In my travels, I have recently acquired Character Creator 3, plus the pipeline, with iClone 7 for animation, and the iClone 3DXchange v7.81 Pipeline, for export to Unreal, at a total cost of a months rent living in a bad part of town. I don’t fully understand what I’ve just said here, I don’t KNOW what these things are, I just know enough to know I want them.
Character Creator 3, for instance, seems like a serviceable Daz alternative, with a lot more capabilities, and potentially, some high quality models. The pipeline, is of course, hrm…. um…. very good. I could discern enough to know, I needed it, but not precisely what it is or does, just that it was indispensable.
SOME OF THE MANY THINGS I PICKED UP
I also acquired a number of morphs and hairsets and clothes sets and other strange items like beards, enough to get you going, but it’s no my Daz collection. That will take some time. What I did notice was that you can import your Daz Characters into Character Creator 3 and then update them, to be even higher quality. This seems interminably true, on the one hand, my Daz characters have a particular look, which seems to be absent when moving them into the new engine, on the other hand, giving them some upgraded eyes and teeth, and having a look at them. Yes this is acceptable to me.
iClone 7 FOR HIGH QUALITY PROFESSIONAL 3D ANIMATIONS
Then we get to iClone 7, and it’s iClone 3DXchange v7.81 Pipeline brother. iClone 7 would appear to be AMAZING, on the surface, it animates your characters, you can do motion capture (if you buy it) you can record audio into iClone 7 and have your character lip-sync the dialogue. It looks to be a professional animation studio level tool, which I have aquired, for one months rent in a bad part of town. Quite the deal indeed, even if food is once again scarce, it is never really absent. But I now own the equivalent of my own animation studio and I feel Godlike. In that respect.
Life sometimes throws you a curveball. It doesn’t mean you can’t still avail of the opportunities presented to you, from time to time.
AND WHATEVER THIS PIPELINE DOES
As for the iClone 3DXchange v7.81 Pipeline, I can assure you, that whatever it is, it is VERY good. Not just good, VERY VERY good.
Animated Character Conversion
It easily converts your FBX characters from a variety of sources, into iClone 7 for animation, and back. It also does 3DS Max, Maya, Mixamo, Unreal Engine, Unity. As long as you’re one lone developer (the dangerous kind) they’ll even let you use their unreal engine converter plugin for free if you purchase the rest of the month’s rent.
It also has Prop Conversion, Motion Conversion, Facial Setup, which lets you make lifelike emotive human faces with lip sync and pose data even if your character wasn’t initially setup with a facial bone rig or facial blend shapes. As well as easy import and export to and from iClone 7.
What is Character Creator 3 Pipeline?
Character Creator 3 Pipeline is a standalone product, integrated into a suite of other Reallusion products. It allows the creation of high quality characters for export into Unreal, Unity and CryEngine, as well as Maya, 3DS Max, Motion Builder, Blender and Cinema 4D R18 and R19.
What does iClone 7 do?
Integrated with Reallusion’s suite of software, iClone 7 provides a simple user-friendly production environment for 3D Animation. It animates characters, tells cinematic stories, and provides tools for scene design. Helping you build your dream.
Do I need 3DXchange?
It’s good if you want to import 3D Models, like props, scenes and characters into iClone 7, or export as . obj and . fbx to any other software.
All in all, a fine suite of software.
So let’s boot it up and see where we are. I guess the first thing I’ll do is test out the out of the box character creation.
BUILDING OUR FIRST CHARACTER
Interesting isn’t it? Here’s a nice quality character, made in 1.5 minutes,
with a variety of morphs and stuff. Let’s both, give him hair, and buff up his arms and torso a bit.
As soon as I put hair on him, the beard bothers the editor, this beard is made for CC3++, this is a CC3 character, do you want to just apply the hair, or do you want an upgrade as well? Of course we choose the upgrade.
At max resolution:
74% processing diffuse….
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Looking upon this character, I must admit that in it’s native CC3 environment, the characters do look very high quality. I would say, hard to explain this, better than daz, but looks worse. Like, uglier characters, done better. Way more detail in the face.
MORPHING OUR CHARACTER
So let’s dimorph him now…. and see how silly we can make things….
However, his face and hands, are too small, for a man of his stature. So we will buff up the hands and the head.
