with Arnold on several productions for commercials, movies and animation. The most recent work being the Nike commercial done by Framestore for the launch of Brazil World Cup 2014 kit. 

In his testimonial about this project, Robert Harrington, CG Lead at Framestore concludes “Our small, controlled team turned the 3D work around in a few weeks, and whilst that does take planning, it was also entirely feasible, renderable and predictable... and that says a lot about how capable Golaem is.”
 

 


Framestore Creates Brazilian Crowds for Nike

Framestore was responsible for all visual effects in the last Nike commercial for  the launch of Brazil World Cup 2014 kit. The team used Golaem Crowd to populate the stadium with 40 000 people.
 
The Nike - Dare to be Brazilian campaign reminds us that “Nobody plays like Brazil”. It features Brazilian All Stars and loads of visual effects including giant players, cartoon style action… and the crowd as the 12th player. According to VFX Supervisor William Bartlett, the challenge of this production was to produce a huge range of work in a very short time.
 

 
The commercial used a combination of 2D and 3D crowds. The 2D crowds had been created with live-action sprites filmed on location, and as these were obviously locked into certain lighting/motions scenarios, they naturally became the target for the Golaem crowd to match.
 
CG Lead, Robert Harrington, explains “We knew the size of the audience on screen meant we didn't need particularly complicated clothing geometry, but their appearance did need some textural noise. With this in mind we created a lot of textural variations, both for clothes and skin (everyone loves some face-paint), and connected them to the Golaem Crowd procedural shaders for randomization. It was a predictably straight-forward workflow (which is good).”
 
“The character asset was lookdev'd in the same way we do all our work, and despite the specific Golaem Crowd asset management workflow, it fitted easily into our pipeline. The end result was, once you had the shaders in the final lighting scene, it just became a typical Arnold mtoa rendering workflow”.
 
 
Concerning crowd simulation itself: “The scene-population followed the equally-predictable stadium workflow.  Using some recce-photos, we made a proxy model of the stadium with one face per seat-area and enough geometry for generally-correct shadow casting. It was then easily populated using the Golaem Crowd Population Tool.”  
 
 
“From here, the last thing to solve was the motion capture.  We generated numerous Golaem Crowd motion clips from our stadium-like motion capture. The motions themselves were not looping but were quite long, meaning we could configure Golaem Crowd to randomize each character's start frame whilst also not reaching the end of a motion during a shot. We then studied the adjoining 2D shots, creating the characters’ behaviour by connecting various clips to a random operator (along with some trigger events here and there) and giving different weights until the variety of motions blended enough.”
 
Finally, shots were rendered using Arnold together with the Golaem Crowd procedural plugin: “Render memory usage varied depending on certain factors, but it was not uncommon to be rendering 18,000 people and only use 7GB of memory.” 
 
Robert Harrington concludes “Our small, controlled team turned the 3D work around in a few weeks, and whilst that does take planning, it was also entirely feasible, renderable and predictable... and that says a lot about how capable Golaem is.”

Golaem Crowd 3, unleash your imagination

Golaem Crowd is used by an increasing number of studios (including industry leaders like Double Negative or Framestore) to easily give life to commercials, movies, TV shows and games. It recently helped Stargate Digital to create a massive horde of “walkers” for the acclaimed The Walking Dead TV Show. This new update enables artists to simulate any type of character: human, horses, birds, or imaginary creatures…
 

 

Control any Type of Characters

The new Golaem Crowd Character Maker handles any type of characters: bipeds, quadrupeds and n-peds. It supports any custom skeleton description  and has been successfully tested with various industry standards ( Human IK, 3DSMax biped, Rocket Box, Daz3D, Pinocchio, Advanced Skeleton…).
 
The Golaem Crowd Character Maker can also automatically edit your motion capture data and make them cycle perfectly while preserving animation.
 
 

Do More with Less Work

Powered by a revamped animation engine, Golaem Crowd 3.0 helps to save time and work at each step of the production. Because most cumbersome tasks are automated, artists can now focus on what they do best: being creative.
 
Golaem Crowd procedurally generate new motions by mirroring motions, mixing them together or automatically retargeting them to various character size/morphology, hence dramatically reducing the amount of motions to be produced. 
 
Built-in behaviors automatically choose motions depending on character speed or orientation, adapts feet to the ground (matching closely the ground geometry), or make a character look at a given target or aim at something with a gun. 
 
Last but not least, Golaem Crowd now allows to enable or disable physics simulation at any time, at the character level, or even at limbs level in order to mix physics simulation with animation.
 
