Massive Software Goes Primetime with Television Effects by CBS Digital
CBS Digital recently purchased Massive, embracing the artificial life-based software by Massive Software to speed turnaround of increasingly complex visual effects scenes on THE TWELFTH MAN (a pilot being produced for FOX Television), as well such projects as THE POPE and CAT7. Artists at the Los Angeles studio sought out the unique ‘autonomous agent’ capabilities of Massive to efficiently fill large stadiums with realistic AI-enabled-characters for the basketball-themed show.
‘Everyone wants full-on feature film-level effects for TV and with tools like Massive, you can now do huge-scale effects with a high degree of realism, a small team of artists and rapid turnaround,’ said Craig Weiss, founder and director of VFX, CBS Digital. ‘Massive is a perfect piece of software for us.’
THE TWELFTH MAN follows the life of a basketball player as he bounces between pro teams. Instead of filling up seats by laboriously ‘stamping’ shots of the group of actors filmed on set, CBS Digital was able to use Massive Ready-to-Run Stadium Agent to incorporate hundreds of individual digital characters that stand up, cheer and eat popcorn automatically in the scene.
‘Massive characters act autonomously, with a ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§brain’s that allows them to react in ways that mirror real life,’ said Diane Holland, ceo of Massive Software. ‘Using a Ready-to-Run Massive Agent like our Stadium Agent, a single animator can quite easily populate a scene with characters that respond realistically. As it did for feature films and TV commercials, Massive is ushering in the ability to develop and realize effects for primetime television programs and mini-series that were not possible before.’
Massive artificial intelligence-based animation system was initially developed to enable digital effects for the epic battle sequences on THE LORD OF THE RINGS movie trilogy. It has since been used on such blockbusters as KING KONG, which contained 600 Massive shots, and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.
In commercials, Massive has been helping producers and agencies scale up their creative concepts as well. Spots created using Massive include ads for Anheiser-Busch (Budweiser fans doing The Wave), Verizon (a vast human network outside the Verizon store), Heineken (paparazzi chasing Brad Pitt), United Way (Dr. Seuss being read to thousands of children), Corona (a multitude of mariachis storming the Great Wall) and Carlton Draught (a rowdy chorus staging the biggest ad they can).
Massive products include Massive Prime and Massive Jet. Massive Prime is the complete solution for interactively authoring, directing and rendering custom AI-enabled characters for animation and visual effects. Massive Jet features a streamlined, easy-to-use workflow to make AI-driven animation available to all animation and visual effects professionals. Massive agents speed up the workflow even further by allowing artists to choose from a variety of pre-built agents which are Ready-to-Run with AI-brains, skeletons, motion, geometry, cloth, textures, shaders and behavioral controls.
New Zealand-based Massive Software (www.massivesoftware.com) is the leading creator of artificial intelligence-based 3D animation systems. Massive was founded when Stephen Regelous programmed a unique piece of software for director Peter Jackson to make creation of complicated visual effects scenes involving hundreds of thousands of digital characters a practical reality. Massive garnered a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2004.
Today, Massive Software develops a family of standalone, commercially available products, with customers including Weta Digital, The Mill, Animal Logic, Rhythm & Hues, Digital Domain, Method Studios and other leading digital production and effects studios.