Used Massive Software

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"If you wait for opportunities to occur, you will be one of the crowd."
Edward de Bono

Ever since I've been interested in creature work for film, I've wanted to do
crowd simulations (directing a large number of objects or characters using procedural animation and artificial intelligence). Because I have been facing my last days at ILM, I've been thinking about taking opportunities to learn things I did not get to learn at work.

One of software programs used for this is
Massive (Multiple Agent Simulation System in Virtual Environment) which according to their website is "the premier simulation and visualization solution system for generating and visualizing realistic crowd behaviors and autonomous agent driven animation for a variety of industries, including film, games, television, architecture, transportation, engineering, and robotics."

Massive was originally developed for the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 2003. Since then, it's become the leading software for crowd related visual effects for film, television and commercials.
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As you may have learned about me by now, I like to believe that it's never too late for me to learn something new, so I decided to take an online course on Massive where I'd also get access to their license.

I started by building a car agent, which is a single unit that can be used in a simulation. While it's not quite modeling, making these units does involve manipulating primitive shapes. The tools are definitely different from Maya (which we use for modeling at ILM) and even navigating the viewport felt strange at first.
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Manipulating values is a bit different than I'm used to in other programs I've used as the attribute editor is on the bottom of the layout.
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After making my simple car, I was able to place a bunch of them at one time and have them rotated and arranged in a fairly quick manner.
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Working with Massive for the first time was a cool experience. As I stated earlier, the program is quite a bit different from Maya, so it took a little getting used to, but I feel familiar enough with the interface to learn more things pretty quickly now. I'm really looking forward to finding out about agent brains, motion trees, cloth, and different terrains.

This is an aspect of computer graphics that I've been fascinated by for a long time, and now I'm finally taking the opportunity to learn it. Massive is interesting, challenging, and a valuable part of the industry that I work in.

Related Item:
Iterative Software Engineering for Multiagent Systems: The MASSIVE Method (Lecture Notes in Computer Science / Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence)

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