News

Golaem & Redshift Make Crowd Rendering Faster Than Ever

Golaem now includes a rendering plugin for Redshift for Maya. Redshift users can now access all the benefits of procedural rendering with shading variety and rendering optimizations.
 
Golaem is well known for its artist friendly crowd simulation & layout tools used in production like Game Of Thrones, Independance Day Resurgence, the Halo Wars 2 cinematics as well as hundreds of projects.
 
Redshift is the world’s first fully GPU-accelerated, biased renderer, capable of rendering scenes many times faster than existing CPU-based renderers.
 
Golaem and Redshift teams joined forces to add Redshift procedural rendering capabilities in Golaem as well as native shaders for variety and user data workflow in Redshift.
 
Nicolas Chaverou, Golaem Product Manager, comments “Taking advantage of Redshift's amazing GPU rendering performance and Golaem latest multithreading & automatic instancing optimization, the Golaem procedural rendering plugin for Redshift can render 20 000 characters in less than 2 minutes. We are thrilled to offer unprecedented crowd rendering performances to Golaem and Redshift customers”.
 
Golaem procedural rendering is based on Golaem’s proprietary cache & geometry storing technology. It reduces the size of exported files by 99% compared to Alembic caches, keeping scene files light and interactive. 
 
Redshift is already used in production by several Golaem customers for rendering tens of thousands of characters. Duncan McWilliam, Outpost VFX CEO explains: “Outpost VFX was the first UK pioneer of Redshift. We helped Escape Technology to design the 8 x GPU Tyan chassis. We are glad to remain at the forefront of GPU rendering by helping Golaem and Redshift in bringing their technologies together around a live film blockbuster.”
 
Paul Francis, Outpost VFX CTO details: “In August this year we commenced work on a feature film project, involving a large amount of crowd shots in and around a fully populated football stadium. For any crowd work undertaken in the past, we have traditionally used basic geometry instancers and card systems. However initial R  & D tests highlighted the need for a much more robust solution due to the scale and complexity of the shots, that allowed for rapid work flow and the high level results we needed to achieve. We spent some time evaluating various solutions and eventually settled on Golaem. We found Golaem to be an excellent fit for our needs, as it integrates well with Maya and our various in-house pipeline tools. 
 
Here at Outpost we use Redshift as our main renderer, and at the time of our R & D, Golaem did not have Redshift integration by default. We approached the Golaem developers about Redshift integration and found them to be very open to assisting us, and after months of intensive development and constant communication, we had a fantastic plugin that we could really work with.
 
With full integration achieved, we commenced with render tests, while establishing a robust and effective crowd work flow, so when the time came to implement our R & D into a full production environment, we were able to hit the ground running. Golaem is a very artist friendly system that we have enjoyed using, and we already have other productions in the pipeline for which it will be ideal.”
 
Panos Zompolos, Co-founder & CTO at Redshift concludes: “We hope that the ability to plug into feature film ready software like Golaem will act to extend our services to better cater for this area of production. We really can’t wait to see the results of artists working with both Golaem and Redshift.“.
 
Both Golaem & Redshift can be freely downloaded for testing
About Golaem (http://golaem.com)
Golaem develops artist-friendly tools to animate digital characters.
 
Integrated in Autodesk Maya, Golaem makes it fast and affordable to populate worlds with directable digital characters, from a few to thousands. Artists from all over the globe use Golaem to bring life to commercials, episodic productions, feature films and games.
 
 
About Redshift (https://www.redshift3d.com)
Redshift is an award-winning, biased GPU renderer, renowned for its unique combination of speed and power.Redshift was founded by three video game developers with extensive background in hardware-accelerated real-time rendering. The trio combined their decades of experience to push the limits of GPU hardware, with the goal of developing a production-quality, GPU-accelerated renderer with support for biased global illumination techniques that were previously only in the CPU domain. 

Learn Golaem / Build your pipe with the new Personal Learning Edition

 
We just replaced the time-limited evaluation license with a Personal Learning Edition license (PLE), free and time-unlimited, with shading watermark.
 
 
Golaem now has more than 200 customers around the world and thousands of active users. We think that this is the easiest population solution to learn and integrate in a studio pipeline. The Golaem community is growing, and our featured artists page now boasts dozens of Golaem artists all around the world.
 
