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Former HBO Producer turns to iClone Character Creator for Latest Film Project

Julian Grant – Director / Producer

Julian Grant

Julian Grant is an award-winning filmmaker with 34 feature films to his credit. A published author and acclaimed digital artist – Julian Grant’s work can be seen worldwide on cinema screens, television, independent forums and on the internet. As an independent writer, producer and director he has created numerous short films and music videos and continues to develop new media showcases, transmedia events and pedagogical strategies.

Julian has worked with Lionsgate and HBO where he worked as the Producer/ Director of the acclaimed mini-series, Robocop: Prime Directives. Today, Julian Grant is a tenured Associate Professor in the Interactive Arts & Media Department at Columbia College Chicago.  

In 2017 he was approached by screenwriter Ron Falzone, with his script for ‘Coriander’, which he took on with the help of iClone, Character Creator and 3DXchange; as he had previously done a number of short films with.

“Thanks to Reallusion for continuing to push forward the opportunities available to independent artists such as myself who can dream big and even step back in time to recreate NY in the 1920’s. I couldn’t have made ‘Coriander’ without Reallusion!”

– Julian Grant

Q: Hello Julian! Throughout the years, you have worked on many great projects and films. Including working with Lionsgate, HBO and making your own films. Can you share with us what it’s like to go through such a journey?

I’ve had an extensive career as a live action filmmaker working for many big name companies. But, in my heart, I always had a burning desire to be an animator. I made my first CG film, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ in 2011 and there was no stopping me. Every year I would work on building up my animation skill sets using CG, StopMo and searching for the animation software and workflow that would allow me to migrate to long form storytelling.

The Doctor’s Wife by Julian Grant

With iClone, the transition was completed and from 2015 onwards, I dedicated myself to learning and working with the Reallusion suite of tools. What’s great about iClone, 3DXchange and Character Creator was that I now had a set of tools that allowed me to work as an indy production studio – only this time I was fulfilling all the key roles.

“It was thanks to iClone 7, Character Creator and 3DXChange , that I was able to, over the next 12 months, bring our film to completion. Indy Animators have a great toolset with the iClone suite of products and with the new performance and facial capture technology available, I can’t wait to get started on my next film.”

– Julian Grant

I was no stranger to making production dollars stretch over the course of my professional career and now I could truly maximize my resources and use an integrated toolset that was not only user friendly – but came complete with generous forum support, responsive upgrades, a robust marketplace and CG content that was ideally formatted for my work.

Q: Your latest film ‘Coriander’ was written by Ron Falzone. What enticed you to make this film, and why did you choose to use Character Creator and iClone?

Ron came to me having been a fan of my animated short films. They were winning awards and screening worldwide and he knew I had the right sensibility to bring the material to life. I have to admit I was worried about the size of the project, the number of locations, the sheer volume of the story – so I set out extensively researching and planning my workflow. All film projects consist of a scheduling stage where you break down all of the component parts and allocate a number to them. I would then start looking at assets within my library or 3D models I could convert using  3DXchange.

I had already fallen in love with TokoMotions characters and I knew that they would be perfect for the film. What I really needed was period appropriate clothing – Merik Pelletier ( really came through with his 1920’s Silver Screen Wardrobe for Character Creator and continued building specific looks for me as the project progressed. 

Content Store

After six months of set building and character design and making wardrobe, I had all of my characters designed, sets built and was ready to go. As Ron says, ‘You make a film one shot at a time,’ and he’s not wrong – so I put together my shot list (over 750 of them) and started working sequentially from Scene One. 14 Months later, I was finished. 

I adore Character Creator as it made the modifications on my characters easy. I’m not a modeler and the idea of working from the pixel up is not how I roll.

Coriander Comic Link:

“In the real world, we scout location and cast actors as needed. Thanks to iClone, Character Creator and the Content Marketplace, I’m scouting online and then tweaking as needed. 3DXchange allowed me to take full advantage of the Google Warehouse and that was a huge boon. It’s all about working smart – and Reallusion products allow me to do the impossible – make an indy feature animated film by myself!”

– Julian Grant

Q: You are an Associate Professor in the Interactive Arts & Media Department at Columbia College Chicago. If you could name the most important points you wish your students to learn from you, what would they be? 

As an educator, I’m committed to teaching the next generation of artists that animation and live action are now working in tandem as never before. The animated feature film is one of the most successful formats available on streaming platforms and at cinema’s worldwide with many live-action franchises using digital action performance capture and CG characters. My work shows that it’s possible to build your own world using limited resources and produce work you can release on the international stage.

Reallusion’s performance capture software (Motion LIVE) and mocap integration allows animation artists a change to utilize next level animation techniques in their personal projects at a price that is very attractive. Professional resources even 5 years ago boasting these features were out of the range of any hobbyist or amateur animator. But thanks to Reallusion, students can now have access to next-level software solutions that allow them to dream as big as they want. 

I know for me, as a continuing learner, I’m down for whatever Reallusion is bringing out next and look forward to continuing to grow my skills and use their outstanding tools to enhance my filmmaking skills. It’s a great honor to be showcased here at Reallusion and I’m a big believer in what they do.

For many of my students who are struggling with traditional CG workflows or 2D options, being able to use the user-friendly iClone or Cartoon Animator software helps them navigate their initial learning curve – and encourages them to stay in-engine as they continue on.

I’m a convert and wouldn’t think of using a different tool set to do my work.



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