Creating Creature Chaos: The Methods that Brought Crowds to the Forefront on Disney’s Strange World


Nathan Devlin, Yasser Hamed, Alberto Luceño Ros, Jeff Sullivan, D’Lun Wong

The fantastical, frenzied environment of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 61st film Strange World necessitated an ecosystem teeming with unique creatures that form the literal lifeblood of the film. Multiple new tools and pipeline optimizations were required to handle the large scope of the project. We present a hybrid Crowds system combining Pixar’s UsdSkel [Pixar 2023] and a USD point-based caching system that uses our in-house instancer Aurora. Our method combines the flexibility of skeletal manipulation of character animation cycles for foreground elements with robust scalability to allow for millions of characters in the background. In addition, we describe tool sets for the creation of notable creature performances including procedural "Goblinswill" streams, a flocking system for "Terrordactyls," and a swarming system for "Reapers."

Procedural Geometry Simulation Crowds LOD Pipeline USD
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