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Thread: Crowd instancing question.

  1. #1
    Profesor Pixel Poo Mr Rid's Avatar
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    Crowd instancing question.

    I need to have say a crowd of 100 CG people standing around, facing different directions, and they have some random motion like a typical, waiting crowd. Its easy enough to have one, or a few long animation(s), applied to maybe ten or so different models, randomly instanced, rotated, and with randomly offset animation, so it looks like a convincing crowd. But after several seconds, I need all of the figures to say stop and turn their heads to face camera at the same time. I am tired right now, but I cant concieve of how to do this in LW. Any thoughts? How would I apply random motion to dozens of figures, but then have them all suddenly moving in synch at the same moment?
    Last edited by Mr Rid; 11-06-2013 at 11:44 PM.
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  2. #2
    Super Member vncnt's Avatar
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    If you can get away with a linear motion, create a Rotation Item for every head in Motion Options tab Controllers and Limits. Then animate the percentage of influence via a single MasterChannel.
    Use a set of MasterChannels to add several different turning speeds.

    If there is more time and/or if you need more individual details, you could register for RigManager_beta3 for a maximum of 10.000 character rigs in one scene. Beta3 is about to be released and is free (1 year) during development phase.

    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread....08#post1352208

  3. #3
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    Yeah... tough.

    Obviously you can get the timing of the turn at the dn to sync up, you just have your 10 anims all turn and look at the same time... problem is with the randomised instancing and particularly the rotation of those instance. Though all characters would all stop, turn and look at the same time, they wouldnt all look in the same direction.

    I guess if you keep the feet out of shot somehow then you might be able to get away with rotating the instances also to time in with the animation, bringing them all back into line. Not perfect and could look dodgy, but other than that, I cant think of any way that saves you the laborious task of doing a lot of manual work on all 100.
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  4. #4
    Could you have the heads separate and control them separately? I know it wouldn't look great up close, but you might get away with it from a distance.
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  5. #5
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    Yeah... I guess its either compromises or a fair deal of manual labour... I guess if it were me Id be tempted to attempt a code based approach (essentially writing a basic, task specific crowd simulation system), but that probably wouldnt save you anything time wise as compared to doing it all by hand.
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  6. #6

    what camera angle is it?
    and how close are the characters?
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  7. #7
    Profesor Pixel Poo Mr Rid's Avatar
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    All the figures would be seen head to toe.

    vncnt, all figures would have to turn their heads varying degrees. I've never used Relativity, but glancing at 'Motion Blender,' I dont think that will help, for the same reason.

    I assume this falls in the area of Massive, or coding which I have no clue about. I wonder of Golaem is capable. But it seems like I just need to somehow envelope a 'head target' into overriding the head keyframes. I've needed 'dynamic targeting' before., or 'Dynamic- Use Bones/MDD of Other object.'

    Pooby, yes the head-&-necks could be separately rigged. But there is no getting around the need for randomly offset animation up until the moment the heads turn. But on a particular frame, I could key all bones in place, remove all head keys after that point, then manually key each head to turn. Although I know it wont actually be that simple.
    Last edited by Mr Rid; 11-07-2013 at 11:29 AM.
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  8. #8
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    There's no need to override the head keyframes... just create an offset item under the keyframed head control that gets its own separate animation, giving you additive animation on whats already there... or you could do an override by using a clone head control item, and using a blended SAI to take over at the appropriate point.

    The problem with just focussing on the heads though is what happens to characters who are initially facing away from the camera, unless you can turn the body too on those specific characters, then you're gonna get exorcist heads.

    I imagine a ready to go crowd sim like golaem might be capable, I guess it depends if it has hooks for doing "look at" control for crowds as well as the other stuff (given the use to do stadium crowds, Id guess, yes... but spose you'd have to find out proper one way or the other).

    Otherwise... yep, the only options are to do the targeted heads, clean up any errant body orientations by hand... or code a specific tool. Such a tool wouldnt be that big a deal to build (obv for someone who knows how), but as I say... I doubt it'd be anything of a time saver over the (tedious) manual approach.
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  9. #9
    Registered User ianr's Avatar
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    This seems a coder gig in Massive,but If you get get time
    why don't you contact the German gentleman 'Pille' who is writing
    PAgent or Pagent Rev2.0 a large plug-in for lightwave.
    He's been up on these forums.
    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?132900-
    Multi-agent-system-for-Lightwave-Development-(Pagent-2-0)&highlight=pagent

    P.S. You can call it Children of the Damned Rig.!
    Last edited by ianr; 11-07-2013 at 12:12 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Constrictor Netvudu's Avatar
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    What about having the first animation as an MDD, blended with a bone-driven head animation which points to a point (null or whatever). For starters, only the mdd is coming out from that blending (a mixer node will work) and changing that blending at one point with the motion of another null. That sounds like something pretty doable through the node editor.
    3d animation? Hah! Did you take a look through your window?there´s plenty of it...and pre-rendered!!

  11. #11

    yeah, thought the same, not sure if it would work though, and how much time it would take to set up.

    considering it's only 100 clones, it could be doable.
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  12. #12
    it's a manhole cover ↓ JoePoe's Avatar
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    So, I've sort of cobbled together a way to envelope targeting an object... in this case the camera.

    I hope this type of thing can trickle down instances (which I don't have) so It only has to be done 10 times....

    Okay, not my wheelhouse, but here's the thought....
    For each person (to be instanced) include a null inside the head which is a child of the head bone.
    Target that null to the camera. Animate the person as you will. The null will innocuously alway be facing the camera.
    Use the Orient Constraint motion modifier. At the desired frame give the head bone a constraint that references the null at any specific H P B strengths you want. The head will snap to all the rotation parameters that the null has, which is (of course) pointing at the camera. Create a key (changes the "snap" to a nice curve). Done.

    If it has to be done for all objects.... at least it (seems) to be able to turn heads varying degrees according to their relationship to the camera without have to figure all that out manually.

    If this is way off, maybe it'll trigger another thought for somebody.

    Of course it doesn't address the Exorcist scenario RH pointed out.
    But it did work in my one object test.
    Last edited by JoePoe; 11-07-2013 at 06:45 PM.
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  13. #13

    thought of that, but wouldn't it be kind of static if only the head moved?...
    as usually when you turn, you would turn the body as well...

    edit: yeah see you mentioned that... :]
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  14. #14
    Goes bump in the night RebelHill's Avatar
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    That is basically what I meant above when I said using a cloned head item to SAI blend to... It has to be a sibling item, it CANT be a child of the item constraining toward it as that creates a dependency error (parent follows child which turns with parent, which follows child which turns with parent, etc.) And whilst its a valid method for use on any number of actual boned characters, it cant be done with instances (as you cant instance bone animation like that), so its something you do on multiple clones... but ofc... exorcist.
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  15. #15

    depending on the shot, background characters could be instanced (+head technique mentioned)
    foreground characters could be animated normally, or using the #10 trick...
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