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Mass Driven CGI

Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 12:46am

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Phage

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I just watched the lord of the rings special features and they talked about a program that mass drives CGI in massive amouts they showed a demo of it and they just pressed a button and to large groups of warriors (not yet rendered) started attacking each other, no frames by frame animation they made up there own frames non of them made simular movements either. I was wondering if anybody had a pogram simular to this because i would like it, or if i can buy it.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 12:55am

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TMM

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WOAH - that sounds cool, i want it, and i want it now smile
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 12:59am

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1007

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I watched the program on it too and it said that they had just invented it for the film but in time i am sure that it will eventually trickle down into our amateur special effects community. I hope that this is not an inconvenience for any of you. I am really sorry that I had to break the news to you
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 1:10am

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TMM

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i still want it, and i want it now evil
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 1:18am

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1007

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Maybe if you were a good friend of Peter Jackson or just maybe if you were a friend of some one who works for that company that does the special effects. Maybe then they might just let you stroll in and take the program.

(sorry, I just couldn't leave out the mission impossible-esque dialouge)
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 1:30am

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Phage

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Ya i know it was invented for the film because of its massive battle senes but maybe some one could e-mail someone and offer a price…
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 1:57am

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1007

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I think that the price would be more than expensive at the moment. It just depends on what you are willing to pay
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 2:29am

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iMyles

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Frickin' AWESOME!! I'd like to see that software in action. Guess I'm going to have to by the LOTR DVD. biggrin
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 3:20am

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av11d

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The software WETA used is all in-house proprietary systems, just like ILM had (well, sorta, they just made a custom Maya plug-in.)

However, softimage XSI 3.0 has built in stuff (RTK engine) for crowd animations. It's very cool from what I have read. They are taking a lot of game engine code and starting to use it for crowd animations. Crowd animations in this new version of Softimage are basically utilized using a scripting a language.

There is also a plug-in for Maya called AI Implant (v1.1 and is created by BioGraphic Technologies), which has a 3D crowd engine. That's supposed to be pretty awesome as well.

Check out those two plug-ins/pieces of software. Hope this helps some.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 4:24am

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TMM

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that's really cool - i will look into these more, although i doubt i have the funds to purchase such items sad as most of u know my "field" is 3d stuff, and i am really taking a liking to it, even looking at stuff i cant have and other peoples work smile

on an off topic note: if anyone wants to send me images of their 3d work, or give me urls just PM me and i will give some positive feedback smile

anyway, good work av11d: a well deserved +1 and i will try and look for more information on these 2 items, do u know of any urls that hold such information?
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 4:33am

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av11d

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www.softimage.com has some info. I copied this text from the press statment, so you don't have to go out looking for it:


Coinciding with the release of SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 software, is a new crowd simulation toolkit that introduces digital character choreography and direction to the 3-D effects industry. The toolkit is a sophisticated behavioral animation and crowd simulation system that incorporates full-featured behavioral scripting, visual state-graph editing and dynamic motion synthesis.

The new crowd simulation subsystem, already used by top animation and effects companies in the industry on films like ‘The One’, ‘Napoleon’, and ‘The Scorpion King’, offers a production-proven, high-performance and interactive simulation pipeline for automating behavior for interactive objects, such as flocking, swarming, or 3-D characters in a crowd. With these new features, users can quickly build simple to highly sophisticated multi-object animations involving up to thousands of characters for pre-production visualization and direction to final production, while maintaining the ability to tweak and perfect the results at any time.

“When Softimage showed us the new crowd tools, I decided right there and then it would be the platform for us,” says Jason Barlow, lead character animator at R!OT. “We used it in ‘The One’ to help us realize the vision of director James Wong for a scene involving 1,500 prisoners, all CG, with different behaviors. We had talked to all the other vendors out there and no other platform could have done the job and in the short time we had. We also used the XSI crowd subsystem on ‘The Scorpion King’, where we saved a lot of time and money and were able to keep actors and stuntmen out of harm’s way.”

With SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0, Softimage continues to drive the art of character animation with new cutting-edge additions to character construction and setup, such as options for quickly generating fully customizable, film-quality biped and quadruped set-ups and rigs. The SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 system provides additional flexibility, higher levels of interactivity and simplifies the creation of sophisticated characters. These new tools are also perfect for smaller shops that previously could not afford the investment necessary to develop such high quality characters.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 4:37am

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1007

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Good research I would give you a point or two but I have none so somebody better get this man some points stat!!!
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 8:56am

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otteypm

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I saw one of the documentaries on LOTR they were showing how each character within a scene had four or five actions depending on what was happening around him, he could attack defend, run away etc. The SFX guys also talked about how they had to guide certain individual characters within the simulation as they kept flinging themselves off cliffs.

It must be pretty sophisticated AI programming if they included a suicidal sprite... biggrin
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 12:58pm

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owen rixon

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I got the Softimage 3.0 demo and educational CD, and the lesson about the crowd simulation tool was really good. The craracters start off as blocked representatives of the models that will eventually be in the scene. None of it is animated by the user. Parameters are set, so the sharacters move correctly and dont appear to be floating acreoss the ground. Then the characters can be selected and replaced by different models which will follow the movement of the block representations.

Also, Maya has similar crowd simulation functions. Both softimage and maya have there own programming launguages (SDK and MEL), so once you had learnt them, you could make your own crowd simulation plugin. MEL was used to make the waves in a Perfect Storm, and the muscle systems for characters in the Mummy and the Mummy returns.

