Population Tool Context

The Population Tool Context provides an easy way to create Population Tool Locators in Maya.


  • Golaem Shelf: 
  • Golaem Menu: Population Tool
  • MEL command: glmPopulationToolCmd;


The Population Tool Context Settings window is divided in three panels.

Population Settings

This panel defines the shape of the new created Population Tool Locator.

Population Settings layout
The center point shape creates particles in a grid centered on a point clicked inside the viewport. This shape allows modifying rows and columns, you can use it for designing squads in a battle scene for example
The quad shape creates particles in a quad by clicking and dragging inside the viewport
The polygon shape creates particles in a polygon, drawn by clicking inside the viewport. This shape needs three points at least. You can remove the last point by pressing the backspace key or combining mouse left click and Ctrl key. The relative Population Tool Locator will be created by pressing the enter key or mouse middle click
The circle shape creates particles in a circle by clicking a center point and dragging the radius inside the viewport
The triangle shape creates particles in an isosceles triangle by clicking and dragging inside the viewport
The sphere shape creates particles in a sphere by clicking a center point and dragging the radius inside the viewport. You can use this shape for placing flocking birds, for example

Populate in Selection

This panel provides two solutions to populate the current Maya selection.
Populate in Selection layout

This tool creates a center point shape placed on each selected objects or components (edges, vertices, faces, particles in component mode...). In this mode, the Population Tool slots will orient in the same direction than the objects or component. If populated on particles on component mode, it will read the orientation from a vector PPAttribute named glmSrcDirection which represents the forward direction of the slot (1,0,0 for X facing).

You can use this solution for placing characters on every seat of a stadium, for example.

Populate selection in vertex mode (left) and face mode (right)

This tool creates a polygon shape according to the selected non-volumetric mesh borders. The new Population Tool Locator is automatically connected to the relative mesh, and matches the mesh geometry even after modifying it. This mode only works with surface polygon meshes without holes.

Polygon shape matches the bent mesh geometry

This tool creates slots around the selected curves, the row count can be configured as well as slot distance and noise. If the curve is part of a Traffic Locator, the information from the traffic will be used : right / left lane count and separation. The population tool will also avoid to populate on crossings.It makes it easy to populate scenes once the traffic is setup.


Polygon shape matching a standard curve, and population of a traffic scene via populate on curve tool

This tool scatters slots around a random position on the mesh. The base position can be picked randomly every x samples (see Scatter Attributes). The slots are spanned randomly via a poisson disc law, applied in 3D. Works best with Orient On Ground Normal enabled.

Slots scattered on a sphere, with "orient normal on ground" option ON

Scatter population works on any geometry, here a Nefertiti head model

This tool uses particles / nParticles emitted from Maya emitters and adds Golaem population to them. 

  • The base object, to select, is the particle / nParticle system
  • The count of particles transformed in Golaem entities must be set as population tool count
  • You may need to set the start frame of the crowdManager / crowdField one frame later (eg 2 against default 1), due to some specific nParticles inner mechanics

PopulationTool on a nParticle system, limited to 50 first particles

It is important to notice that all geometries used to populate on must be frozen before painting on it.

Entity Types

All Entity Types registered in the Crowd Manager are listed in this panel. Selected Entity Types will be used for the Slots in the Population Tool Locator.

Entity Types layout without and with Entity Types
Notice that if you miss this step you will still be able to add or remove Entity Types during the Population Tool Locator configuration.