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iClone MasterClass #3 – Employing Realtime Particle Effects for Dazzling Visuals


Experienced Video Director/Animator – Benny Dee shares a detailed tutorial on how to employ realtime particle effects for dazzling visuals in  iClone 7.

The Author

Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi (Benny Dee)

Animator, Video Director, Editor, Cinematographer from Nigeria

Welcome to this MASTER CLASS Level-Up Series by Benny Dee, where I share my tips and tricks on how to create amazing animations with clever usage of real-time tools. This is tutorial series was created to help users improve and level up their skills.

In this tutorial #3, I will be showing you how to employ real-time particle effects by simulating the effects, adjusting attributes, attaching effects and adding lights to the scene

Let’s get started.

We have our scene open in iClone, and we have already set up our stage and characters. The particles we are going to work with are from the iClone PopcornFX Particle Effects content pack from Persistant Studios.

So I first go to the iClone Content tab, on the left-side. Inside I go to Content/Set/Particle/ParticleFX Library. (Fig. 1.0)

Fig 1.0

Under the PopcornFX library, you are going to use different particles. So the first one we are going for is what we call the Flame Thrower effect, under Weapons and Explosions.

(Fig 2.0) (Fig 2.1)

Fig 2.0
Fig 2.1

We are going to apply this effect to the character that is facing front, as this will be the attacking character. (Fig 3.0)

Fig 3.0

So how do we do that? We are simply going to drag and drop the Flame Thrower effect onto the scene. (Fig 4.0)

Fig 4.0

If you wish to see the effect, you can click to simulate the particle in the scene with SHIFT+S. (Fig 5.0)

Fig 5.0

We want the flame to come from the face / eyes of the attacking character. So we drag it to that area (Fig 6.0)

Fig 6.0

You can use the Transform Gizmo (select prop + W), to drag the effect onto the face of this villain character in the scene. (Fig 7.0)

Fig 7.0

Carefully place it to the desired position. You can use the X,Y,Z axis until you get it just right. Also remember to get the particle shooting orientation correct, so that it aims at the opponent. (Fig 8.0)

Fig 8.0

It looks nice but we do notice that the flame looks like it’s too much. I want a gentler flame. So under the Modify tab we reduce the flames using the Global Scale. (Fig 9.0)

Fig 9.0

We can reduce the scale of the effect, and position it down a little bit. Next we attach the flames, so we right-click on Attach to connect the flames to the head, the face or any other part of the body. (Fig. 10.0)

Fig 10.0

When we play the animation, we can see how the flames are working in real time as they shoot from the villain’s eyes. (Fig. 11.0)

Fig 11.0

At this point we are going to use another particle effect, but on the second character. The particle we are going to use is like a force field, and we want the particle to be all over the body of the female character here. (Fig 12.0)

Fig 12.0

So we again go to Particle under Content. Inside Particle Library/VFX there is an effect called Music Ball. (Fig 13.0)

Fig 13.0

We do the same, and we drag and drop the particle effect into the scene. (Fig 14.0)

Fig 14.0

If we click on SIMULATE, we can see that it becomes a sphere. So what do we do since we want the effect to wrap around the second character? For this we click on the Sampler Mesh / Add Target. (Fig 15.0)

Fig 15.0

Then we click on the character itself. This will wrap the Music Ball effect around the selected character. But this can be characters, props, vehicles or whatever you want to sample in the scene. (Fig 16.0)

Fig 16.0

You can also go to Attribute settings to further play with some of the parameters that control this visual effect. (Fig 17.0)

Fig 17.0

Inside the Attribute settings you can choose the level of Flux, the Spectrum cut off and any other value to customize the effect. You can also increase the particle size if you want it to be bigger or smaller. (Fig 18.0)

Fig 18.0

And of course you can also go down to choose different colors. In my example, I will change the color to be more of an orange glow. (Fig 19.0)

Fig 19.0

We can then test the particle effect in real-time to see the result we are getting. (Fig 20.0)

Fig 20.0

Now I have mentioned this before, in the other Level-Up tutorials on how real-time simulations with iClone are a good thing as they help you visualize your results as you go along. When we play the simulations back, wow! We can see how it looks! It looks very interesting and visually appealing. It’s like the second character indeed has this something that prevents the fire from burning her or affecting her.

The last tip is to add a Point Light. (Create/Light/PointLight) You can see that I have already added it into the scene here. Now this is optional, as you can place it wherever you want, but I place it here because I want my main camera view to be from this perspective and I want the light to bounce off her body. (Fig 21.0)

Fig 21.0

When I activate the Point Light, can see what I mean. You can now see that it is reflecting on her body. (Fig 22.0)

Fig 22.0

By adding this light, and turning on the effect, you can see that it just gives that nice look and makes it more realistic. (Fig 23.0)

Fig 23.0

Great! So this is how we can achieve dazzling visuals by employing realtime particle effects in iClone. Remember also, that iClone has additional effects that you can acquire from the Content Store.

Thank you for watching this tutorial, and don’t forget to check out the other Level-Up tutorials from this iClone Master Class series.  

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