Since my introduction of crowd props to iClone with the Generation 1 Peeps I have been working on Generation 2 and Generation 3 Peeps ( both as yet unreleased) that have more detail but still allow for multi-duplicating small, medium and large crowds. This has evolved into the Total Crowd Solution series that will contain different generations of peeps for most camera shot needs.
Generation 1 – The Balloon Heads, as I refer to them, are extreme low poly (around 912k) which allows for thirty peeps to be placed in a scene with no more poly count than one standard (30K) iClone character. This doesn’t mean they will perform as one peep as it does carry the overhead of controlling say 30 characters onscreen instead of one but there is no problem with poly count and depending on your computer (and the project) you can place hundreds of these in a scene. This is a long distance or Depth of Field solution.
Generation 2 – Same body technique (character is extruded from a single box with stack modifiers) to keep polys low while a decimated higher poly head was grafted onto the peep body. These provide medium distance crowds.
Generation 3 – Created in zBrush in high poly form then decimated and reduced to the 3k to 4k poly range. This allows for up to ten G3’s to be on the screen for the same poly overhead as one standard iClone character. This gives us the ability to drop-in and duplicate several, more camera friendly, peeps to the scene.
With this technique you can mix in regular, high poly avatars as your main characters giving you four levels of detail from close to distant!
Below you will see my first Drop-In Crowd in action. This prop was needed for a freelance project and it is now available to iClone users in the Marketplace.
With the introduction of prop animation in version 5 these Peeps can be selected individually to be moved around and even reposed AFTER the initial group motion is applied. The group motion is built into the entire peep crowd and is triggered with a couple of clicks of the mouse. The group motion needs to be applied first or else the Peeps will return to their original position and pose if the motion is applied again.
This is just the beginning of several Drop-In Crowds and other crowd solutions that will be released in the coming months as testing is completed on each component of the TCS system.
My main goal, as always, is to provide simple drop-in assets that are pre-animated so any animator can use them, experienced or novice and to price them at levels that don’t break the bank.