Introduction to Golaem

Taught by Gareth Stevenson

Course Number:
Software Version:
Golaem 6 
Original Run Date:
November 2017 
5 hours 46 minutes 
Golaem Crowd is an artist friendly crowd simulation tool for Maya used in production by a long and growing list of visual effect studios. With Golaem it's easy to create diversity and apply behaviors to create natural looking crowds in a shorter time than has traditionally been possible. This introductory course assumes no previous knowledge of Golaem Crowd, but covers all aspects of the software and is based on direct production experience, so even existing users should find something new to learn.

After an overview of the software to give a sense of how the various tools work together, weíll go through each element of Golaem Crowd in the order they'd be used to build a shot, from integrating custom Maya assets to crowd distribution, behaviors, simulation and rendering. While the course is pegged as introductory, it will quickly progress to cover more difficult subjects and more intermediate-level techniques.

Gareth Stevenson has been working professionally as a 3D Generalist / Crowd TD since 2010. Heís worked on many film projects including Hugo, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Program, Suffragette and Florence Foster Jenkins, and TV series including Da Vinci's Demons and Outlander. He's currently working Freelance with his most recent job being Game of Thrones Season 7 at Mackevision in Stuttgart. His latest showreel can be found here:
Introduction to Golaem
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

Overview and First Crowd Setup. We'll touch on each of the main tools as we go through the process of setting up a basic spectator crowd, from an empty scene to render. You'll get a feel for the overall crowd workflow and an understanding of how the different parts of Golaem work together.

Class 2

Character Maker - Skeleton Definition and Motion Conversion. We begin the conversion of Maya assets to custom Golaem Crowd formats by translating our Maya character skeleton into a Golaem Character Definition. We'll look at some of the animation editing tools, output a Golaem animation file and learn how to translate animation from one skeleton to another. Finally we'll take a look at a custom character set up for a crowd, a hybrid cyclist/bike skeleton.

Class 3

Character Definition and Asset Management. Continuing to set up our Maya assets, this week we'll look at how we use character geometry and materials in the crowd. We'll set up a custom character, learning how to switch between multiple pieces of geometry and materials on a single character type and some tricks we can use to create additional visual diversity.

Class 4

Entity Distribution/Placement. Now we have our crowd assets we can start to place them in an environment. We'll look at various techniques that allow us to do this, from the standard population tool to the paint tool and generating particles from an image.

Class 5

Behavior Editor - Operators, Triggers and Motion Behavior. In this class we'll start to examine ways we can create behaviors for our crowd entities. We'll learn about the nodes we can use to build behavior trees such as logic operators, containers and stop/start triggers.

Class 6

Behavior Editor - Character Locomotion. The locomotion behavior enables us to have walking crowd characters that use ground adaptation and dynamically switch animations. We'll set up a walking crowd and spend some time with related elements including navmesh creation, obstacles, goto and navigation behaviors.

Class 7

Additional Behaviors. We'll go through some additional behaviors and settings that can be used with our crowd characters, such as 'constraint', 'formation' and 'look at' behaviors. We'll also take a look at the flocking behavior that can be used for groups of birds and other flying creatures.

Class 8

Simulation, Layout and Rendering. We'll go through the process of simulating and rendering before taking a look at two powerful new tools, the simulation cache library and layout.

Class 9

Behavior Editor - Physics. Back into the Behavior Editor one last time to show how we can integrate ragdoll physics and forces with our crowd characters. We'll set up a scene with guys falling over obstacles, falling over each other, rolling down a slope and getting thrown onto the ground by an explosion.

Class 10

Tips and Tricks. We'll look at some useful techniques across several areas of Golaem, including ways to iterate more quickly on your simulation, making global changes to attributes, how to create greater visual diversity from just one texture, quickly editing animation files and how to set up avoidance for non-crowd animated elements in your scene.