iClone Open Platform – Looking back to 2020

Since the beginning of 2020, we were hoping to create an open platform for script and plugin development. Our goal was to invite new and advanced developers to create tools for sharing and pushing the boundaries of the iClone application. Therefore we’ve produced the iClone Python API, inspired by Maya’s Mel script and 3ds Max’s Maxscript. 

The python project overview will be discussed in the following three sections:

  • How we started
  • Highlights of 2020
  • What to expect in 2021

How we started

The iClone Python API officially started production around June 4th, 2018, and was released six months later. It was a daunting endeavor that started from just an idea into a full-fledged working scripting language capable of automating most of iClone’s current innate features. This is evidenced by a comprehensive API covering a range of capabilities such as 3D math, scene elements, animation controls, motion capture, user interface, and much more.

iClone Python API wraps up the year with a combined total of 75 modules representing 688 readily accessible functions. With this many options, there’s something for everyone.

After the API’s initial release of December 28th, 2018, we were met with a lot of enthusiasm from plugin developers and inundated with Marketplace submissions. We encourage you to peruse the abundant offerings -you might just find something useful for your current workflow.  Especially notable entries include PopcornFX Particle Sequencer, Batch Render Folder, Move that Camera, and Motion Trigger.

Highlights of 2020

We would also like to take this opportunity to mention some highlights of 2020 during the API’s development:

Python of the Month

Python of the Month was a monthly to bi-monthly event that featured a full-fledged free plugin along with five relevant mini-lessons to acclimate new scripters to the full potential of the iClone Python API. It started in June, 2019 and ended in March, 2020, wrapping up a series of tailor made exercises for all to learn from. These lessons are kept for posterity and will continue to be relevant for anybody who wants to get their feet wet in scripting. We’ve handpicked 2 API courses on the WIKI page, and please refer to our Developer WIKI for more details.

Python of Month culminated to seven free example plugins with powerful features and the accompanying 35 lecture articles -a resource that is invaluable for beginners and veterans alike.

Notable plugins: Sprint Joints and Pose Manager

Spring Joints allows you to apply spring physics to designated bone and prop hierarchies in the scene. The spring effect is calculated using an algorithm that takes into account several physics elements such as stiffness, bounciness, and damping. See the Spring Joints Python API page for more information.

Pose Manager can be used to record a character’s pose for the current frame as snapshots. These pose snapshots can be edited, organized and saved as part of a Pose Library. See the Spring Joints Python API page for more information.

Teaming up with Reallusion

Adolf Navarro working with Reallusion on improving Smooth Camera Follow and Hand Gestures Puppeteering. The process was fruitful and made for a much better and user-friendly product. You can install and start using the much improved version of Smooth Camera Follow 2.0 and Hand Gestures Puppeteering 2.0 right now!

Stand out plugin: Motion Trigger

Our partner Digital Puppets took advantage of our available python scripts to create three fantastic tutorial videos. Taking Motion Trigger as a prime example: one can use hotkeys to quickly invoke custom motions. For anyone interested in getting familiar with the power of iClone scripting, watch this video now to experience the charm of working with this exemplary plugin.

Practical usage in indie filmmaking

Solomon Jagwe is an indie filmmaker who was looking for a specific camera solution for one of his productions. In response to his request, Reallusion advised him to download our free Smooth Camera Follow script to satisfy his directorial needs. Check out The-Any-Key’s Move that Camera plugin.

Old hand weighs in

BigBoss gave us some valuable insights during the API’s evolution. We are also grateful for providing another source of revenue for this established super developer, and he had some nice things to say about the API. Take a look at his Marketplace, and please check out the API documentation.

“I really like the Plugin interface. I found it very solid and quite extensive and powerful. Initially, I thought the documentation was a bit difficult to understand but after a few days, I figured it out and it is not bad at all !!!”

– BigBoss

Most prolific developer: The-Any-Key

The-any-Key hit the ground running and submitted a whopping 17 plugins within a few weeks. We hope to see more from this talented developer, and recommend you to check out his Marketplace.

Most creative developer: 3DEA

https://marketplace.reallusion.com/uv-bone-mapper—eyes-
We never know where 3DEA gets his ideas from, but his plugins are a cut above the rest when it comes to creativity. Check out his Marketplace for more fun and wacky tools.

What to expect in 2021

As you can see, 2020 has been an eventful year, and has now come to a close. We hope you stick around for the exciting events slated for 2021. Here are some samples of what’s to come:

More cooperation with super developers

We will continue to improve our plugins on offer in the Reallusion Marketplace. Check back from time to time, and look forward to announcements of new releases! 

If you have a great plugin idea and wish to work with us to make it a reality, please contact marketing@reallusion.com, and include “Python Plugin Development” in the email’s title.

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