“Mobilizing Mocap, Motion Blending, and Mayhem: Rig Interoperability for Crowd Simulation on Incredibles 2”

  • ©Paul Kanyuk, Patrick Coleman, and Jonah Laird


Entry Number: 52


    Mobilizing Mocap, Motion Blending, and Mayhem: Rig Interoperability for Crowd Simulation on Incredibles 2



    The stylized world of Incredibles 2 features large urban crowds both in everyday situations and in scenes of panicked mayhem. While Pixar’s now academy award winning animation software, Presto, has allowed us to create expressive and nuanced rigs for our crowd characters, our proprietary approach has made it difficult to utilize animation from external sources, such as crowd simulations or from motion capture. In this talk, we discuss how we can automatically approximate our complex rigs with skinned skeletons, as well as how this has opened up our crowd pipeline to procedural look-ats, motion blending, ragdoll physics, and motion capture. In particular, the use of motion capture is novel for Pixar, and finding a way to integrate this workflow into our animator-centric pipeline and culture has been an ongoing effort. The system we designed allows us to capture motion data for multiple characters in the context of complex shots in Presto, and it facilitates choreography of nuanced and specifically timed crowd motions. Together with traditional hand animated motion cycles, our crowd choreography tools in Presto [Arumugam et al., 2013], and skeletal agent based simulation in SideFX’s Houdini [SideFX, [n. d.]] via our MURE tools [Gustafson et al., 2016], the crowds team on Incredibles 2 produced rich scenes of busy streets and urban panic.


    Hemagiri Arumugam, Michael Frederickson, and J. D. Northrup. 2013. Crowds at Monsters University. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2013 Talks (SIGGRAPH ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 51, 1 pages.
    Stephen Gustafson, Hemagiri Arumugam, Paul Kanyuk, and Michael Lorenzen. 2016. MURE: Fast Agent Based Crowd Simulation for VFX and Animation. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2016 Talks (SIGGRAPH ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 56, 2 pages.
    Vincent Serritella, David Lally, Brian Larsen, Farhez Rayani, Jason Kim, and Matt Silas. 2017. Smash and Grab: Off the Rails Filmmaking at Pixar. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2017 Talks (SIGGRAPH ’17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 46, 2 pages.
    SideFX. {n. d.}. Company Website: http://sidefx.com.
    Vicon. {n. d.}. Company Website: https://www.vicon.com/.



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