Rhythm & Hues spreads fire and blood in Game Of Thrones S5

(Spoiler Alert!) Rhythm & Hues used Golaem Crowd to populate the Meereen fighting pit with thousands of spectators cheering at fighters and then fleeing in front of an unexpected danger.

These epic shots features cheering and fleeing CG crowds made with Golaem Crowd as well as a CG dragon showing the huge expertise of Rhythm and hues on creature works.

See a longer featurette from the Game Of Thrones Youtube Channel

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Golaem Crowd, nominated for CGAwards 2015

We are very proud to announce that Golaem Crowd has been nominated in CGAwards 2015 Plugin Category. Please vote for us so that we can make it to the final shortlist!

Here is what the CGAwards says about Golaem Crowd:

'"If you need crowds in your production, and you want to do it with as few hassles as possible, then Golaem is what you need. It is powerful, flexible, and does what it says on the box. Support is also excellent."

(click the image to go to the CG Awards website)


Alf Lovvold powers Mixamo zombies with Golaem Crowd

Alf Lovvold is a 3D Generalist, cofounder of Gimpville studio. He used Golaem Crowd to animate hordes of Mixamo zombies for his personal project "Dawn of the planet of the zombies and the giant killing plants..."

The result is an incredibly appealing teaser. Knowing that Alf did all this by himself with few external help speaks volumes about his talent.

To create the angry zombie crowd (who doesn't love an angry zombie crowd?), Alf used Mixamo Zombies models and animations. He then imported them into Goleam Crowd (see our Character Conversion Tutorial and Converting Mixamo Motions Tutorial), created his simulations and then exported them to FBX in order to be rendered by RedShift3D

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Alter Ego hops on and leads the peloton with Golaem Crowd

Alter Ego, Director Mark Zibert and Innocean Worldwide Canada have completed a commercial for Cycling Canada. “Bicycles” features real and CG bikes on mountain roads and other venues across Canada.
The epic commercial illustrates cycling sports in various environments with a dark, dirty and gritty look. The catch of the spot is that in all the scenes the bikes are missing the riders which in turn should inspire the viewers to hop on their bikes. Avid cyclists within the agency's, the client's and Alter Ego’s staff provided their detailed knowledge on cycling, bicycles and riding techniques to make the spot look as real as possible.

Every shot had two takes, a hero reference pass with bike & rider and a close match without them. The editor kept two synchronized edits going, developing the feel with the bike/rider shots and using the biker-less edit to guarantee clean shots for CG.  At the end, half of the shots (25) where slated for CG, a third for paint and a few hybrids of cg/paint outs.  Whenever possible the bikes were shot without rider, using props to facilitate the paint out job, but it was seldom the case.
The spot ends with a few peloton shots with +100 bikes which triggered the need for a crowd solution in order to easily iterate on the animation and handle the rendering. It is a rather unusual usage for crowd systems, which are more accustomed to simulate humans than the things they are riding. However, Gareth Stevenson, an experienced Golaem Crowd user, had built together with the Golaem team a bicycle rig enabling to get wheel traction and ground contact. (Gareth used the rig in a yet unreleased feature film and presented the setup in his course on fxphd)
Sebastian Bilbao, who recently joined Alter Ego to lead the CG department's growth explains “Golaem Crowd was offering a plug-and-play bicycle solution, fully integrated into Maya and V-Ray; not only that but the fact that their demo team was in town and available to meet with: we were sold. Golaem's support team and Gareth helped us through the fast learning curve, putting us up to speed and helping us derive template scenes for our crowd shots.”
Eileen Peng, CG artist in charge of the crowd shots continues: “Along with classic crowd functionality and asset diversification, Golaem provided us with flawless wheel traction and wheel ground contact. We explored several methods to obtain the most reliable motion library possible; from object tracking to motion capture solutions and traditional keyframing. We ended up using mostly keyframed motions because the "real" motions had nuances that looked unrealistic without the rider, go figure.  Once we had the Golaem templates integrated with our tracked layout and camera scenes, we could cruise through the shots iterating countless versions without any problems nor glitches.“ 

Shots were rendered with Chaos Group V-Ray, using V-Ray RT to refine the light rigs, and getting fast renders on the farm: ~5min at 3-4K with +100 bikes with motion blur.
The workflow was smooth enough that Alter Ego’s team ended up using Golaem Crowd for a mini-crowd in one of the underpass-tunnel shots which had enough bikes to take advantage of the iteration speed Golaem Crowd provides. All in all, the four crowd shots in the spot were in production for about four weeks, about a week each, scattered through a two month period.

