Monday, March 14th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Basefount Technology unveils Miarmy 4.5

Basefount Technology has unveiled Miarmy 4.5, the latest update to its crowd animation system for Maya, adding a new system for handling jump animations and technology developed for use on Marvel’s Ant-Man.

Miarmy: an overview
The software, which is in use at studios worldwide including Pixomondo, Square Enix and Dexter Digital, provides a sophisticated AI driven crowd-simulation system, complete with PhysX-based dynamics.

Crowd agents can be controlled using standard Maya tools including particles, fields and fluid simulation tools. The software supports standard production renderers including Arnold, RenderMan and V-Ray.

Miarmy 4.5: new jump system, improvements to existing mesh-attachement tools
The biggest new feature in Miarmy 4.5 looks to be the new jump system, which enables crowd agents to jump from object to object: in this case, trees in a forest. You can see in action from 01:00 in the video above.

There are also refinements to existing tools, notably the UV Pin and Curve Pin tools, used to attach crowd agents to deforming surfaces.

The work – carried out to help Luma create VFX shots of swarming ants for Ant-Man – enables users to control the ‘landing time’ of agents onto a surface when using Miarmy’s PhysX character controller.

In addition, ‘roads’ set up to constrain the paths along which actors move across a surface can now be defined by two separate curves, one for each side, permitting them to take arbitrary shapes.

The geometry logic system, which enables points on surface geometry to be targets for crowd agents, has also been updated to enable agents to align to surface normals, or move along with moving geometry.

Support for Viewport 2.0, improved cloth simulation performance
In addition, Miarmy now supports Maya’s Viewport 2.0 display, speeding up viewport display of simulations around 1.5 times.

Cloth simulation has also been optimised. Basefount doesn’t put any figures on the speed boost, but there’s a pretty impressive test shot at 01:40 in the video, showing 40,000 agents in a stadium waving flags.

Pricing and availability
Miarmy 4.5 is due out later this week for Maya 2014 and above on Windows XP+, Linux and Mac OS X 10.6+.

A node-locked licence costs $3,450 if you buy outright, up $800 from the previous release. There is also a free feature-limited Express edition.

Read a full list of new features in Miarmy 4.5