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Golaem ships Golaem Crowd 1.4, including Mental Ray procedural rendering

Golaem announces the latest update to Golaem Crowd, the crowd simulation software for Autodesk Maya. Golaem Crowd 1.4 includes support for Mental Ray procedural rendering, geometry instancing, as well many others improvements.


Golaem Crowd has recently been used by award-winning Zoic Studios to meet the timing and quality challenge of crowds in episodic productions. According to Mike Romey, Pipeline Supervisor, “Golaem Crowd allowed us to speed up production and meet our clients visual and cost expectations. Artists quickly flock to Golaem Crowd because of its complementary interface to Maya and ease of use.”


Mental Ray Support

On top of Pixar Renderman, V-Ray and Renderman compatible renderers, Golaem Crowd 1.4 now brings its fast crowd rendering techniques to studios using Mental Ray, thanks to native .mi files export and a dedicated procedural rendering plugin.


Both Mental Ray standalone and Mental Ray for Maya are supported.


Geometry Instancing

Golaem Crowd 1.4 brings the ability to declare characters as geometry instances in order to allow rendering thousands of entities with amazing performances.

French award-winning VFX studio Mikros Image used this new Geometry Instancing technique to fill a stadium in the last Nissan Juke commercial. When asked about Golaem Crowd, Christophe Huchet, VFX Producer says “The shots were very short, with a blurry background (because of motion blur, or just to put more emphasis on the Nissan Juke), so we had to make the stadium population process very simple and straightforward”. Guillaume Parra, VFX artist adds “Depending on shots, we had to generate between 5 000 and 12 000 characters. I was amazed by how fast it is to render using procedural rendering, and how easy it is to set up a shot once assets are ready. I am thrilled to try next Golaem Crowd releases”.

To push limits even further, Mikros Image R&D team created this demonstration video where 120K characters team up to create the Golaem logo

Golaem Crowd 1.4 bug fixes and improvements are detailed in the release notes.

Golaem Crowd is compatible with Autodesk Maya 2011, 2012 and 2013 for Windows and Linux.

For more information about Golaem Crowd:


Zoic Studios gears up for Crowd Simulation with Golaem Crowd

 

Zoic Studios is an award-winning digital studio involved in producing high-end visual effects and animation for feature films, episodic television, commercials, video games and interactive media. Spanning from visual effects, to live action production and specialty shooting, Zoic Studios’ imprint can be seen on V, CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, Fringe, or True Blood.  Zoic Studios has offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Read Zoic Studios Pipeline Supervisor's interview to learn how Zoic Studios speed up their productions and meet our clients visual and cost expectations with Golaem Crowd!


Render your crowds on the Cloud

Pixar announced today the availability of their new cloud rendering service called "RenderMan® On Demand™." (see their press release). Developed in collaboration with pioneering cloud services provider GreenButton, this service is now available on Microsoft's Windows® Azure with Linux availability following later in 2012.

The good news is that, as we were lucky enough to beta-test it, Golaem Crowd is readily available with this service! See our complete use case showing how easy and powerful it is.

Quoted in Pixar's press release, Nicolas Chaverou, Golaem Crowd Product Manager, confirms how convenient and powerful RenderMan® On Demand™ is: "Working within a tight deadline has always been difficult especially when rendering animation at the very last minute. In spite of the time difference, the process was very straightforward, asset upload and distribution on the Cloud, and 54 minutes of Cloud Rendering later it was in a wrap instead of the 20 days it would have otherwise required. Magic! In addition, GreenButton provided great support including feedback about improving our pipeline."

 

Last but not least, the video we made to demonstrate the service was chosen by CG Channel (here) and fxguide (here) to illustrate their article about Pixar annoucement . Thanks guys!


How the Cloud saved our Crowd

Working within a tight deadline has always been a bad idea, especially when dealing with rendering: even if your demo is ready decades before your D-Day, you cannot be safe until you've made some rendering tests... and not even talking about crowd to render... So when we realized that each image of our 40sec crowd demo for Siggraph Asia would require 30 minutes of computation, that we only had one node available for rendering and that there were only 10 days before us, we thought something like "oh oh, it's looking pretty bad".

Well, don't misunderstand me, as Golaem Crowd relies on procedural rendering, generating the crowd geometry at render time is really fast and efficient. But you know, rendering engines have always lots to do and increasing the amount of geometry to render, has consequences. Here's an illustration of the apportioning of the rendering time for a frame of our crowd demo (2000 characters, 1080p, motion blur...):

Fortunately for us and for the sake of Siggraph Asia, we have some great partners. While we were preparing ourselves a slipknot, the guys from Pixar Renderman had a brilliant idea: what about sending our demo on the beta Pixar Renderman cloud rendering solution (powered by the great guys at Green Button using Windows Azure)?

54minutes of Cloud Rendering later, it was in a wrap: magic!

On top of that, we were lucky enough to be invited to tell about our epic story and share our experience at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 Renderman User Group Meeting (thanks Dylan!). Here are the slides (with some funny pictures and more information about GreenButton Cloud & process). Enjoy it:


Golaem is hiring a Senior C++ Software Engineer

We hire our collaborators based on their talents and abilities, if you think you have what it takes, contact us!

See the offer on our brand new career page: http://golaem.com/content/careers