Crowd Environment PreVis

Introduction

For my senior project I am interested in exploring crowd logic and interactions. Both Golaem and Houdini will be used to produce crowds out of agents that are made by myself or Mixamo. I will also be using my own motion capture along with a mix of Mixamo animations. 

Houdini Crowd Test

Thanks to the awesome people at Golaem, I have received a year of access to their crowd simulation plugin. These are some very early tests. It will be fun to compare the similarities and differences between the software capabilities.

White Walker Crowd Sim

Process

The concept will include agent interactions with not only the environment, but also props such as arrows and other agents. My goal is to also place them in a realistic environment using Houdini Arnold and Redshift. The Hero shots may not be up to photo realistic standards due to the limitations of the textures. I may have to recruit some help in that endeavor.

The environment will be grasslands with rugged  hills and wooded areas. The following photos are some of the early pre-visualization renders that I have been building as I begin to set up the individual shots. The trees will be modeled in Speedtree and the environment will be a mixture of Terrigen and Houdini heightfields.

grass11.jpg

Agents

The agents will be rigged with Mixamo and prepared for baking in Houdini. The motion capture will be cleaned up with Vicon Blade and Motion Builder prior to being incorporated into Houdini.

brutecrowd.jpg

Updated Arnold Shader and Tracking

They say three times is a charm. I re-shot the footage a third time and finally was able to pull a halfway decent track. I struggled with my original two tracks for many, many embarrassing hours. They drab colors along with my inability to understand how to frame track-able backgrounds worked really well together. It's all a learning experience, so they say. Lets start with some good news. The photo below is an updated render of the VTOL with Arnold shaders. It is starting to look much better but still needs work.

The next group of photos follow the usual setup. Notice this time I managed to frame lots of detail to help Nuke better track the shot.

The next group of photos are a short series of screen captures that show the track and the point cloud.

Now that I have imported everything into Maya there is a large mess to unwrap. Any progress is good progress. I clearly screwed up scaling along with the xyz axis.

Putting it all Together


I am far from happy with my results so far. The project needs a lot of work and the clock is ticking. The above images include CG representation of the sphere and cube, this helps me align the cameras and match the sunlight and shadows within Maya. The cube is for perspective and alignment while the sphere is to see the specular diffusion cast from the software lights. Below are some test renders within Maya, They include the sky dome, spotlight, dragon, and a ground projection of the environment.


These are some of my original test renders and variations of the shader as I explore Arnold and fine tune the lighting. The render layers include Sky dome, direct sun, object occlusion, ground shadow, and ground occlusion. The next step is to bring them into Nuke and see how they look stacked up.

Nuke is a cruel mistress. Compositing is fun but a new mountain to tackle. I have included some early srcreen grabs of the layers within Nuke. I am in the process of sett