An interesting technology for 3ds Max was introduced on the Autodesk Labs website. Project Geppetto (after the carver who created the Pinocchio) is a generator of highly realistic walking characters and crowd scenes for animations in 3ds Max.
The definition of pedestrian positions, movement restrictions and the crowd can be done with simple geometric shapes. The application then automatically generates pseudo-random movements of the crowd, walking, idling, hanging about, gestures during talking, phone calling, interaction or reaction to movement of other pedestrians and passers-by and other typical movements of crowd characters. Geppetto contains pre-set animations for typical scenarios - walking on sidewalks, in the corridors, halls or on plazzas.
Autodesk plans to connect Geppetto with his recently acquired application Evolver (for avatars) to generate crowds that can be easily personalized with typical regional (or even very specific) personal features.
Your architectural presentations, visualizations and animations from 3ds Max can be easily enhanced in Project Geppetto with very realistic characters behaving like real live crowds.
The application is designed for 3ds Max 2012 and 3ds Max Design 2012 (even those from Autodesk Design Suites). Project Geppetto can be downloaded as a free "technology preview" (expires July 2012) from Autodesk Labs.