And as I begin to internally laugh at this. It occurs to me that I can and will put this character in my game somehow. Lol…. it’s just too stupid to resist…. Well, awaiting the results of an email to support first. hrmhrmhrm…..
SO MANY EXPORT OPTIONS
Ok, I’m going to export this as an FBX, and send it to Unreal. Actually, is there a faster way…..
Jesus look at these export options:
Look, check out the dropdown menu:
Oh, here’s those multiple export options I was talking about at the start of the article. This is really beautiful, you can export these right into Unity or Unreal, I assume the skeletons will be perfectly formatted for Unreal. But look you can also do motion builder, Blender, 3DS MAX, Maya. I don’t even know what Cinema 4D R19 is, but it sounds highly profitable.
I don’t fully understand what all of these do, but these are the settings I am choosing.
GET THE EXPORT SETTINGS RIGHT
Keep original avatar, cause why not, Level of Detail Mesh to 5, Level 5, Fuzzy Target (whatever that is) to Highest, Mesh details to High, Bake Texture Size 4096. And bake.
With the FBX done, it takes up about 300 MB, not too bad.
And here we have, our guy:
Alright, so at this point, to make a working character, I have to change the skeleton to humanoid rig, automap the bones, should be easy or done, then retarget the animations to the new skeleton, then tinker with the animation systems, then he should be ready for replacement as a new enemy type.
BONEMAPPING IS BAKED IN
As you can see, the bonemapping is perfectly aligned without any changes or alterations needed.
It even has the IK bones.
So, what have we reflexively learned how to do in these last few months, hmm?
RECURSIVELY RETARGET SKELETON, THEN SET THE ANIMATED SECTIONS TO ANIMATION AND ANIMATION SCALED
Opps I forgot to change the skeleton character’s skeleton to humanoid rig, which will allow the retargetting.
SOME DEBUGGING IS REQUIRED
Then just replace the old skeleton’s name, with the new skeleton’s name, ‘woodchipper the man’ and Retarget.
AND ANIMATE THE CHARACTER
And here are our animations:
I’ll apply these to a new enemy type now.
While I’m at it I paste Socket Weapon R to the right hand of my character.
Hmm…. it’s not working right, his attack animations play, but he just slides around the level in the T-Pose.
FURTHER DEBUGGING IS SOMETIMES REQUIRED
And here’s my problem, with an easy solution:
I go to the set variable, change the variable type to our new character, let it automatically change around these variables, then go through the listed nodes, and reset them. Also cast to a new character.
And with that, like magic…..
THAT’S RIGHT, IT’S MAGIC, REAL MAGIC, I AM A TECHNOWIZARD
Fully animated, ready to fight, our Woodchipper TheMan is fully complete.
THE ARTICLE ENDS WAY TOO SOON
Jeez…. The article is basically over, but I still have a lot of words left. So what are we going to get into now?
So we’re still not done, dear reader, I still need to get this character exported to iClone7, so we can have a look at the additional features included there.
EXPORTING INTO iCLONE7
What is this software? lol.
ok…. well within the first minute of using the software, I already have my character boxing.
It looks like you can just export these animations right into unreal for use on your characters. There’s hundreds of these animation files available, covering everything from, boxing, as we see here, to, shooting guns, as we see here:
You can also do lip sync on the character’s model. Or setup scenes and render them, you can export animations directly into Unreal without the need for conversion. And that’s just a sliver of the features embedded in this thing…. It really is a marvel of technology.
I am very proud of owning this particular suite of software, and I can already see this being very useful and utilitarian in the future. Character Creator 3 is a very powerful piece of software, allowing the creation of VERY high quality models, and export into Unreal and Unity. The resulting characters are primed and ready to be utilized in the Unreal Engine, without many changes needed.
The Character Creator 3 Pipeline, is a very useful tool, which lets you export things to and from Character Creator 3 with almost no effort, you can export into iClone 7 very fast and easy. You can even import your Daz Characters, upgrade them, and bring in your items of clothing and accessories to the engine.
iClone 7 is a fantastic animation suite, which will take your game to the next level. Allowing the creation of custom animations, being brought into your Unreal game, with ease.
The 3DXchange Pipeline, let’s you easily transition from Character Creator 3 to iClone 7 and back, you can export them into Unreal without even packaging them as an FBX. With this suite of tools, your indie game will have it’s own animation studio, as well as a character creation suite of your dreams.
Have a good day.