However, when we listened to these thousands of users, either artists in studios, at home, pipeline TDs,... we understood that they were somewhat frustrated not being able to use Golaem where/when they want and being bound to a commercial license or a time-limited evaluation.
 
So we decided to create a version of Golaem which would include all the features, for an unlimited period of time, without limiting the number of characters to let you experience the full power of Golaem. This is the Golaem PLE. Its only limitations are that when rendering, some characters will be shaded with the Golaem orange shader, or when exporting geometry, some polygons will be missing. This is the less annoying we could do to prevent commercial usage of the PLE.
 
With the new Golaem PLE, you can:
  • Train yourself or your team in the studio (by the way, we also now offer dedicated trainings)
  • Train yourself or play at home
  • Try Golaem to see how it can help you save time on your project
  • Develop and maintain pipeline in-between projects
  • Train your students (Universities should ask for a free academics license instead to ensure their students can render projects without watermarks, like these)
The Golaem PLE can be downloaded on http://download.golaem.com
 
Plenty of training resources are available on http://help.golaem.com
 
Do not hesitate to share your progress, questions or feedback on our various user groups ( Mailing List, Linked In, Facebook)
 
And above all, enjoy!

6 best student projects done with Golaem last year

At Golaem, we love helping students deliver great projects. 2015/2016 was a prosperous academic year and we were so lucky to have lots of incredible projects. Here is our selection!

By the way, did you know that Golaem was free for academics & students? No joke!

You can grab a free & unlimited Personal Learning Edition (PLE) package here.

Several students got noticed thanks to their Golaem project and were able to get a Golaem Artist job in renowned studio. Why not you or your students?!

Red Dawn

by Jean Burtschell from ArtFx

Jean did a great work populating shots with slaves carrying out various tasks. Although he was using a very early version, he grasped at once the purpose of the Golaem Layout Tool for this kind of shots

Charlie Et Ses Grandes Dents

by Chao Hao Yang from Supinfocom Rubika

Chao Hao populated the whole disco club with rabbits and even created a wheat field physically reacting to the main character navigation with Golaem

Parkour

by Jordan Sautron from ICAN

Jordan clervely used a set of parkour motion to create this incredible video with Golaem, after just 2 days of training at ICAN!

Invasion Day

by Dimitri Trouvé from ISART

Dimitri set up a panicking crowd in a destroyed Paris for this incredible end-of-year short movie

Demo Reel

by Romain Le Guillerm from ISART

Romain demonstrated the full extent of his talent over three shots: zombies falling down a cliff (with physics simulation), a wheat field, and a street filled with people

Demo Reel

by Agata Cichosz from Lodz University of Technology

Agata created several shots including armies in formation or running at each others, complete with fx integration.


Golaem, AMA and Trinity College Dublin explore new gaming universes

Golaem, AMA Romania and Trinity College Dublin recently collaborated on the H2020 ICT 18 POPULATE project in order to explore new gameplays and their influence on players.
 
The POPULATE project combines a multi-device approach with 3D crowd generation and advanced behavior management. Using crowd generation and behavior management integrated in Unity, the prototype runs on smartphones and/or tablet devices using smart-glasses as controllers and head-ups display. The game was also used by the GV2 group of Trinity College Dublin to study the perception of gamers to ensure maximum enjoyment and interactivity within the game.
 
 
The game prototype is a 1 vs. 1 asymmetric multiplayer experience that offers radically different gameplay for the players. The Explorer (player 1) plays action adventure game while the Defender (player 2) plays a strategy game, where the Defender is in control of his own army. The common gameplay opposes the Defender, who can use the crowd characters, shoot and cast spells, to the Explorer who can only shoot and cast spells. The gameplay focuses on characters AI, making it the central feature of the game.
 
In order to help game designers generate a population of autonomous characters with just a few step, Golaem built a crowd simulation module for Unity. AMA's designers author populations using the native Unity tools for animation & path-finding/navigation controlled by Golaem behaviors and group navigation algorithms. 
The Golaem Asset Manager enables to easily add and control variety on characters appearance. This proves to be crucial for easily testing players reaction to various characters appearance during the GV2 group experimentations.
 
This Golaem Behavior Editor is a production tool for creating and managing a behavior graph by connecting multiple behaviors to complement the built-in elementary behaviors. The designed behaviors are then executed on a dedicated runtime C# plugin.
 
