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Massive Agents to Invade SIGGRAPH 2004

Massive, developer of the premiere 3D animation system for artificial intelligence-driven, crowd-related visual effects is streamlining the generation of arena spectators, crowds moving en masse and large-scale digital armies with breakthrough Ready-to-Run Agents. These pre-built agents can be easily dropped into shots to create 3D character-based crowd scenarios allowing animators to significantly speed up their workflow. The initial agents, debuting Aug. 10-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center during SIGGRAPH 2004 at New Zealand booth #1521, are the first in a series of agent "sets" that will make up the growing Massive Ready-to-Run Agent Library.

Each Ready-to-Run Agent is immediately available to the artist as a pre-built asset comprising all of the facets routinely found in a Massive agent - from skeletons, geometry and rigid body dynamics, to textures, shaders and choreography controls. Each agent features high-quality motion capture actions provided by industry leader Giant Studios.

"Massive was designed to speed the work of creative people, even in the face of enormous-scale challenges," said Massive founder and product manager Stephen Regelous. "With Ready-to-Run Agents, Massive artists at large effects studios or small start-ups will be able to almost instantly begin focusing on the artistic design, composition and special needs of the shot by shortcutting the agent pre-production period."

"Our Ready-to-Run Agents make populating a large scene with Massive easily accessible to all visual effects artists," added Diane Holland, Massive's ceo. "Just one Massive license coupled with a Ready-to-Run Agent from our library allows a single animator to produce a complicated crowd shot in days instead of weeks or months. When you need to put a crowd in a coliseum or send a mob over a hill, plug in a Ready-to-Run Massive Agent and the shot is practically done."

Supervisors, animators and technical directors from THE LORD OF THE RINGS to I, ROBOT depend on Massive to run realistic 3D characters that act responsively to things going on around them. "Massive played a key role for us in making visual effects history on THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. I am looking to Massive again to help us produce a truly original experience for filmgoers as we proceed with visual effects production," says Dean Wright, visual effects producer for the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and vfx supervisor on CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.

The initial sets in the Ready-to-Run Agent Library being announced by Massive at SIGGRAPH include:

* Massive Spectator SetThe initial agent available in this set is Stadium Guy, which provides all of the actions and reactions that go along with filling an arena with a cast of thousands - from cheering and clapping throngs to people going for popcorn.

* Crowds on the Move - Massive's Set of Locomotion Extras Loco Guy kicks off this set with a motion library specific to digital extras that run, walk and stand en masse.

* Massive Ambient Action SetLow-key background activities such as milling about and engaging in casual conversation will be provided by this action set, whose first agent release has been affectionately named Ambient Man.

* Massive Combat Collection SetPre-built Massive agents in this set will battle it out with actions and responses appropriate for fight scenes of all varieties, including medieval sword fighting. The first agent in this series, due to ship later this year, is the Medieval Swordsman.

Introduction of the Ready-to-Run Agents feature set at SIGGRAPH continues the path of innovation at Massive that began in the early 1990s, when Regelous evolved his basic concept for a system to generate animation with AI-driven autonomous agents, and refined it working for director Peter Jackson on THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

Massive customer The Mill in London recently received the highest honor awarded for a television commercial, the "Cannes Lions Grand Prix," for its first project using Massive software. The Cannes judges praised the "magnitude of execution" on the PlayStation MOUNTAIN spot, and further honored The Mill for its second Massive project, THE OTHER GAME, for Nike, which garnered a Bronze award. The use of Massive on these commercials will be demonstrated at Massive's booth during SIGGRAPH.

The permanent interactive license price for Massive is $18,000, and additional licenses can be leased as needed for $2,000 per license per month, including support. Massive customers choose one of three agents (Stadium, Locomotion or Ambient) with each purchase of up to three permanent Massive licenses.

Massive Software was founded when Regelous programmed a unique piece of software to make creation of complicated visual effects scenes involving hundreds of thousands of digital characters a practical reality. Now a standalone, commercially available product, Massive has been embraced by top digital production and effects studios, including The Mill, Animal Logic and Rhythm & Hues. Earlier this year, Massive was honored by its peers with a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and for technological innovation at the 3D Awards in Copenhagen. For more information, please contact Massive in Los Angeles (310-837-7878) or Auckland (+64 9-3030-030) or visit

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.