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Pitch & Produce | History YouTube Channel Selects iClone and Character Creator for Speedy Production

This article is featured on Creative Bloq

War history YouTube channel Yarnhub has half a million subscribers who tune in weekly to watch heroic and captivating stories from famous wars retold as dramatic animated movies. Creating high-quality animated stories weekly isn’t easy. Not only do Yarnhub’s cinematics need to be engaging and high-quality, they must be historically accurate, which is why Yarnhub turned to Reallusion’s best tools – Character Creator for character design and generation; iClone for animation.

Yarnhub Animation Studios

Yarnhub is an entertainment company founded by industry veterans and employs talented young animators to produce history-related animated films. Led by CEO David Webb and Manager Sergey Peresleni, the team consistently produces incredible, awe-inspiring true stories that give you goosebumps and make you feel something for the amazing people who lived them. We try to do these incredible yarn justice by animating them in an amusing and informative way and bringing them to a broad international audience.

Since its inception in 2019, Yarnhub has grown in experience and wrinkles, moving from 2D cartoons to excellent 3D graphics, with more than 30 animators, comparable to some modern video games. The team heavily adopts Reallusion’s software into their daily production.

Why do we select Reallusion tools

The team at Yarnhub develops around 30 characters a week, and using Character Creator 4 they can create a huge number of characters in a short space of time.

Accuracy with Character Creator 4

The flexibility of Character Creator 4 ensures the team’s historian can create historically accurate costumes and characters in a quick time and with accuracy. The artists are able to use other apps, including Substance Painter, to create accurate and lifelike textures. The team takes their time to research a historical period and make use of photos of historical figures to create their meticulous characters.

The historians and artists Yarnhub use historical references in Character Creator 4 for accuracy

Those 30 characters we mentioned earlier can also be easily adjusted and edited to create further variations. Character Creator 4 has a material creation workflow that fits seamlessly with Substance Painter to ensure Yarnhub’s artists can iterate versions of the same character with pre- and post-battle looks, as well as civilian/military clothes and varying ages.

Character customization with the Modify Tab 

Character Creator 4 has new features that enable the animators to check lip-synching, body rig, and facial animation, says Webb, revealing this means the animators can “help us spot and fix any issues early on”.

CC4 enables animators to easily check facial animation, rigs, and lip-synching early in the workflow

“We try to release at least one movie a week and that puts huge pressure on our team to meet the deadlines. In order to succeed we have to use the latest technology and tools like iClone and Character Creator, to produce the best quality we can in the time we have available.”

David Webb, CEO of Yarnhub Animation Studios

iClone 8 makes cinematics easy

When the team needs to create more complex animations they take their characters into iClone 8, Reallusion’s real-time 3D animation software that delivers excellent animation for films, pre-vis, and video games. For the Yarnhub animators, it means they can make use of Reallusion’s ActorCore mocap libraries – a set of readily-rigged characters, including mocap motions and animated 3D humans – to build large-scale battle scenes with variety.

The studio found iClone 8 has a number of new features that perfectly suited a professional studio looking to make animations under tight deadlines. These include the new Control Rig, Advanced Hand/Foot Controller, and Pin Controls that have become go-to tools to provide the flexibility Yarnhub needs when creating and editing its animations. Particularly, the animators are able to save time and speed up their pipeline. Pin Control, for example, prevents joints from breaking.

Adjust hand or footprint position made easy

A key new feature, the improved Reach Target and new Offset function, is one Yarnhub has found incredibly useful. This tool means animators can attach the hands, including both hands together, to an object with ease. This means a character can be set up to interact with other characters, the scenery and objects in a natural way and avoids characters’ hands going through other models or their own bodies. For Yarnhub, which focuses on military animations, where its digital actors need to hold swords and guns it solves many attachment problems.

Crucial new features in iClone 8

Ease and speed of workflow are fundamentals to iClone 8 and Character Creator 4, and it’s been a major reason why Yarnhub has adopted Reallusion’s pipeline. For the team making its weekly content the Animation Layer Editing feature in iClone 8 has been a mainstay. 

iClone 8 offers new and improved tools, such as Reach Target and the new Offset function to make interaction easier

“Animation Layer Editing can help adjust the animation without needing to alter every key, or having to flatten the keys,” says Webb, adding: “It’s a useful tool that can save time when animation requires any adjustment.”

Everything created in Character Creator 4 and iClone 8 is taken into Unreal Engine

Making the most of mocap and Unreal Engine

Likewise, Motion Direction Control makes it much easier to combine animations to create more natural movement and transitions between movements with a couple of clicks – iClone 8’s UI is simple and natural, with clear icons dictating animation. “It makes a turn an organic part of a movement,” explains Webb.

iClone 8 is compatible with Rokoko Smartsuit Pro, too. This mocap setup has bee designed for small teams and indies, and is ideal for capturing specific, natural movements that can then be corrected and refined in iClone 8. 

Finally, all of Yarnhub’s work in Character Creator 4 and iClone 8 is taken into Unreal Engine where the cinematic comes together. Reallusion’s 3D animation pipeline works smoothly with Unreal Engine, ensuring professional results – 600k Yarnhub subscribers can’t be wrong.

Read the full article on Creativebloq.

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