 
The Population Tool provides an easy way to place characters in the environment, handling the repartition of character types and avoiding obstacles. 
 
Last but not least, thanks to Golaem flexible group navigation algorithm, characters can react as a group in some situations and as a person in others. 
 
 
The Golaem for Unity plugin reduces time spent on designing levels involving autonomous characters, as well as generating diversity among these characters.
 
The current version of the plugin is a prototype, which needs to be improved based on users feedback.
Whether you have an interest in populating 3D worlds for games or for VR/AR, we would be interested to hear from you in order to gather your needs and make sure the final solution built in Unity meets your interests.
 
  
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644655

Golaem 5, Digital Extras At Your Fingertips

Golaem releases Golaem 5, introducing the Layout Tool, a post-simulation edition tool based on Maya manipulators.

Golaem is widely used in the visual effects industry for animating massive scale scenes, like tens of thousands of supporters cheering for you in Guitar Hero Live, or huge armies fighting for the control of the Seven Kingdoms in Game Of Thrones. On top of facilitating the retake workflow for this kind of scenes, the new Layout Tool helps artists to populate smaller scenes where little to no AI is needed but artistic control is key.
 
 

Layout Tool, retake Golaem characters with Maya tools

Golaem 5 enables artists to take control of their simulations results and modify them in a post-simulation step without going back to square one.

Manipulate simulated characters
Simulated Characters can be transformed simply by using the Maya translate, rotate and scale tools and duplicate / kill functions. Artists do not need to care about snapping characters to the ground as it is still automatically done by Golaem.

Edit characters appearance or simply “be lucky”
To add variations, the characters’ props and shading can be randomized or manually hand-picked using the Character Palette.

Retime animation
Animation can be offsetted in time or have its speed increased/decreased. Artists can then easily match their characters timing with an external element or add animation variations on duplicated characters.

Manually offset or edit animation
Artists can also quickly edit postures directly from the simulation layout tool, or import a complete character skeleton to manually animate it.

Change your mind anytime
Because the Layout Tool works as a layer on top of the simulation, it is very quick and all modifications are cancellable or customizable at any time in the History Stack.

Nicolas Chaverou, Golaem Product Manager, explains his vision about the new Golaem Layout Tool: “Getting the last 10% of a shot right can take 90% of the time. It is especially true with crowd simulation. Being able to edit simulations results is a game changer, as it enables artists to immediately answer supervisors’ or director’s requests.”
 
He adds “Before, artists had to go back to the beginning of the workflow to move a character a bit, simulate, re-export everything... All this without even being sure if the modification will be validated or not. Now they can just select a character, translate it left, and it is done! They can see the result at once thanks to Golaem advanced viewport previsualization.”
 

Golaem Layout, now everyone can play with digital extras

To facilitate its adoption in studios workflows, the Layout Tool is also available as a separate product called Golaem Layout. Golaem Layout is a cheaper version of Golaem, stripped of simulation capabilities, and allowing users to visualize and edit existing characters simulations results.
 
This new product will allow studios to envision a different work organization and workflow when dealing with digital extras.


War and peace, visual effects by BlueBolt
 
Artists from other departments (e.g. lighting, fx…), or partner studios, can now get a full previsualization of the simulated characters directly in their viewport without the need of a full license.
 
Senior artists can focus on creating simulations, while new or junior artists will layout shots and perform retakes. A single walking soldier can quickly be duplicated and modified to get a full walking army in formation.
 
Last but not least, Golaem Layout enables studios to build a simulations library and quickly reuse them. For example, a few casual passers-by can be loaded and re-positioned to populate streets in different projects.
 

Special launch discount

Golaem and Golaem Layout rental licenses are available with a 50% discount until March 21st.
  • Golaem (including the Layout Tool) starts from 325 EUR/month (instead of 650 EUR)
  • Golaem Layout starts from 65 EUR/month (instead of 130 EUR)
Get all pricing information on http://buy.golaem.com
Get your free & unlimited Personal Learning Edition (PLE) http://download.golaem.com
 

Learn More

The Layout Tool and other new features in Golaem 5 are detailed in the following introduction videos

Layout Tool
Manipulate and customize simulated characters
Assets Variations
Use the new nodal Character Maker to create characters variations
Trigger Editor
Create advanced conditions for starting/stopping behaviors
Blind Data
Attach your own data to control custom shading, muscles...