In today’s Los Angeles Times, there is a Richard Verrier piece on software used in creating animated crowds. He starts off writing about "The Any Bully"
Sparked by the popularity of computer-animated movies, Hollywood is looking for new ways to stretch the art form’s boundaries. So producers are using something that Walt Disney himself could have scarcely imagined: technology with the ability to create lifelike animated characters whose actions are guided by computers emulating human reasoning through artificial intelligence.
Just like with live action films, animated film production is being broken down into pieces that companies can specialize in to sell their services to multiple studios.