Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Golaem ships Golaem 7.0

Golaem has released Golaem 7.0, the latest update to its crowd animation system for Maya.

The update repositions Golaem Layout, originally a cut-down edition of the software for editing simulation data, as a standalone crowd layout tool; and adds a new Unreal Engine integration plugin.

An intuitive crowd animation tool making use of standard Maya workflows
Since its launch in 2011, Golaem has been adopted by many of the key facilities in the VFX industry, featuring in no fewer than four separate studios’ work on Game of Thrones.

It was developed with the aim of providing a more intutive workflow than traditional simulation software, with users able to use Maya’s native tools to control crowd behaviour.

Golaem also includes toolsets for building custom AI logic, generating automatic variations of crowd characters, and interactively previewing and editing simulations.

Output is natively compatible with 3Delight, Arnold, Guerilla Render, Mental Ray, Redshift, RenderMan and V-Ray; and users can also output to 3ds Max and V-Ray or Softimage and Arnold for rendering.

New in Golaem 7: Golaem Layout becomes a standalone crowd layout tool
The main change in version 7.0 is the repositioning of Golaem Layout as a standalone crowd layout tool.

First introduced in Golaem 5.0, Layout originally enabled users to move or delete crowd characters without needing to re-run a simulation, offset or retime their animation, and edit props and clothing.

In Golaem 7.0, Layout gets the ability to convert existing Maya character animations directly into ‘population vignettes’, which can then be layered to create crowd scenes.

As well as translating, rotating or scaling layers of crowd actors independently, users can assign them separate FaceTo and LookAt targets, or separate vector field controls.

Layout’s new GroundAdapt layer automatically snaps crowd actors’ feet to terrain; while a full IK rig layer makes it possible to reanimate characters directly.

Layering is done via a new node-based editor, making changes non-destructive. You can see an overview of the new workflow in the video at the top of the story.

New UE4 integration plugin lets users round trip simulations with Unreal Engine
The update also introduces a new integration plugin for Unreal Engine, making it possible to preview simulations inside the game engine without having to bake geometry caches manually.

Users can now edit a simulation in Maya, then refresh the scene inside Unreal Engine to see the changes.

The Unreal Engine plugin also includes Golaem’s Layout toolset, making it possible to edit crowd layouts directly inside UE4, then reload the changes in Maya.

The full edition of Golaem also gets a new Merge Simulation Caches tool, and there are a number of bugfixes and smaller changes: you can find a full list in the online release notes.

Pricing and availability
Golaem 7.0 is available for Maya 2016+, running on 64-bit Windows 7+ or CentOS/RHEL WS 6+ Linux.

A perpetual lience of the full software costs $9,000. The price of Golaem Layout is up $500, to $2,300, and rental options are available. You can see a comparison table of the two editions here.

The Unreal Engine plugin is free, with source code available under a LGPL v2.1 licence on request.

Read a full list of new features in Golaem 7.0 on Golaem’s blog