 

Control Birds and Fishes with the Flock Behaviors

Together with automatic 3D placement, Golaem Crowd provides new behaviors for controlling flock of birds or school of fishes with unmatched performances: interactive with 10 000 birds and geometry preview. The flock can wander in a given zone, seek targets or flee dangers. 
 
 

Validate Your Work Before Even Pressing the Render Button

To speed up shots creation and validation, Golaem Crowd proposes a new interactive previzualisation  of the crowd simulation, including geometry diversity, directly in Maya viewport. 
 
 
 
For more information about Golaem Crowd:

Golaem Crowd 2.5 is coming

Golaem announces Golaem Crowd 2.5 at Siggraph Anaheim, bringing Maya 2014 support, as well as tools to create crowds of trees, cars, ships...
 

Use Golaem Crowd for everything

Golaem Crowd 2.5 allows artists to place and animate more than skinned characters. Golaem Crowd can now instantiate any rigid shape object (trees, cars, ships...) with an interactive viewport preview and customizable visual and animation diversity.  Artists can now  populate the whole shot environment using the same powerful tools. 
 
 

Maya 2014 Support

Golaem Crowd now supports the new major version of Maya, for Windows and Linux 64bit. The free rendering plugins have also been updated to match last versions of the major renderers (Mental Ray, V-Ray, Arnold, Renderman and 3Delight)
 

Game Of Thrones, Warm Bodies, Asterix and lots of sport commercials

Golaem Crowd has been used by Pixomondo for Game Of Thrones, season 3 and by Look Effects, to create the Boneys from Warm Bodies. 
 
Last but not least, it has also been used by several shops together with the free, ready-to-use Golaem Crowd Character Pack to create stadium/audience commercials in no time.
 
Some of these works are featured in the new Golaem Crowd Demo Video:

 
 
For more information about Golaem Crowd:
 

 


Golaem Crowd speeds up stadium & concert creation with free ready-to-use characters and motions

Golaem announces the release of the Golaem Crowd Character Pack, a set of free ready-to-use characters and motions enabling faster crowd shots creation. It is available free of charge for all Golaem Crowd customers.

According to Nicolas Chaverou, Golaem Crowd Product Manager: “We discovered that, on a given crowd production, our customers were spending 75% of their time creating specific characters & motions. The use of the character pack hence dramatically reduces audience shots creation time, down to a few days.”
 
The Golaem Crowd Characters Pack includes the following production proven assets: 
  • ready-to-use character with a hundred props (tshirt, shirt, jacket, sun glasses...) 
  • texture variations for each props
  • 14 motions (for stadium & concert spectators)

Millions of Combinations

Golaem Crowd allows to combine all these assets into millions of combinations thanks to its Asset Manager. Artists simply need to load the preconfigured asset library file and can start rendering their crowd shots at once.
 

 

100% Controllable

Power is nothing without control. While being ready-to-use, the Golaem Crowd Character Pack is 100% controllable. Golaem Crowd allows artists to decide precisely the props and shaders repartition by using simple sliders, or thanks to per particle attributes. They can even create simple rules like “no ski cap for guys in shorts”. 
 
Last but not least, Golaem Crowd allows to promote characters to other types, in order to replace a random character with a 100% manually defined one.
 

Customizable

The Golaem Crowd Character Pack allows artists to add their own props or shaders on top of included ones, or to modify existing ones. Even artists needing a special character will save time by starting from this complete template.
 

 
For more information about Golaem Crowd:

Or meet us at FMX (http://www.fmx.de)

  • On our Booth: Marketplace 3.4, everyday
  • Virtual Humans Forum: Meidinger-Saal, Friday, April 26 17:00 - 18:00

 


Golaem Crowd 2.3, new effects, enhanced usability

Golaem Crowd 2.3 introduces the Geometry Behavior, enabling a myriad of new effects, as well as the Character Maker,  a revamped tool for converting & editing characters skeleton & motions. Bug fixes & usability improvements have also been made based on users feedback.

 

Geometry Behavior

The Geometry Behavior let you assign a baked animation to a crowd entity. While being very simple, it enables a lot of new effects on the crowd characters: facial animation, multipeds, baked clothes (flags, capes...), rigid shapes (cars, ships...), parasite motions, level of details...
 

 

Character Maker

The new Character Maker enables to convert custom rigs & motion capture/keyframe motions for Golaem Crowd. It has been revamped in order to enable checking the result directly in the Maya viewport, thus enabling to chek or edit motion capture or keyframe motions very easily (offset cancellation, loop creation...).

