Moonshine Animation recently adopted crown engine software Atoms Crowd from Toolchef. ‘We are so pleased to welcome Moonshine on board as a client of Atoms Crowd, they do some really great work and we can’t wait to see what they have lined up for the future. We only launched Atoms Crowd commercially late last year and have been overwhelmed by the level of interest we have had already. We look forward to a very busy 2018.” Vikki Hamilton, Head of Sales and Marketing.
Founded in 2014 by Daniele Federico and Alan Stanzione, who between them have more than 20 years experience within the VFX and Animation industries. Daniele specializes in animation, rigging and pipeline development and has worked on projects to include Gravity, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Happy Feet 2, The Guardians of the Galaxy to name a few. Alan has a degree in Electronic Engineering and was the main developer of the MPC crowd engine ALICE for many years. ALICE has been used in movies like World War Z, Guardians of the Galaxy, Exodus, Maleficent, 300: Rise of an empire and many others. ToolChefs specialize in creating unique plugins for a variety of software packages, such as Autodesk Maya, The Foundry Nuke, SideFX Houdini and Newtek Lightwave.
About Atoms Crowd
Atoms Crowd is a crowd simulation framework which is skeleton based, modular and fully customizeable via c++ or python. Atoms Crowd is integrated with Maya, Houdini and Katana but is also a standalone application and supports Vray, Renderman and Arnold
Q&A’s with David Lai – Pipeline TD for Moonshine Animation, Taipei.
• Can you give me a quick overview of your company?
Moonshine Animation offers high quality animation, visual effects, and R & D labs, our services feature product animation, visual effects, motion design, virtual reality, and pipeline research development.
• Can you describe your role within the organisation?
I am a pipeline TD at MoonShine Animation. I work with our animation team to troubleshoot technical issues and ensure the workflow between Maya and Houdini during production runs smoothly. I also script in python to make tools to assist our artists.
• Please can you give us a brief synopsis of the project that prompted you to look at Atoms Crowd.
We have been tasked with creating a commercial for a China game app. Environment background is ancient China where two armies battle on a field in front of city wall. Film length is about 30 seconds, and the end shot is a fast camera dolly across the entire battlefield, flying through lots of soldiers and props. The speed of the camera is very fast and the soldiers will show a vast array of poses.
• What challenges were you facing with this particular job? Did you have any major pain points that you needed to address?
In our studio, the FX team mainly used Houdini with crowd simulation previously being done in Maya. When we wanted to make a scene that had a lot of people running or moving, most of the time we would also want the crowd to have interaction with the ground, like dust clouds or smoke, and for this to be customizable. So, before Atoms Crowd, if we wanted to add more FX in the crowd scene, there was some loss of detail due to the file exchange of crowd simulation between Maya and Houdini. Now we have Atoms Crowd, not only can we easily pass the Atoms cache to do FX, but we also have more control and can include more detailed behaviour in Houdini.
• Can you talk a little bit about the decision-making process and why you chose us over the competition?
Atoms Crowd supports both Maya and Houdini, which is vital for a studio like ours.
• Can you talk a bit about your existing pipeline and how easy you found integrating Atoms Crowd into this?
We use Python to do a lot of the pipeline integration. Atoms has a really good and clear API which makes managing our workflow easier and quicker to maintain.
• How did you find working with us to deliver a solution and our response times to your requests?
Really quick and nice, we are really happy to have Atoms Crowd as part of our arsenal to help us create fantastic crowd scenes.
• How do you see working with us and our products in the future?
Very exciting, since the foundation of working between Maya and Houdini has been built nicely, there are really a lot of things we can do together in the future.
Atom Crowd Introduction
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