4 best crowd simulation software to create special effects

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

  • Large crowds in movies are always impressive but did you know they use video editing software to create them?
  • Thanks to these specialized tools, movie studios can create crowds of thousands of people starting from a 20 person crowd video.
  • Adobe After Effects is an excellent tool for editing videos and movies to create the illusion of large crowds as are all the other tools listed in this guide.
  • For more useful guides, visit our video software hub.
best crowd simulation software

We all love watching movies that involve large armies fighting epic battles, with great special effects and stories. We can appreciate the effort that goes into some of our favorite movies, but have you ever wondered how those effects are created? If you have, then you came to the right place.

These amazing battle scenes are created using specialized design software that contains all the tools required to create armies, environments, etc.

Of course, behind the scenes, a large number of designers work around the clock to offer you the best and most realistic visual effects. These applications are called ‘crowd simulation’ software.

In this article, we will discuss the best crowd simulation software options on the market that allow you to create epic battle scenes with thousands of warriors, and add an enormous amount of realistic effects.

Read on to find out more.


What are the best crowd simulation tools for PCs?

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects software

Adobe After Effects is a feature-rich digital visual effects software used in the production of movies and games. Chances the special effects in the movies you watched last week were created using After Effects.

If you’re looking for a tool to create a large crowd, you’ll definitely love Adobe After Effects. There are plenty of built-in tools you can use to duplicate crowds and get the effects you want without spending too much money on extras and background actors.

Thanks to the Duplicate feature, you can multiple the people in the initial crowd as many times you want and place them in different areas of the footage to create the illusion of a large crowd.

Other key After Effects features include:

  • Fast and responsive shapes
  • Content-aware fill
  • Advanced pins and bend pins for extra precision
  • Plenty of color curve adjustment tools for stunning visuals

Download Adobe After Effects free

Golaem Crowd

Golaem software - best crowd simulation software

Golaem Crowd is one of the best Autodesk Maya plugins that allows you to create incredibly life-like renderings of crowd dynamics.

You can use this software to alter, change, and create behaviors for groups of virtual characters that are based on real-life physics, and can also set custom shading and behavior values for the elements found in the scene.

The latest version of Golaem gives you all the tools required in order to create particle-based crowds of virtual characters that can interact with the environment they are in. Golaem 6 was modified based on the feedback received from users.

One of the best feature found in Golaem 6 is the new Layout tool. This incredible tool allows you to modify the way a scene is played out even after the components of the scene have been saved. This feature allows you to focus on other important tasks and saves you important processing time.

Here are some other features found in Golaem 6:

  • Trigger Editor – allows you to easily modify the behavior by using presets
  • Blind data – allows you to import items like muscle or morph deformers
  • Can create bipedal, quadrupeds, flocks, swarms, etc.
  • Full integration with Maya
  • Very powerful motion re-targeting and motion mixing

Download Goalem 6

Create impressive 3D CGI sequences with one of these tools!


Massive - Best crowd simulation software

Massive is another incredibly powerful software that uses the autonomous AI Agest system that works as a plug-in for Maya. For this reason, this software uses Maya particles that can be connected to animated characters, allowing you to create beautiful and complex war scenes easily.

What makes Massive stand out from the crowd is its ability to use AI to make the characters you create to interact with each other freely. Compared to Golaem (which only works by setting specific rules and characteristics for your characters), Massive can create fluent movements and interactions automatically.

Here are some other notable Massive features:

  • Perfectly integrated into Maya
  • Can preview scenes in both single and batch render
  • Can create characters with the capability of reacting to the environment using artificial intelligence capabilities

Try Massive


Miarmy - best crowd simulation software

Miarmy is another very powerful plug-in for Autodesk Maya that gives you the power to create incredibly realistic batches of characters to populate your virtual army.

This software can simulate crowds, contains AI behavioral animations, and can also create physical renderings.

Even though this app is on the 3rd place in this list, that doesn’t mean Miarmy is any less capable than the previously mentioned software options.

Here are some of the most notable features found in Miarmy:

  • Can build character logic networks without the need to use any programming or node connecting
  • Perfectly integrated with PhysX – force field, cloth, RBD emitters, wind, etc.
  • Creates crowd VFX using Maya particles, field, fluid, and transform capabilities
  • Completely free to use – allows access to tutorials, samples, and presets

Download Miarmy


In this article, we explored some of the best software options on the market that allow you to easily create life-like renderings of crowds.

The software options mentioned above will surely offer you all the tools you require in order to create incredible battle scenes, with an incredibly wide range of realistic SFX effects. You can also create complex pattern behaviors of characters by using the included artificial intelligence features.

Please feel free to share which software option you chose from this list in the comment section below.

FAQ: Learn more about crowd simulation

  • How do they get crowds in movies?

To create big crowds in movies, movie studios use powerful video editors for copying and pasting people in the crowd initially filmed to make the crowd look larger.

  • What software do movie studios use?

The most popular software used in movies studios are Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Avid Media Composer.

  • How much RAM do I need to edit 4k video?

You need a minimum of 32 GB of RAM to edit 4K videos. If you use less than 32 GB of RAM, the CPU and memory will be overwhelmed resulting in poor performance.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has since been updated for freshness and accuracy.