This is a link to the sort of software you are looking for. http://www.3-dfx.com/ai_implant.html

All of these are very expensive though. I would reccomend using a particle animation system. Thats how ILM made the scarabs in the Mummy.
Hope this is helpful. biggrin

P.S. I wrote this before I had read av11d's stuff, so sorry if I repeated anything.

Last edited Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 3:49pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 3:32pm

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owen rixon

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After reading this, I have been inspired to write a visual basic program to make large crowds...but dont be looking forward to it to much. My programming ability is very limited, and I will need to get in contact with someone who can program to get some help. If it ever becomes any good, I might make it avaliable to download, but it most probably wont be. lol.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 4:34pm

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v6proz

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Cool!... that software would be useful. To bad they don't have any for 3dsmax. And owen... Write it and charge 1 dollar for every download biggrin
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 5:33pm

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owen rixon

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Here is some more information and stuff.
http://www.unrealpictures.com/
http://ligwww.epfl.ch/~ulicny/publications/cas2001.pdf
http://www.lightwave3d.com/product/feature_list.html
http://www.softimage.com/Corporate/Press/Visuals/
http://ligwww.epfl.ch/~soraia/PhD/PhD99_1.html
I hope this is useful.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 7:20pm

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owen rixon

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HEY!!!!!!!
Look what I found
http://www.massivesoftware.com/
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 7:33pm

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av11d

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Whoa, that's sweet! I guess it will be available later this year. I'm gonna have to make an excuse to buy that piece of software: it just seems so cool.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 7:35pm

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TMM

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WOAH - that makes my list of things to buy a LOT longer neutral ah well smile i really wanna use this software, just make a HUGE battle scene...

I wonder if they used a similar thing for episode2, with all the different things happening in the arena bit, and with the big armies and stuff crazy
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 7:44pm

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av11d

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For the arena bit they used a custom particle-based Maya plug-in. Then choreographers created different animation cycles for the Genosians, for use in the plug-in. The plug-in interface was actually fairly simple and allowed the 3D artists to simply use sliders to control the crowd. I saw some screen shots of the plug-in, it looked pretty cool.
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 9:02pm

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averagejoe

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Massive is $40K USD!!! Crap!!

It is still cool though! I guess I will need to sell a kidney or an other organ to get the money for it. lol
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 10:20pm

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otteypm

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Cool!... that software would be useful. To bad they don't have any for 3dsmax.
They do... It's called Character studio, You create Bipeds set them off walking set parameters for their behavior they will avoid each other or head straight for each other, never used it but I have seen it in action...
Posted: Wed, 14th Aug 2002, 11:02pm

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v6proz

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Yes... i saw that. I was just to thrilled about it so i forgott. I just wanted a software like that lol

hmmm.... how much is c studio?
Posted: Thu, 15th Aug 2002, 9:55am

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otteypm

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it's yours for the bargain price of £1300. eek I suppose there are student versions though.
Posted: Thu, 15th Aug 2002, 12:26pm

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owen rixon

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Here is some info about AI implant.

This was written by Dr. Paul Kruszewski

It's the nature of the entertainment industry to continuously push the boundaries of creativity. Nowhere is this drive stronger than in 3D animation, visual effects and gaming. We've reached a point where hand animation, particle systems and proprietary systems are reaching their natural limits.

Procedural animation — driven by artificial intelligence techniques — is the next frontier. AI animation will augment the abilities of digital entertainers across disciplines. It will give game designers the breadth, independence and tactics of film actors. Filmmakers will get the depth and programmability of an infinite number and real time game style characters.

Presently, the field of AI animation is limited to a handful of elite studios that have developed their own proprietary tools. This is akin to the early movie makers like the Lumiere Brothers, who had no choice but to build their own cameras. Just as the commercial camera company filled the "camera gap," so too will commercial AI animation bring AI to digital content creators everywhere.

Based on our production experience, any successful commercial AI animation solution must provide tools for AI-to-AI interaction, AI to hand-drawn character interaction and AI to world interaction. In addition, success demands a low learning curve, inter-operability, platform independence and — when required — access "under the hood" for custom jobs and pipelines.

I believe that AI represents a potential quantum leap in digital entertainment production and consumption — easily as significant as the introduction of non-linear 3D animation a scant 3 years ago. I will even venture to predict that by 2010, advances in AI animation will cause the following:

* Human extras will rarely be used in film productions
* The entertainment industry will become the dominant force in AI development
* AI animation will be the standard way to animate characters
* 3D content creation systems and game engines will be virtually identical


AI implant can be used alngside Maya, Softimage, Lightwave and 3Ds Max.
The user sets the scenario and the computer carries it out. For example:
Roman soldiers march in formation against beast warriors. Once in fighting range, the Romans will prefer to attack a beast warrior chieftain. The Romans never run away.

The Beast warrior chieftain runs at full speed towards the Roman army and attacks the closest Roman he can find. The other beast warriors follow the chieftain. They will fight the Romans as long as their chieftain is alive. Once their chieftain has been killed, they will run away.

Here is the website. http://www.ai-implant.com/
I hope this was useful biggrin
Posted: Sat, 17th Aug 2002, 4:43pm

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Seth

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Theres a vert high possiblilty that Maya was used as it has features that do exactly that, albeit with a tad of tweaking to get it right - unfortunately Maya is a power-hungry bastard and requires a very high spec PC, however it will do something similar to that of what was created in Lord of the Rings - you can download the rather large Personal Learning Edition of Maya - however this is a waste of time as although it says it contains all the tools it doesn't and there is a watermark on all animations and stills that are rendered - so i would suggest searching the net for a cracked copy as buying the software is not the best idea seeing as it is arounf £4,000.

Hope this helps
Seth