Character Creator 4 – Create Animated Personalities

Work in Progress : Part Three 

In the latest WIP III video, we’d like to show how artists can create accentuated characters with their unique set of expression styles. With the newly introduced Expression Profile Editor, designers can use native modelling morphs and bone tools to reshape expressions. Artists can take advantage of the FBX workflow between Blender, Maya, and 3ds Max to create custom expression morphs, to make batch facial updates back to Character Creator.

Furthermore, Delta Mush helps you smooth the messy parts of the mesh, either to fix the cloth distortion or to clean facial morphs. Character Creator 4 enables everyone to produce high-quality models which are ready for animation for well-crafted personalities.

Expression Editor: Native Morph Slider Editing

With well-constructed interface, users can easily adjust different angles of characters’ facial features. Not only does the succinct thumbnail design make editing more intuitive – what you see is what you get – but the Modify panel also enables users to tweak each morph slider in detail. Without the aid of any third-party tool, artists are encouraged to use Edit Mesh to design their own customized morph sliders in Character Creator 4.

Red dots in each thumbnail are parts controlled by the morph slider. Artists can edit the mesh of each slider to customize the characters’ stylized expressions.

Blink animations are probably the most challenging area for making characters unique and come alive. In Character Creator 4, blink animations rely on five distinct morph sliders: Eye Blink, Eyelid, Eyelash, Eyeballs, and Eye Look.

By adjusting the source morph target shape of these sections, each expression morph slider can be revised, and with the use of the Mesh Edit tool, one can quickly overcome these obstacles. Lastly, having finished the eye animations for one side of the face, artists can use the Mirror tool to instantly apply the same slider settings to the other eye.

The Mirror function can be seen at 3:11.

Besides modeling morph targets, Character Creator 4’s Bone Adjustment feature can be used to modify specific facial expressions and mouth motions that is often inextricably linked to jaw movements. Freely design nuanced emotions by customizing the mesh of each morph slider. Customizations to the mesh editing, bone adjustments, and morph target models can be saved to custom sliders.

The Quick Update feature refreshes the iClone Muscle Edit data along with facial mocap to give unique styles of animation to your characters that is hard to emulate.

Bone adjustment – Jaw

The Highlight feature can promptly update the viewport to preview changes made to the morph sliders, which is very useful for fixing morph shapes while checking specific expressions and performances. In addition, morph sliders that are activated during playback are clearly listed under the Currently Used section of the interface.

Besides the existing Expression Editor, Character Creator 4 provides Mesh and Expression Set for exporting individual facial morph sliders in sequential frames, which are editable in third-party 3D software, with which you are familiar with. Consequently, artist taking advantage of the seamless GoZ pipeline process between Character Creator and Zbrush can update their custom expression shapes on the fly, with a simple click of a button.

Single slider update – GoZ  

Ⅰ. Once you’ve made your adjustments using expression sliders, you can bake your work as a component of the character’s expression profile. 

Ⅱ. Press the GoZ button to export it from Character Creator (CC) to ZBrush for advanced editing.

Ⅲ. Export those edited profiles back to CC using Re-Align function to update the newly designed expressions on your characters.

Expression Editor: External Blendshape Editing (FBX/OBJ)

Beyond fixing CC3+ characters, you can take a custom rigged character from Blender or other 3D applications and add an entire personality within hours. Directly import FBX blendshape files from Blender, Maya, 3ds Max, Unity, Unreal, Motion Builder and Cinema4D, just to name a few.

Most importantly, the Batch Update feature of Character Creator 4 enables you to import/export the enormous expression files all at once. Less tedious than ever, the new painless workflow gives precise results in a very short period of time.

Batch update – FBX Pipelines : Blender
Batch update – FBX Pipelines : Maya
Batch update – FBX Pipelines : 3ds Max

Mesh Smoothing Tool: Delta Mush

Besides the Expression Editor, Character Creator 4’s Delta Mush helps artists to mesh smooth the characters’ facial expressions and body topology, including outfits, shoes, and even the patterns on their clothes! Whole or partial mesh can be cleaned to achieve proper topology. This is especially useful for characters with faulty or irregular mesh as a result of intensive model processing.

• Fix cloth distortion

• Clean facial morphs

You can check the 3D Character Creation & Animation webpage for more information about the free upgrade offer, feature comparison, and FAQs. If you’re interested in the Character Creator 4 motto of “Enlivening any Character” and “Animating any Rig”, you can refer to the article ‘Working in Progress: Part One. It’s also recommended to watch the Sneak Peek review narrated by Russell Midfield, who precisely explains each feature. For more technical details, please have a look at our latest New Features Introduction.

If you have further questions, please contact our Support Team, or join the discussion at Reallusion Forum.

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