 

Usability Improvements

Based on users feedback, many aspects of the rendering process have been improved: 

  • 3Delight Proxy: Render your 3Delight scenes directly in Maya
  • Check Settings: Check your scene before rendering
  • Batch Render: Render scenes on the farm, with a streamlined process
  • Kill list: Remove characters from your shots

For more information about Golaem Crowd:

 


Golaem Crowd 2.2, supporting Solid Angle’s Arnold

Golaem releases Golaem Crowd 2.2, facilitating distributed rendering and supporting Solid Angle’s Arnold. 

Arnold support

Procedural rendering is now available for Solid Angle’s Arnold, hence enabling lightning fast rendering and simulation independant geometry and shaders diversity. 
 
Golaem Crowd was used together with Arnold by Mikros Image Montréal for the feature film “Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia” to create stadium spectators, village inhabitants, walking armies, flying romans, and even knocked-out ones!
 
 
 

Easier deployment for farm rendering

Golaem Crowd 2.2 introduces Golaem Crowd Render, encapsulating all Golaem Crowd rendering proxies in a single installation package for easier deployment on render farms.
 
Procedural rendering plugins and proxies are still free to use on an unlimited number of rendering nodes. 

 

Procedural Shaders & Multitexture

Golaem Crowd 2.2 includes new procedural shaders for automatic diversity generation in crowds. They are available for Arnold, Mental Ray, Renderman and V-Ray.
 
All procedural rendering plugins have also been enhanced to support multitexture, opening the way to sophisticated texture variations in crowds.
 
 


For more information about Golaem Crowd:


Golaem appoints VP Sales M&E and VP Marketing

To understand and meet its users needs more closely, Golaem recently appointed industry experienced VP Sales M&E and VP Marketing.  They both come from the field and have been personally involved in using or developping artists tools for years.

Nicolas Verley, VP Sales Media & Entertainment

Nicolas has been in the animation industry for almost 20 years. 

He started computer animation as a CG artist in 1993, then moved to Netherlands at Motek to become a motion capture specialist.

Back in France in 1995, he joined the Softimage company as a technical support engineer and pre sales. For more than 13 years he succeeded year after year in various positions: 3D animator, demo artist and technical support engineer, product specialist and Softimage trainer, technical account manager. He finally became the country manager for the whole Softimage product range.

In 2008, he became a CG consultant focusing on customer needs and projects expectation for various product and services such as Toonz, a 2D software platform for traditional animation, and Damas, a digital asset management software solution for animation studio.

As a VP Sales M&E at Golaem, he will be in of charge of all the sales and distribution channel management activities for media & entertainment market.

 

Alexandre Pillon, VP Marketing

After graduating in mathematics applied to computer sciences at INSA, Alexandre spent two years in Japan discovering how finance was ruling the world, then he secretly studied how to shape chaotic code in usable products at night.

He started working on behavioral crowd simulation from 2007 to 2009 as an R&D software engineer at the INRIA.

Alexandre co-founded Golaem in 2009. From 2009 to 2012, he was in charge of a crowd simulation project where he developed and tested what would eventually become the Golaem Crowd Behavior Editor.

He now leads the marketing effort, listening to customers and translating their needs to the developers dwelling in Golaem cave.
 

Alexandre and Nicolas will work closely together to bring even easier to use and powerful products to artists in the M&E market.


Golaem Crowd 2.1 Unleashes Crowds Rendering

Golaem releases a new version of its plugin for Autodesk Maya : Golaem Crowd 2.1, including new rendering proxys for Maya, optimized rendering performances as well as bug fixes.

Lightning Fast Rendering

The new Maya rendering proxys will enables artists to quickly test their crowd rendering, launch distributed renders from Maya and design their crowd shaders directly in the hypershade. 
 
  • Renderman Maya Proxy: load your crowds .rib file and render them
  • V-Ray Maya  Proxy: easily render crowds .vrscene
Golaem Crowd rendering performances have also been optimized. Particularly, the Mental Ray rendering plugin is up to 10x faster while being less memory consuming.
 

Mental Ray Plugin performances comparison on Intel Core i7 X990 (1 character = 5590 triangles)
 

Behavior Editor Improvements

Golaem Crowd 2.1 improves collaboration by enabling to easily share behaviors or reuse them in different projects.
 
  • Behavior Templates: export behaviors in a shared template directory and import them in any scene. 
  • Triggers Handles: get an easy access to the behavior triggers by using the triggers handle and easily share conditions between multiple triggers.

Behavior Editor improvements: Custom Behavior Library (bottom left) and trigger handles

 

For more information about Golaem Crowd:

  • see release notes
  • visit Golaem Crowd page and ask for a free 30 days evaluation.
  • meet the Golaem team at Siggraph Asia (booth #C19), Paris FX, Game Connection Paris