By coupling the Golaem Vignettes concept, the Layout Editor, and new plugins for various file formats and DCCs (USD, Houdini, Unreal, Katana, 3dsMax), Golaem characters are going more and more out of the crowd department. They become a cross-pipeline data format for animated characters, cars, trees, and so on.
The latest features in Golaem 7.3 illustrate this vision and simplify interaction with the FX department, as well as using Golaem for set dressing and environment creation.
In the Covid-19 context, to keep in touch with its users, Golaem will demonstrate this new version and do some tutorials live online during the following weeks.
USD Procedural Plugin
Golaem introduces a procedural plugin for Pixar’s USD, enabling to efficiently load Golaem characters in the USD pipeline, therefore making them directly usable in many digital content creation tools supporting USD such as Houdini, Katana, and more. Coupled with our Python-based Layout Editor, it makes it a powerful and versatile tool for populating scenes, available everywhere without much pipeline integration efforts.
The Golaem for USD procedural plugin is available for USD Standalone, Houdini and Katana. The procedural code has also been open-sourced for studios needing to build it themselves.
On top of its artistically controllable character geometry and shading variation system, Golaem now ships with a morphological variation feature.
Within the same Character, one can define different kinds of morphologies (small, tall, thin, fat...) by defining scale ranges for every bone and control their assignment and even mix them to obtain variations inside a population, while retaining artistic control along the whole shot creation process. The generated characters definitely look more diverse and natural.
Golaem 7.3 introduces a new type of Population Tool enabling to distribute characters, or trees, rocks, buildings more naturally, in order to address set dressing use cases.
This new scattering method features fall-off, clustering, decimating depending on slope or distance to an object, normal alignment of placed characters, and so on.
To make the workflow smoother, an instant character preview has also been added and the instancing capabilities has been optimized to support in-character instancing (e.g for leaves in a tree character).
Skinning Animated Fur
Since its introduction in Golaem 6.4, mesh deformed fur has been successfully used for short hair and coats in multiple high end projects such as The Adams Family, Ford vs Ferrari or Lost In Space Season 2.
Golaem 7.3 goes further and enables to really skin the fur with the character and deform it along its animation.
Coupled with Golaem physics simulation, it even enables to simulate fur dynamics on a crowd at a very low cost, like in the demonstration video.
The workflow is still compatible with most of the major fur simulation solutions (Xgen, Yeti, Ornatrix,…) and proprietary engines provided they can be imported within Maya as curves (or Alembic curves).
Artist friendly animation retake in the Layout Tool
Golaem 7.3 enhances the Golaem Layout Rig Node, which is able to emulate a Maya IK/FK rig on top of any Golaem cached character. This rig can be seamlessly used by animators to retake a character animations within Maya and promote them without going out the crowd pipeline.
This new tool enables studios to build libraries of Golaem Population Vignettes so that their Layout team and animators can easily put them in a scene and quickly retake their animation to adapt them to the creative needs.
Last but not least, Golaem 7.3 also comes with Maya 2020 support.