Monday, October 3rd, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

AXYZ design ships anima 5.0

AXYZ design has unveiled anima 5.0, the latest version of its crowd animation software.

The update introduces Neural Crowds, a new AI-based crowd simulation engine, and walking 4D Digital Humans, a new class of animated stock 3D characters intended for use in close-up shots.

An intuitive tool for less demanding crowd animation jobs
Intended for visualisation and less demanding animation work, anima enables users to add animated characters to a scene without the complexity of a traditional AI- or particle-driven crowd simulation system.

Users draw paths for crowd characters directly in the viewport, and place scene objects like furniture and traffic lights, along with areas for animated characters to avoid.

The software is tailored for use with AXYZ design’s own Metropoly range of stock rigged characters, but users can also import their own characters and motion clips.

Integration plugins are available for 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya and Unreal Engine, and animated scenes can also be exported in FBX, OpenCollada or V-Ray’s .vrscene format.

New AI-based Neural Crowds system, plus performance and workflow improvements
New features in anima 5.0 include Neural Crowds: a new AI-based crowd simulation system trained with “thousands of hours” of motion-capture data.

AXYZ design says that it leads to more realistic behaviour, particularly when crowd actors interact, or when they travel over different surfaces.

Other changes include the option to edit the visual scale of crowd characters, and support for vertex velocity in anima’s .y file format, for rendering crowd animations with physically correct motion blur.

There are also a number of workflow improvements to the core software and to the 3ds Max and Cinema 4D plugins: you can find a full list via the links at the foot of the story.

New walking 4D Digital Human characters for use in close-ups
Outside the core application, axyz Design has introduced a new class of stock 3D characters: a walking version of the static 4D Digital Human characters introduced in anima 4.0.

The characters, which are intended for foreground use, support clothing deformation, and – although they’re largely shown from the rear in the demo video above – include facial expressions.

They are complemented by a new pedestrian path system developed specifically to control them in close and mid shots.

Pricing and availability
Anima 5.0 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+. The integration plugins are available for 3ds Max 2015+, Cinema 4D R17+, Maya 2018+ and Unreal Engine 4.26+.

New perpetual licences cost €279 (around $274). The software is also now available as part of AXYZ design’s anima All subscriptions, which cost cost €649/year (around $637/year).

There is also a free Lite edition, which can be used for commercial work, but which limits output to four seconds of animation. Still renders are unrestricted.

Read more about anima 5.0 on AXYZ design’s blog

Read a full list of new features in anima in the online release notes