Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Golaem releases Golaem Crowd 4.0

Golaem’s demo for Golaem Crowd 4.0 also showcases some very nice work created with the Maya crowd simulator, including Framestore’s VFX for Dracula Untold and Stargate Studios’ work on The Walking Dead.

Golaem has released Golaem Crowd 4.0, the latest update to its crowd-simulation system for Maya, improving the quality of the viewport preview, and adding new options to edit cached simulations.

The software, in use at VFX facilities including Framestore and Stargate Studios, provides a less technically specialist alternative to standalone tools like Massive, and builds on Maya’s native particle systems.

Iterate simulations more quickly
Version 4.0 promises to speed up the process of iterating crowd shots, both by providing a more accurate preview of the simulation in the Maya viewport, and by making it easier to refine sims.

The preview now displays blendshapes and cloth simulation, the latter facilitated by a new Cloth Simulation behaviour based on Maya’s native nCloth system.

In addition, new options to edit cached simulations enable artists to move or delete individual characters, or import them for manual editing, making it possible to fix small issues without resimulation.

Simulations can also now be debugged by activating the new Visual Feedback option to check which behaviours or motions are running, and display debug information in the viewport.

Create more sophisticated animation
Other new features include a new Channels system, which provides access to a character’s internal states – for example, the current motion clip or bone position and orientation – in order to trigger behaviours or scripts.

There is also a new Synchronized Motion behaviour to control the occurrence of an animation more precisely by placing locators in the scene: handy for actions like climbing ladders, or synchronised combat.

Another new behaviour, SetBone, can be used to modify the orientation of a bone by an expression, helping to make animation more realistically ‘noisy’, or even design complete procedural motions without motion capture.

The base animation engine also gets several key new features, including support for animation layers, squash and stretch animation, and a new ground adaptation system, making actors’ foot placement more precise.

Pricing and availability
Golaem Crowd 4.0 is available now for Maya 2012 and above, running on 64-bit Windows or Linux. It supports mental ray, V-Ray, Arnold, RenderMan and 3Delight directly, and can also export FBX and Alembic files to render.

A permanent floating licence costs $6,599; three months’ rental costs $1,980.

Read more about the new features in Golaem Crowd 4.0 on Golaem’s website