Golaem released Golaem 7.3, the latest update of its crowd simulation system for Maya, and added a USD plugin for exporting Golaem caches to compatible tools such as Houdini in USD format.
Other features added since Golaem 7.0 include morphology variations for crowd characters, skinned animated fur support, and a new object scattering system for shooting images.
An intuitive crowd animation tool that uses standard Maya workflows
Since its launch in 2011, Golaem has been taken over by many of the VFX industry's key institutions and has worked on Game of Thrones in no less than four separate studios.
It was developed with the goal of providing a more intuitive workflow than traditional simulation software, allowing users to use Maya's native tools to control crowd behavior.
Golaem also includes tool sets for creating custom AI logic, generating automatic variations of crowd characters, and interactively viewing and editing simulations.
The output is natively compatible with Arnold, Guerilla Render, Redshift, RenderMan and V-Ray. Users can output to other DCC tools for rendering, including 3ds Max, Houdini, and Unreal Engine.
New in Golaem 7.3: New USD process plugin, new "animation retake" system
The most important change in Golaem 7.3 is the stable release of the new USD process plugin, which allows users to export Golaem simulation caches to other DCC software in the now VFX industry standard USD format.
Readymade plugins are available for Houdini, Katana and the USD standalone, but Golaem has now released the source code under a LGPL license for studios that need to create plugins for other software.
The version also provides support for animation levels in the posture and rig levels of the layout tool.
Golaem describes the update as creating a “full replay tool” to customize crowd character animation after simulation without an artist having to leave the crowd pipeline.
New since Golaem 7.0: morphology variants for crowd characters, skinning for animated fur
Since we last wrote about the software, Golaem has added new override nodes to its character maker to represent different morphologies within the same character file.
They make it possible to generate a wider range of variation for crowd actors, as shown in the video above.
In addition to automatically generating variations in the shading of characters, hair, and clothing, users can also generate characters with different heights and body proportions.
Golaem now also supports the correct skinning of characters with procedural fur, so that the fur can move more naturally with the crowd animation.
The new workflow is compatible with any system that can export fur as Mayan or Alembic curves, including third-party plugins like Yeti and Ornatrix.
New object spreading system for recordings
The updates also continue the trend that has been established in the latest versions of the Golaem expansion from a crowd-only simulation system to a more general shot layout tool.
The population tool, which is used to place crowd characters in a scene, has a new scattering mode that can be used to distribute surrounding objects such as trees, rocks and buildings.
Assets can be spread over random starting positions in a terrain or in user-defined regions. and decimated according to surface angle or distance from an object.
Pricing and availability
Golaem 7.3 is available for Maya 2017+ and runs on 64-bit Windows 7+ or CentOS / RHEL WS 6+ Linux.
Continued use of the entire software costs $ 9,000. Golaem Layout, the scaled-down version of the software that focuses on the layout of recordings, costs $ 2,300. A comparison table of the two editions can be found here.
Rental options are also available.
Read an overview of the new features in Golaem 7.3 on Golaem's blog
(Contains features added in Golaem 7.2)
For a complete list of changes in Golaem 7.3, see the online documentation
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