Bringing Jose Cuervo tequila to the Metaverse with Character Creator, iClone, and Unreal Engine
I’m Alex Kong, a 3D artist with a journey spanning 17 years in the animation industry. Throughout my career, I’ve collaborated with industry giants like Sony Imageworks, Animal Logic, and Squeeze Animation, contributing my artistry to captivating animated series, movies, and AAA games.
Today, I’m excited to dive into a unique chapter of my journey. This chapter revolves around a singular ambitious project that has led me to push the boundaries of animation. In this endeavor, I’m thrilled to harness the power of Reallusion’s iClone 8, Character Creator 4 and Unreal Engine!
You can read my original article on my website Alex Kong.
A Daring Challenge from the Metaverse:
When ACHE Agency presented an opportunity to breathe life into the Metaverse experience that they created in Decentraland for Tequila Cuervo, I saw the chance to not only embrace an audacious challenge but also to harness the combined power of Reallusion tools with Unreal Engine in the process.
The project came with a tight one-month deadline, a feat that might have appeared insurmountable at first glance. However, armed with the incredible capabilities of Reallusion and Unreal Engine, I took the plunge into what would become a transformative journey.
This project was undeniably multifaceted, demanding not only the creation of multiple characters but also intricate animations on uneven terrain. After all, it required a substantial amount of lighting and rendering work to bring the vision to life.
Discovering Reallusion and unreal: A Fresh Perspective on Creativity
With the versatile Character Creator tool from Reallusion and a wealth of assets available from the Reallusion marketplace, I eagerly accepted the challenge. Basically, I managed to produce over 25 beautifully designed characters in just one week! This alone was a true game-changer. Without these innovative tools, achieving such a feat within a traditional workflow would have taken several months.
Moreover, considering the project’s budget constraints, this rapid character creation was nothing short of a miracle. Reallusion’s tools not only met but exceeded expectations, making the seemingly impossible not only possible but also practical.
Animating with Finesse: From Actors to Xsens Magic!
Once the characters were ready, they needed movement and life. Using the extensive motion capture animation collection from the ActorCore library , I was able to find what I needed.
I was able to do the body animation for all these characters and then using the Facial animations from the Digital Soul pack their faces came to life instantly!
For more specific actions, I turned to the Xsens suit, seamlessly capturing the necessary motions and applying them to my main characters. Drawing from my prior experience with MotionBuilder for AAA projects, I can unequivocally attest to iClone’s suite of tools for motion capture editing as simply amazing!
You can blend, loop, and align clips, stretch and contract them, polish the curves, and control all your characters from a simple UI. But where iClone truly shines is in its seamless, no-hassle retargeting from various motion capture solutions.
The hand and feet stabilization features, hand puppets, premade hand poses, and the AccuLIPS tool for automatic lipsync made animation a breeze. And the Motion Director tool, which allows you to control characters like a video game, was the cherry on top.
Above all, the Motion Director tool stands out as a remarkable asset. With ease, you can connect a gamepad and maneuver not just one character, but an entire crowd, akin to playing a video game! As you record the motion, it’s as simple as that – BOOM, it’s completed! And to add the final touch, it includes uneven terrain detection, acting as a true savior in challenging situations.
Basically, mocap editing and animation become a breeze thanks to iClone’s highly intuitive tools!
A Brilliant Finish: Lighting and Rendering with Unreal Engine:
As the project approached its climax, the need for lighting and rendering became increasingly essential. This was where Unreal Engine’s real-time rendering capabilities truly shone. Moreover, Reallusion’s seamless integration with Unreal proved to be a lifesaver. It facilitated the smooth transfer of characters, crowds, animations, and cameras, streamlining the workflow. The addition of the Unreal LIVE LINK tool further simplified the process, ultimately saving me precious time and enhancing efficiency.
Reallusion has truly put a lot of effort into making this transition smooth, and it showed in the results.
Navigating Learning: Reallusion’s Rich Tutorial Goldmine
I’d be remiss not to mention Reallusion’s tutorials. A true treasure trove of knowledge, these tutorials were my guiding stars whenever I hit a roadblock. From their website to YouTube, Reallusion has invested thoughtfully in nurturing artists with the skills needed to navigate their pipeline effectively.
Reallusion and Unreal, a tale of triumph: Achieving Realistic Success
Fast forward four weeks, and there it was – I had accomplished what seemed like a monumental task. In just a month, the project, with all its intricacies and challenges, had transformed from a concept into a tangible success story.
But the real star of this narrative? The unsung hero was none other than the Reallusion pipeline itself. This real-world account highlights the significance of innovative tools. It showcases how a well-crafted pipeline, like Reallusion’s, can weave its magic and make a palpable impact on the creative process.
It’s stories like these – grounded, authentic experiences – that truly exemplify how innovation can turn challenges into accomplishments.
As I stand here, with the project finally wrapped up, I can’t help but feel a surge of excitement for what lies ahead. Despite its imperfections, that very imperfection fuels my enthusiasm. Moreover, if I could achieve this mostly on my own within such a tight timeframe, just imagine the potential we could unlock with a small, dedicated team and a bit more time on our side.
I’m confident that this project is merely a stepping stone. The Reallusion pipeline has unlocked a realm of fresh possibilities, and my curiosity is piqued about the future of animation.
Navigating this solo endeavor over four intense weeks wasn’t a cakewalk. However, amidst the whirlwind, one element stood out as a guiding star: the Reallusion pipeline. It wasn’t merely a sidekick; rather, it served as the true powerhouse behind this remarkable accomplishment. Acting as my secret weapon, it effortlessly infused innovation into each stride, helping me surmount every challenge that came my way.
Indeed, projects and challenges like these serve as poignant reminders of how technology can not only magnify creativity but also breathe life into ideas, transforming them into tangible achievements.
So here’s to the project’s triumphant culmination, celebrating the transformative tools that fueled it, and raising a toast to the exciting horizons that await. Cheers to the boundless possibilities of animation, as we continue to explore, innovate, and create!
Join us on an incredible animation journey!
Project comissioned by Ache Agency to promote the Metaverse Experience that they did for Tequila Cuervo in Decentraland
Peter Podesser – https://www.youtube.com/@iclonevuze7777
Peter Alexander – https://www.artstation.com/mythcons
Alex Chavez – https://www.artstation.com/lexkan
Bernabe Guerrerop Guzman
Created with Reallusion’s iClone, Character Creator, Unreal Engine 5, Reallusion and Actorcore Marketplace’s assets and Xsens Technology