Provide a fast turnaround on professional motion-captured animations in a real-time environment with Reallusion’s Studio Mocap Series.
by M.D. McCallum
M.D. McCallum, is an award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, project director and Webmaster with a freelance career that spans 20 years and includes over 100 individual and team-based awards. Author of the iClone Beginners Guide (PACKT PUBLISHING) and the Warlord720 – YouTube channel.
Animation is a competitive field plagued with battling budgets and short deadlines. Throw in the complexity of most animation programs or worse, lose control with the limitations of some programs that try to simplify animation, and the frustration level and cost are amplified.
Reallusion’s iClone is a real-time animation environment that provides ease of use to new users while giving seasoned professionals the tools they need to deliver timely and quality results.
Drag and drop motions are a mainstay of iClone and that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of tools it provides to animators. Keyframing along with the Curve Editor gives the animator more choices to complete the job professionally and more importantly, to slice, dice and otherwise bend prepacked motions to the needs at hand.
As you can see, iClone is not short on animation tools and Reallusion has now developed its own in-house motion capture studio with skilled actors, to provide high-quality and easy to use motions such as the Assassin Moves Studio Mocap series. These promotion series allow users to select from a base motion and then branch out into other related animations with just a double-click or a drag and drop.
The advantage of using Reallusion mocap animations is that they have a specially designed motion graph system that ensures seamless transitions between primary and secondary stance modes. This offers high flexibility for professional animation production and interactive game character controls.
Additionally, Reallusion’s vast library of motions includes the Rifle Combat series which contain Patrol, Guard, Assault and prone motions. There is also a Pistol Moves (Search, Guard, Take Cover, Shoot) and Pistol Stunts (Perform, Execution, Melee, Hit) from their Pistol Fight series.
These high-quality motions also work on custom characters that have been rigged to the iClone system, making this growing library of motions available to your favorite characters and projects. Now continuing development with the established story and game characters is a snap, and easy on the production budget.
For this tutorial we will be using motions from the Assassin Moves professional pack, which features around 75 professionally captured performances.
STEP 1 – Clear the Workspace of Visual Clutter
First, clear the environment of any items that are not directly needed to accomplish the animation. If the scene is already laid out, then mass select all the props and turn off the visibility leaving only the characters for us to focus on. This also allows us to clearly see what is going on as we animate.
STEP 2 – Animate the Guard Character
This scene involves a Guard and an Assassin character, so we’ll start by using the Motion Puppet to animate the Guard in a neutral motion while looking around as if keeping an eye on things. Of course, we all know that most screenplay guards are very bad at their jobs, who will most likely end up a corpse. This poor fellow is no exception.
With the Guard character selected, open the Motion Puppet. Under Idle select Male 01_Natural. Move the Exaggeration Slider back to 78 and the Speed back to 49. Mask out the arms and hands. Run the motion all the way to the end of the timeline.
STEP 3 – Add Initial Motion to Assassin Character
Next, select the Assassin character and we’ll start adding motions from the mocap system. We’ll finish the guard after we work the Assassin character to the Guard’s location. Use the search tool to find SNEAK_IDLE_TO_CROUCH_IDLE in the Motions Tab. Make sure that “Auto-play motion clip after apply” is checked in preferences. With the Assassin, character selected, double-click on the motion or drag and drop the motion onto the character.
STEP 4 – Apply Timeline Motion to Assassin
After the previous motion has played to completion and without moving the timeline scrubber (if you did move it then go back to the end of the motion), you are ready to search for and apply CROUCH_WALK_SLOW_START to the Assassin character.
STEP 5 – Add Initial Crouch Motion to Assassin
As before, do not move the timeline scrubber. Search for CROUCH_WALK_SLOW_LOOP. Apply this to the character with a double-click, or a drag and drop.
STEP 6 – Apply Crouch to Sneak Transition
Now search for CROUCH_TO_SNEAK_WALK, and apply to the character.
STEP 7 – Set up The Assassin Attach Motion
Search for DAGGER_ATK_COMBO_A and apply it to the Assassin character.
STEP 8 – Add Final Motion to Assassin
Now let’s search for our final assassin motion, SNEAK_IDLE_TO_STAND_IDLE. Apply it to the character.
STEP 9 – Load the Dying Motion for the Guard
Time to go back to the guard. Search for Arrow_Hit_Die_02. On the timeline add the motion somewhere after the Assassin plunges the knife in, as his hand is coming back out. In the video example that was around frame 1015. Apply the motion to the Guard character and let it play out.
STEP 10 – Trim Unwanted Pose From Guard Motion
The new motion will make the Guard transition to another pose that we don’t want, so locate a place along the timeline to break the motion starting from the beginning of the motion clip. In the video example that was around frame 1033. Right click on the motion and select Break then discard the small portion from the beginning of the clip and move the clip up match the knife plunge. In the example video that was around frame 1010.
STEP 11 – Edit Unwanted Motion
Now we edit the Assassin for unwanted motions. Select a place on the timeline to break the motion after the knife plunge. In the video example that was frame 1054. Right-click on the motion and select Break. Select and delete the rest of the clip after the break.
STEP 12 – Move the Orphaned Idle Motion
While this could be part of STEP 11 it deserves its own step due to timing considerations. This is where we put it all together. This orphans the SNEAK_IDLE_TO_STAND_IDLE down the timeline, so we want to grab it and pull it up to the end of the proceeding clip. Adjust the transition handle to your liking.
http://bit.ly/2uqs1Hc – iClone 7 – iClone is the fastest and most cost-effective 3D-animation software in the industry, helping you easily produce professional animations in a very short time for films, previz, animation, video games, content development, education and art. Integrated with the latest real-time technologies, iClone 7 simplifies animation with powerful plug-ins for face and body motion capture, special effect particles, keyframe animation and more!