View Full Version : Lord of the Rings MASSIVE software

09-29-02, 08:51 PM
I have no idea where I should post this, so I apologise if this isn't a suitble place to post.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knew if there was any way of getting hold of the MASSIVE software used in Lord of the Rings.

Thanks in advance

07-31-03, 05:01 PM
Yeah, if you can come up with $40,000 per license. It's a bit pricey.

03-12-04, 11:11 PM
I can't help you there, but if you like Massive software you should check out the new movie Troy. There is also a music video, if forget what, that uses massive to simulate the people in a city. It's pretty cool.

03-24-04, 10:18 AM
Hi there

Thought I'd just add a few points to this thread ...

i. For Troy, we (MPC - London, UK) are actually not using MASSIVE as it didn't quite fit the job, plus to hire expensive TDs who actually know how to properly work the program, and ship them over from New Zealand was not worth the effort. So, instead some of the R&D guys here have developed their own system, which is cool!!

ii. The only place I know of who have used MASSIVE (apart from Weta and possibily Animal Logic and Rythym & Hues in the future?) is the Mill in London, who have used it on an playstation ad and a music video. For more info try these URLs (http://www.mill.co.uk/engage_search_articles.php?id=1442) & (http://www.mill.co.uk/engage_search_articles.php?id=1331)

iii. Probably of more interest to you guys is that I've got a personal crowd sim project of my own on at the moment, and hope it to be a commercial product within the year. If you want to visit my website (www.djwarder.co.uk) to see what I'm on about - sorry there's not much there at the mo, screenshots and info asap. Also, any ideas or comments would be most appreciated. Ta ...

Hope that helps a tad?


06-04-04, 03:46 AM
Sorry about that djwarder. I researched this a bit more and found out that
-Massive software was used to develop Lord of the Rings (of course).
-It was used to develop a music video by Radiohead.
-It was used in a sony PS2 commercial by the Mill.

-djwarder is right though, that it wasn't used in the movie Troy. Follow this link to read about the software created for Troy (you might have to register for vfxworld.com, but its free) http://vfxworld.com/index.php?atype=articles&id=2105

06-12-04, 04:08 AM
Noodle looks AWESOME-can't wait for you to finish writing it (if you want help you might consider making it open source-some of those guys are gurus). :D

06-13-04, 01:38 AM
Also, maybe I'm just being ignorant, so please clear this up if you can: is the crowd sim used for Troy going to be released to the public, and if so, for how much?

06-14-04, 08:39 AM
Hi steffenoid

Have thought about making Noodle opensource, but will have to look into it, as I'm more busy on the design of the interface at the moment and getting advice from mates I have in the industry.

With regards to Troy - I can't see the tool becoming public as its being used on internal projects (hush, hush :D) at the moment, plus I think its too bespoke to be a product! That's whats taking me time to work out, i.e how to make it stable, easy-to-use and complete. Also, the Troy crowd sim is tied to Maya and heavily tied with all the other internal tools here, so prob. not going to happen!!

If you have any suggestions/ideas for Noodle, then please give me a mail, plus a new website is being done as we speak, with a forum for any feedback, potential users have.



06-14-04, 11:06 AM
Is interesting to see a discussion about MASSIVE here..

Well, i will start introducing myself.. My name is Jordi Bares and i work for The Mill in London as a Senior Animator and during the last 4 years i have been dealing with crowds in many forms, first writing my own sutff, relying on animation tricks, particles/flocks/behaviors, basic AI systems and now MASSIVE which deserves IMHO a point appart and i will try to explain why here.

First i must say the price is $14.000 so is not that expensive.

Second, it is based in a radically new approach to behavior control called fuzzy logic, and to try to explain this fast it builds a network of rules evaluated in lexical level, not on/off level. Rules are plug and played on real time while the simulation is playing so you see instantly what is going on.
This technology has gained the 2004 Technical achievement (Oscar) and many other prizes.... visit their website for more info on that.

Also i would like to differenciate between basic rule-based decision making systems which i would not dare to call AI but many people does. Finite State Machines systems and Hierarchical FSM which IMHO grow in complexity easily and impossible to control and choreograph, and what everybody almost is doing which is particle driven characters (flocking systems/behavioral systems) which is NOT AI either.

Crowds expose a number of problems, some of them still unresolved or almost;

1) directability, you need to control everything to the character level and the events that are ocurring.
2) management, you really need distribution controls, placement controls, asignement...
3) rendering, definetly you need to render it, and if possible as a single pass.

Massive addresses all of them and many more in a way that was extremely interesting for us, remember we are a small shop with not a huge farm nor the resources people in film has. We did evaluate all available solutions and since we started Beta testing till now the released version of Massive you can buy has happened arround 6 months of learning/testing and producing material so i am proud to say we were the first company outside Weta using massive in real production and the list continues.
Also massive includes Rigid body dynamics engine, cloth dynamics and is not limited to any number of limbs/legs so you can manage to do anything you need.

here is the list till now...

1) Radiohead "Go to Sleep" was the very first try and we did place arround 800 agents in the background while refinining/learning how to do it.

2) Playstation "Mountain" IMHO has been the turning point were we used Massive to create shots of an average of 45.000 people freeing the director of many limitations and pulling a shot of 148.000 people (1 license, 50 boxes in the renderfarm) in just 2 days.

