News

Mikros Image shakes crowds with Orangina and Golaem Crowd

Mikros Image filled the coliseum of the latest Orangina commercial with more than 20 000 Golaem Crowd spectactors cheering at gladiators. Combats end unexpectedly with a lot of water and fun.
Orangina renew itself with the "Shake the World" campaign, produced by Soixante Quinze and directed by Matthijs Van Heijningen. Mikros Image was responsible for the all visual effects: 45 shots, including 9 crowd shots.

Michael Etienne, Crowd TD, explains "​We achieved the effects of this commercial in a record time of 18 days. We had a team of 20 people. 2 of them were in charge of producing models and specific motions for the crowds and I was in charge of crowd simulations."
 
He continues: "Golaem Crowd allowed us to produce quality and realistic images very quickly. One of the challenges was to match the CG crowds with the real plates, and Golaem Crowd did the job thanks to the powerful animation engine and the geometry and shading diversity management tools"

When asked about the shot he is most proud of, Etienne says "The final shot was the most interesting one. It’s a full CG shot that combines crowds filling the whole coliseum, and crowds interacting with the water of the giant pool (with divers and swimmers). Our animator provided us with diving animations that we fed into Golaem Crowd, and we placed characters along the pool. We constrained geometries to the bones of crowd characters, and the FX artist used them to calculate the fluid simulation into Houdini."
 
 
After this big success, Mikros Image is now working on another commercial for the car industry where they are filling a moving stadium with Golaem crowds. Stay tuned!
 
Learn more:
About Mikros Image
Mikros image is a post-production house, specializing in high-end digital visual effects and animation. Founded in 1985, Mikros image serves the entire entertainment industry including feature films, advertising, TV, video games and experiential events.
Headquartered in Paris, with offices in Brussels, Liège and Montréal, Mikros Image is home to a robust artist community that works on over 400 projects a year across the entertainment industry.
As an award winning studio, Mikros Image has been part of many celebrated projects.
The features animation division has built a strong creative team that has worked on a number of major animated films including the recent releases of le Petit Prince and Asterix: le Domaine des Dieux as well as Mune, which was awarded best animated film in Tokyo festival this year. In 2010 the team worked on Logorama which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
In advertising, Mikros Image’s work includes campaigns for marquee brands like Evian, Dior and Audi. and has won three Visual Effects Society Awards for its work on Citroen C3 Dog, Dior J’adore and Canal+The Bear.

 


Golaem Releases V-Ray Crowd Rendering Plugin for 3ds Max

VRayGolaem for 3ds Max Extends Production-Quality Crowd Rendering to New VFX and Game Studios; Joint Development with Chaos Group
 

Today, Golaem announces VRayGolaem for 3ds Max, a free plug-in that brings V-Ray’s production rendering power to a new set of Golaem Crowd users.

Already a fixture of the VFX scene, Golaem Crowd is known for crowd simulations that can exceed 100,000 characters, all while exhibiting high amounts of diversity. Now the same high-quality crowds that VFX and game studios create in Autodesk Maya can be rendered in 3ds Max.

Procedural Rendering

Co-developed with Chaos Group, VRayGolaem for 3ds Max’s rendering workflow hinges on a combination of Golaem’s proprietary simulation cache technology and V-Ray scene files. Unlike other solutions, character geometry is not exported, but recomputed from simulation cache before being sent to V-Ray. This process makes exporting incredibly fast and reduces the size of all exported files by 99%. All shaders and assets distribution can be tweaked at any time, removing the need for re-caching that can make the creation process slow and inconvenient.

Native V-Ray features

Designed to replicate a native V-Ray workflow, the VRayGolaem for 3ds Max plugin supports all V-Ray 3.0 features such as 3D motion blur, render elements, subdivision and more. All scenes translate as simple V-Ray proxy objects, keeping rendering speeds fast and efficient.

3ds Max Viewport Display

To further simplify layout and lighting steps, VRayGolaem for 3ds Max can display the crowd characters’ bounding box in the 3ds Max viewport without slowing it down. Additionally, thanks to a proxy node, artists will be able to control every aspect of how their crowds are rendered without having to go back into Maya.

Nicolas Chaverou, Golaem Crowd Product Manager, comments: “We are thrilled to deliver an efficient way of rendering crowds to 3ds Max users. Artists can now get the most out of V-Ray 3.0 inside their package of choice, without having to rely on heavy workarounds. We have been in touch with several first-class studios using 3ds Max and V-Ray; they are really excited!”

The VRayGolaem for 3ds Max plugin is available now, for free. Download and installation instructions can be found in Golaem’s support section: http://vray3ds.golaem.com

Learn more:

About Chaos Group

Chaos Group creates physically-based rendering and simulation software for artists and designers. Founded in 1997, Chaos Group has devoted the last 18 years to helping artists advance the speed and quality of one of their most important tools. Today, Chaos Group’s photorealistic rendering software, V-Ray®, has become the rendering engine of choice for many high-profile companies and innovators in the design and visual effects industries.


