Thursday, June 13th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Basefount ships Miarmy 7.0

MPC’s VFX breakdown of ‘The Boy and The Piano’, its spot for UK department store chain John Lewis. Basefount is using the ad to promote Miarmy 7.0, the latest version of its Maya crowd simulation software.

Basefount has released Miarmy 7.0, the latest update to its crowd animation system for Maya, adding new tools intended to enable the software to support a wider range of character rigs for crowd agents.

The update also rewrites Miarmy’s OpenGL display, updates its support for the native procedurals used by third-party render engines, and streamlines rendering workflow.

Miarmy: an overview
Miarmy provides an AI-driven crowd-simulation system, complete with PhysX-based dynamics. Crowd agents can also be controlled using standard Maya particles, fields and fluid simulation tools.

The software supports renderers including Arnold, Redshift, RenderMan and V-Ray.

Miarmy is now in use at VFX facilities worldwide, and has been used on movies including Independence Day: Resurgence and The Monkey King 2, and a range of broadcast series, games and commercials.

New tools make it possible to use a wider range of character rigs with crowd simulations
One key addition to Miarmy 7.0 is a set of tools designed to enable the software to support a wider range of character rigs for crowd agents than before.

The new Standard Bone Tree Builder creates a standard Miarmy joint tree matching the original character rig, even if it contains unsupported features like bone scaling.

A further set of auxiliary tools handles conversion of skinning, UVs, and materials.

Better OpenGL display performance and final-frame rendering
The release updates Miarmy’s implementation of OpenGL, improving compatibility with Maya’s Viemport 2.0 and making it possible to display “tens of thousands agents in a single scene” smoothly.

Basefount has also updated its implementation of the native procedurals used by the third-party render engines that Miarmy supports, which should improve render performance.

In addition, the way the software handles texture and material variations has been updated to make it possible to add, edit and remove variants directly in the GUI when working with any render engine.

Workflow and UI improvements
Workflow has also been streamlined: it is now possible to render crowd agents just like native Maya objects, replacing the old export-and-render process.

Other changes include updates to “more than 70 icons and node splitters [and] 20 UI and window widgets”, partly to improve the way the interface displays on 4K monitors.

There are also workflow improvements in the Scene Inspector, Logic Inspector and Action Inspector: you can find a full list of changes via the link below.

Pricing and availability
Miarmy 7.0 is available for Maya 2016+ on Windows, Maya 2017+ on Linux and Maya 2018 only on macOS.

The software is now back to being rental-only: a node-locked licence starts at $1,450/quarter or $2,750/year; a floating site licence starts at $2,850/quarter or $5,850/year.

Read a full list of new features in Miarmy 7.0 on Basefount’s website