Sebastian relates on his previous experience in many famous studios: “Crowds are now fun and easy.  Having used older crowd systems, Golaem Crowd proved to be much more user friendly without the steep learning curve. We are now pitching non-peded living forms: snakes and worms!”
Andres Kirejew, VFX Supervisor, concludes “Both the client and agency aimed for an epic spot and gave us lots of creative freedom to meet this challenge.  It was a super fun project to work on. We are very proud of all the shots, even if the aerial long shot with a large peloton going up mountain curves stands out the best. We are glad that the slick workflow prevented us from losing any sleep on this project!”
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About Alter Ego
Alter Ego is a Toronto based leading color grading studio with a growing vfx department. In total 5 color suites, 4 VFX suites, shooting studio and a CG department; most Canadian commercials get something done through Alter Ego.

Golaem Crowd 4.0, Take Full Control Of Your Crowds

In addition to an improved animation system, Golaem Crowd 4.0 enables to create more sophisticated shots and to populate scenes even faster by providing artists full control over the simulation. 
Golaem Crowd is being used by more than hundred vfx studios worldwide. The newest releases include Dracula Untold (Framestore), Hercules (Milk VFX, Cinesite), 22 Jump Street (Pixel Magic)... Golaem Crowd helped them ramp up on crowds and deliver great projects quickly.
Golaem Crowd 4 provides more advanced features with the same ease of use and facilitates the interaction of the crowd simulation with other elements in the shot: open access to simulation data, curve driven simulation, simulation cache scrubbing and editing… Artists can now take dailies requests into account immediately, without going back to the simulation, and get their shots validated in no time.

Thanks to Golaem Crowd’s ease of use, artists from different disciplines such as layouts, environments and animation could be trained up very quickly and be running shots within a week or two

Ben  Lambert, CG supervisor at Framestore

Iterate Faster On Your Shots

Golaem Crowd artists benefit from instant previsualization of crowds geometry in the Maya viewport. Previsualization now even includes advanced animation like blend shapes and cloth simulation. The result is close enough to the final render for studios to validate the crowd simulation with playblasts before rendering. 
The simulation can now be debugged by activating the Visual Feedback to check which behaviors or motions are running and display debug information in the viewport.
Golaem Crowd 4.0 allows artists to cache the simulation for Interactive Replay and Timeline Scrubbing, facilitating work and validation steps. When small retakes are needed, they will enjoy the new simulation cache editing functionalities: cached characters can now be selected and directly moved, removed from simulation or imported for manual keyframe editing.

Create More Sophisticated Shots

The new Channels System gives access to a character internal states, to get information such as its type, the current Motion Clip, bones positions, orientation, color... These can be used to trigger behaviors or feed custom written scripts.
A nCloth based Cloth Simulation behavior has been added, enabling artists to benefit from advanced cloth simulation for close-up shots. 
Last but not least, the Synchronized Motion Behavior enables artists to precisely control the occurrence of an animation by placing locators in the scene. It facilitates precise interactions like climbing ladders, triggering jumps, or synchronized close combat.

Animate Smarter

Golaem Crowd 4.0 introduces new ways to get a more realistic and varied crowd at nearly no additional animation cost.
The new SetBone Behavior allows to modify the orientation of any bone with a fixed value, a noise function or any other expression. It is an efficient way to add noise when input motions are too static or even to design procedural motions without any motion capture input.
Golaem Crowd 4.0 also integrates Animation Layers, which enable to extract a pose (e.g. clasped hand) or secondary animation (e.g. breathing) from an existing motion, and add it on top of other motions. It is possible to add any number of additional motions and randomize them individually to create an infinity of new animations.
Golaem Crowd 4.0 animation engine now supports Squash & Stretch and benefits from a new ground adaptation system, more precise, and even able to adapt characters feet on other characters lying on the ground.


Extended Compatibility & Alembic Export

Golaem Crowd has been updated to support the latest releases of major renderers (V-Ray, Arnold, Renderman Studio, Mental Ray, 3Delight) and still offer compatibility with previous versions.The Golaem Crowd Arnold procedural plugin for Arnold can also be used in SoftImage and Katana.
On top of the existing FBX export, Golaem Crowd for Maya 2015 can now export Alembic Geometry Cache including shaders name information and user attributes. 
Golaem Crowd is compatible with any Maya version from 2012 to 2015 (Windows or Linux, 64 bit). 
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