Milk VFX recreates the Battle of Waterloo for BBC TV drama

Milk VFX recently completed 1000 shots for the BBC’s television drama Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. One of the VFX highlights was the Battle of Waterloo, including 50,000 soldiers simulated with Golaem Crowd.
 
Building on its experience with Golaem Crowd on  feature films The Divergent series: Insurgent and Brett Ratner’s Hercules, Milk​ VFX created a one minute long shot for the Battle of Waterloo sequence in episode 5, as well as fifteen shots of a giant flock of ravens in episode 6 and 7.

Battle of Waterloo

The opening five minutes of episode 5 transports the audience into the 1815 Battle of Waterloo where Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) directs his otherworldly powers to aid the British war effort. Milk spent three months creating a full range of effects to bring this epic sequence to life for television, including; full 3D aerial shot of the battle with extensive crowd work as well as water and mud effects simulation, modelling and texturing, matte painting, animation and 2D work.
 
The episode opens to a spectacular sixty-second swooping aerial shot of Waterloo, panning over a smoke-covered battlefield filled with thousands of soldiers and cannon-fire to reveal the full scale of the war. Milk worked closely with director Toby Haynes to design the sequence, pre-visualise the shot and get the camera move absolutely right in order to transition from full 3D to live action.
 
“Rather than just seeing twenty extras in the scene, with the main battle happening off-camera we wanted to get the full horror of the fighting. Milk has done similar scale shots for films such as “Insurgent” and “Hercules“ so this represents a crossover to what can be done in high-end television in 2015.” said Will Cohen, Milk’s CEO. 

Inspired by battle scenes in Sergei Bondarchuk’s film “Waterloo” – in which 40,000 extras were used - the Milk team began building the Waterloo sequence, using it as a point of reference for terrain and textures.
 
The Milk team studied historical reference maps of the battle and Google maps of the area to ensure the terrain geography and formation of the soldiers was historically correct. Once the camera move and length of the shot were locked down, the team worked on the choreography of the shot by blocking all of the soldiers’ actions using simplistic rigs.
 
Four different types of soldier identifiable by their uniforms and two types of soldiers on horseback were created. The team also created a variety of props including cannons, trees, bushes and houses.
All the props were researched to ensure historical accuracy: Each cannon for example, had five soldiers manning it. The production’s costume department provided the soldiers’ uniform references and Milk photo scanned each one.
 
In total, Milk created 50,000 digital extras, cannon fire and the crowd fighting and running. Nicolas Hernandez, CG Supervisor on Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell explains: “We used Golaem Ragdoll for the soldiers being hit by cannonballs. We created a library of canon explosions with projection of a cannon ball; done in Maya and Houdini. We also created glinting water for the puddles and created footprints for every person on the battlefield. Smoke, mud and atmosphere elements were simulated in Houdini and rendered in Maya. The 50,000 extras were rendered using the Golaem Crowd for Arnold procedural.”
 
Hernandez, concludes “The shot was created over a three-month period; with a very small team (around 10 artists, including only one FX TD for crowds). The pipeline was very smooth. Considering the length of the Waterloo shot and the tight deadline it was good to be able to render the full CG shot without any worries.”
 

Ravens Flock

In episode 6 and 7, Milk created 15 shots of a 250 ravens flock. On top of the swarm creation, the raven model being particularly detailed (including more bones than a real raven!), Golaem Crowd was particularly useful for caching the animation and getting an interactive visualisation in Maya. 
 
As for the Waterloo shot, the crowds work on the ravens shot was done by a single FX TD.

Learn more:
 
About Milk VFX
Milk is an independent, boutique visual effects company with studios in London and Cardiff and creates innovative and complex sequences for high-end television and feature films.
 
Founded by award-winning VFX Supervisors and Producers in June 2013, the team has created visual effects for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Thunderbirds Are Go, 24: Live Another Day, David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D and Ice Age Giants on television, and for feature films including  The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Ex-Machina, Poltergeist, Brett Ratner’s Hercules, Snow White and the Huntsman, Les Miserables, Dredd 3D and 47 Ronin.
 
Milk has recently completed work on director Ben Wheatley’s forthcoming feature film High-Rise (Recorded Picture Company) and the BBC and Hartswood’s Sherlock special episode.
 
Milk has won two BAFTA Television Craft Awards; in 2014 for their work on the BBC’s Doctor Who 50th anniversary special: Day of the Doctor and again in 2015 for Doctor Who: Deep Breath.
 
Milk is located in Fitzrovia and Cardiff Bay and has the capacity for 120 artist seats.

Rhythm & Hues spreads fire and blood in Game Of Thrones

(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

Learn more:


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)