Experienced Video Director/Animator – Benny Dee shares a detailed tutorial on how to customize characters for realtime animation in iClone 7.
Hello in this iClone tutorial I will show you how to create your custom characters for real time animation. This tutorial is part of the Master Class series to help iClone users improve and level up their creative skills.
So to start, we are going to be using a Daz Studio character from the Daz Marketplace. The reason I chose a Daz studio character to being with, is because they have good quality assets which are compatible with the iClone real time ecosystem. So I’m going to show you how to integrate these software to achieve wonderful results.
We visit Daz3D.com to download my character. We are going to get some morphs and characters from there. I used the Multi-Man for Genesis 3 male. (Fig. 1)
In the Daz3D search bar you’ll get the Multi-Man for Genesis 3 Male for 24 dollars. Not bad for a fully rigged avatar that is fully compatible with the iClone creation/animation ecosystem.
We will get different shapes and morphs that you can be used to create a character, and send it to Character Creator 3 for further enhancement. Once you get the Multi-Man for Genesis 3 Male morph bundle, you open it inside Daz Studio / Daz 3D library as shown below. (Fig. 2)
When you come to my Daz 3D library you scroll down under people and you’ll see characters, then under characters we have Morpheus. (Fig. 3)
Morpheus is under the Genesis 3 Male. Then we drag and drop the Morpheus character into the scene as shown below. (Fig. 4)
We then check this tab / panel on the right of Daz Studio, to see different sliders. (Fig. 5)
I’m going to take down the Morpheus 01 slider to adjust my character’s body. (Fig. 6)
When I take it down I get a normal default character shape. I can also go to the Morpheus 02 slider and increase it to my desired choice. (Fig. 7)
After adjusting, we review to see that it’s okay. Once you’re satisfied with this result the next thing is to export the character. So we go to File/Export. (Fig. 8)
I’m going to save the name of the character as bigmanfbx. In the FBX Export Options, make sure you check the relevant options. (i.e. figures!) It doesn’t have props so you don’t need to check prop. You also don’t need to check light. But make sure you check Locks, Morphs, Embedded Textures, Allow Degraded skinning, Allow degraded scaling. Also make sure the output is FBX2012—Binary. (Fig. 9)
Then we open Character Creator 3 in order to import my freshly exported Daz character. (Fig. 10)
For this we go to the Transformer tool in the top-right part of Character Creator 3. (Fig. 11)
Once you click on Transformer, it will open a folder so that you can search for your saved Dazstudio character. (Fig. 12)
Character Creator 3 gives you options to Load FBX embedded texture files. This will allow you to bake body textures and more. So just click on the ADVANCED option. (Fig. 13)
Inside you can click on the Bake Body Texture option, and then chose the resolution you want for your character. I’m going for 4K, but it all depends on what you want this character for. (i.e. protagonist, NPC, etc.) So once everything is okay and you chose what you want, you just click on OK. (Fig. 14)
Then we will see our character exported from Daz to Character Creator 3. (Fig. 15)
You will also see that there are different types of skin here. You can use this default skin type or a darker skin. In my case the skin I used for the final product was a dark skinned character. So inside Character Creator 3, you go to the right-side panel under Content and go to Skin. (Fig. 16)
Now, there is a skin pack that comes with a character called Adam, which was created by a 3D artist Tokomotion which you can find in the Reallusion Content Store. (Fig. 17)
I’m going to be using one of the skin tones that come with Adam, mainly SkinTone 3. (Fig. 18)
So I am going to find the Skin Tone under TokoMotion/CC3/Adam, and then I am going to drag and drop that Skin onto my character in the stage window. (Fig. 19) (Fig. 20)
Now you can see that the character instantly has dark skin. See how nice the skin looks below. (Fig. 21)
So now we are going to put clothes onto the character. To get your outfits, we go to the Content panel on the right-side again, and then we go to Cloth and to Shirt. (Fig. 22)
Depending on what type of shirt or clothing you want, remember that you can always get many different options that are all 100% compatible with each other, in the Reallusion Content Store. I chose this armor suit. (Fig. 23)
Inside, you will see that they have a lot of affordable clothing options which you can buy and download directly, which will save you time since you don’t need to create it from scratch yourself.
In my example, I will go to Cloth and then to Shoes because this particular suit I want to use is under the Shoes categorysince it’s an entire suit that starts from the boots. This particular suit is called ATAC_M_Suit_L_01.cc shoes. (Fig. 24)
I then drag and drop this option directly onto my character in the stage window of Character Creator 3. (Fig. 25)
Also for further modifications, you can just go to Modify panel, on the right-side of Character Creator 3. If it’s the character you want to modify, you click on CC Base which is the character itself. (Fig. 26)
Next, go to Modify / Morphs to further customize the proportions of the character. The good thing about Character Creator 3 is that it will automatically conform clothing to any body shape, or size. This is super useful because it saves tons of time as you don’t have to readjust vertices or anything. It’s all automatic. (Fig. 27)
The cool things about CC3 is that inside you will find lots of sliders as shown below for the hand, chest, torso, waist, legs and just about everything you will need. You will have find fun fully customizing different body parts to your taste, by simply selecting that part from the list. (Fig. 28)
Personally, I love everything about Character Creator as it has every tool you need to customize your character to your taste as it has a good ecosystem for character creation. Once you’re satisfied with the results, then the next thing is to go to File then you go to Export. (Fig. 29)
I exported it as iAvatar since I wish to send it directly to iClone for full body motion capture animation. You can also send it directly to iClone with the Send Character to iClone button on the toolbar. (5th icon) (Fig. 30)
I will then place and adjust my character into a particular iClone scene. In my case, I have him strapped to a death ray chair. Hehe. Which he will squirm around in, as I motion capture him. (Fig. 31) (Fig. 32)
I can choose to animate my character with motion files I
recorded using my Rokoko mocap suit, or I can live animate the character
through iClone Motion LIVE plug-in. Now I am not
going to go into details about the motion capture as this tutorial focuses on
customizing the character. But you can surely find many great tutorials on how
to do fast mocap with iClone. (Fig. 33)
Great, so this is how you easily customize a character for animation using compatible software/content like Daz3D, or any other third party software with the iClone ecosystem.
To recap, first we downloaded the morphs from then Daz website. We then sent it to Character Creator and modified it a little with different skin tone. We gave it a suit, before sending it to iClone where we added motions from the Rokoko motion capture suit.
With this, I hope it helps you create your own customized character for realtime iClone animation, while showing you how third party software can be integrated and used with iClone and Character Creator. Thank you for reading this tutorial!
Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi (Benny Dee)
Animator, Video Director, Editor, Cinematographer from Nigeria https://www.instagram.com/therealbennydee/