Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Get an(i)ma: a crowd sim system for just $339

AXYZ design has released the first crowd simulation system specifically designed for architectural visualisation.

An(i)ma enables non-animators to create complex crowd shots by drawing trajectories for individual actors, and setting parameter such as walk speed and posture. The software’s AI system then calculates the result, automatically generating avoidance or collision behaviour.

AXYZ design is best known for its stock characters – and accordingly, an(i)ma is based around its Metropoly 3D Humans, which come pre-rigged and set up with both mocap-based and procedurally generated motions.

The resulting animation can then be rendered in 3ds Max or Cinema 4D via export plug-ins.

An an(i)ma ‘Start Pack’, including the base software and eight credits for downloading additional actors, costs $339. More costly packages add extra download credits and additional satellite licences – but it’s worth noting that even the Start Pack comes with three individual and five network licenses, plus free maintenance upgrades.

Tailored to its audience
The results won’t feature in a Weta movie any time soon – but given that an(i)ma’s intended user base consists of non-specialist animators who simply need reasonable-looking crowd behaviour to provide a human context for the buildings they are visualising, we’d have to say they look pretty darn good.

Early testers tell us that a lot of thought has been put into smoothing workflow for this intended audience – and at less than a tenth of the cost of Massive Jet, you can’t really argue with the price.

Read more about an(i)ma here

Download the trial version of an(i)ma here