3) Nike "The Other Game" which we used again to put together an otherwise impossible shot to do in 3D, the cable cam shot where you reveal the whole stadium. While doing this project we refined our tools and now we can handle virtually any level of complexity.

There are another projects on the way but obviously i can't talk about them.. :-P

In terms of what i like when i see the final picture, which is what made us jump into massive, and keep in mind that we are a Mental Ray based facility and we had sacrified that in order to use Massive (which uses PRMan or AIR at this moment although soon will be mental too), is the fact that massive results are far better than anything else, the movement and evolution of the crowd is just right, choreographing 40.000 people is not a problem, cloth simulations, rigid bodies, the control is very easy, the setup is amazingly fast and the rendering is possible.

To me one of the important things is that we have push the boundaries of advertising freeing the director and giving him the oportunity of putting his film as he wanted it, not technicalities nor compromises in the shooting, we will take care of it.

visit our website to see more stuff http://www.mill.co.uk

06-20-04, 03:38 AM
First i must say the price is $14,000 so is not that expensive

Speak for yourself :(

06-20-04, 05:22 AM
Congratulation for thouse TV Spot Jordibares! Do you have a making-of videos? it would be nice to see the whole process.

06-20-04, 06:57 AM

woww, Famous "The Mill"...... :o :o

Glad to have you around!

06-20-04, 06:17 PM
Is it true that the version of MASSIVE available to the public is a simplified version from the one used in the Lord of the Rings?

06-21-04, 12:46 PM
About the video... yes, we have a DVD that is the one i used at 3DFestival with the making-of of 3 different projects so people can see the approaches. This is not available to the public but i guess there will be chances of seeing it at Siggraph.

Thanks for the feedback, i will pass it to the team.

joe, if you are thinking of GRUNT (their propietary renderer) yes, that is not a commercial tool but you have PRMan, AIR and very soon Mental Ray.

06-22-04, 12:25 PM
Hmm, sounds good!!

Just out of interest, if someone couldn't get to Siggraph, how could they get info/slides/videos on the crowd talk you've referered to, Jordi? Any ideas?

06-22-04, 03:32 PM
mmm... this has been a hard year in terms of talks... i did go to Angouleme, Imagina and 3DFestival to throw some light in how we have used Massive on real production and have to say people has been very interested (or at least they were not sleeping ;-) so my last talk will be probably at Siggraph.

About the material itself, i guess that we will colaborate with MassiveSoftware guys so they have it and distribute it but that will take a bit.

06-22-04, 03:52 PM
The people of Massive Software told me that maybe in a few months they will have a demo version of Massive for selected users, who knows, maybe one of these lucky ones it's me.

06-23-04, 10:36 AM
Oh well. Should have gone to 3d Festival, but busy, busy, busy!! ;)

Do SIGGRAPH publish material (slides, audio/video clips) on the talks?


06-23-04, 11:41 PM
Yes, SIGGRAPH Proceeedings usually costs $200 USD on DVD or CDs.

08-04-04, 09:02 PM
i would also like to mention that Media Design School in NZ teaches Massive.....a whole course is geared toward learning it, and from what i understand, it is used for the students big final project at the end of the year.
I think MDS is the only place in the world so far who teaches Massive, so if you're really interested, it might be worth having a look at. :)

The Massive developers actually share the same building of the school, i heard...

12-15-04, 06:35 AM
For a much smaller price, there is Softimage Behavior which gets shipped now with mighty Softimage XSI ! Advanced. Only in XSI Advanced. For $6995. I would be curious to see a comparison with Massive, a paper on the 2 software. The good thing about Behavior is definitely it's smooth connection with XSI, and now that Behavior became Part of XSI, wow, I'm speachless... :cool:

12-15-04, 06:43 AM
OK, maybe the price is not MUCH smaller, but still, half of Massive - well, if you think that you get XSI + Behavior at half of Massive price... yeah, I could say: much smaller. If one needs renderman as renderer in the pipeline, then Massive might be a better solution... maybe. But if you think of the advantages of Mental Ray as also organic component of XSI... and all that advanced technology at blazing speed, and the fact that tey all go together seamlessly..!!!
So, in conclusion - for 7000 dollars you get a pipeline containing the best animation package in the known universe (that's arguable, of course, like everything else in this... known universe), you get seamless integration of Mental Ray and Behavior, and of course, a lot more :D
OK, I'm not advertising for Softimage here - I'm actually a Maya user. Just amazed at the wonders of the world...

12-15-04, 08:25 AM
You may notice this thread is rather old. In these few months things became interesting with XSI dropping prices.

I think Houdini is now the last of the Mohicans (concerning prices).

12-17-04, 09:29 AM
I don't know much about Houdini, so I looked up on the intenet to see what kind of crowd or behavioral animation this package offers, and I could find almost no references. Houdini master is $17000 btw, but maybe the crowd possibilities are also present in other versions (the cheap ones at $2000 or less), but my question is - does Houdini include a true (and extended, and advanced, of course) behavioral animation system such as Softimage Behavior or Massive???

02-18-05, 04:09 PM
Massive has a site by the way, and the price is $18000 US, and $2000 per month for a license. The site is www.massivesoftware.com. I'm actually doing a research project on it for school....it's quite fascinating.... :-)