This is a short guide on how to make unique fully dressed 3D characters with the powerful integration of FaceBuilder for Blender, Character Creator 4, and Headshot 2. Follow these quick steps to give your model a look-alike appearance using just a few photos or video snapshots.
Create a digital head using photos in FaceBuilder for Blender
FaceBuilder for Blender lets you make fully-textured 3D heads based on photos. Inside Blender, go to the
FaceBuilder tab, click on
Create New Head and load images using the
Add Images button. Check
Allow facial expressions and
Lock neck movement.
Creating heads with FaceBuilder is semi-automatic. Select the top image on the list and click
Align Face. FaceBuilder will detect the face in the image and estimate the position of the mesh in 3D. The next step is to line up the mesh with the face manually. Drag the existing pins or add new ones to accurately match the facial features. Pay special attention to eyes, brows, nose and mouth. This will help you get a better texture in the end. Repeat the same operations for the remaining images.
The next step is projecting texture from the images onto Geometry. Select maxface UV type in the
Texture tab, then go to
Advanced and check
Equalize brightness and
Equalize colour to smooth the texture and make it more even. Then click on
Create Texture and hit
OK. The digital copy of the head is now ready for export to Character Creator. Go to the
Export tab and hit the
Character Creator button. FaceBuilder will run the software and transfer the 3D head model and the texture right into it.
Important! You need to have the latest versions of Character Creator and Headshot plug-in installed on your computer for this operation. Visit the official Reallusion website to download the software.
Generate the body in Character Creator
Character Creator offers extensive settings to give your 3D character a unique appearance. We’ll stick to a very basic setup to demonstrate a quick path to creating a character.
Export from FaceBuilder to Character Creator gets you to the final stage of generating a head called
REFINE. Here you can explore the mesh in the viewport and adjust everywhere it doesn’t quite match up using a number or brush tools. For example, click on the
Project button and go over those areas on the mesh that didn’t fill out right versus the FaceBuilder profile. You can speed up this process using the
Symmetry Edit option that will mirror your adjustments to the other side of the face. As soon as you like the way your head looks, click on
ATTACH TO BODY.
In the popup first select a body type for your character and also
Mask type, which is basically how much of the original texture you want to use. You can go with
No Mask to use the full head at this point and adjust that later. Click on
Generate to finally put the head and the body together.
Customise your 3D character
Here are some effective steps on customising your 3D character to make it look like the person in the original photos.
Go to the
Content tab to set up the overall appearance of your character. For example, you can choose a hairstyle in the
Hair tab or dress up your model in the
Clothes tab. You can also add and remove various parts of your model in the
Scene tab. The
Motion button lets you quickly and easily select a pose for your character.
Control your character likeness with the Headshot 2 plug-in
The Headshot 2 plug-in lets you tweak every single element of your head model inside Character Creator. Go to the
Headshot tab, scroll down to the bottom, and activate
Auto Update to have all your changes updated automatically. Inside this tab, you will find some very useful texture settings.
You can select
Skin Type from the number of presets and also change skin colour using the colour picker. You can also localise the texture imported from FaceBuilder by specifying
Face Mask in the
Skin Settings section.
A little tip. Try different options to see which mask works best for your head, paying attention to ears, cheeks, and forehead. Likewise, you can improve texture around the nose and mouth by choosing a
Nostril Mask. Selecting an
Eyelid Maskmay help you fix issues like eyelashes baked in the texture.
You can select
Eye Color at the very top of the
Texture Adjustment section. But there’s a lot more you can do with the eyes in the
Morphs tab on the
Modify panel. Go to
Actor Parts and search for
Eyeball Iris Scale for example to adjust that value. Back in the
Headshot tab, you can go to
Shape Adjustment, check
Activate Sculpts Morph, click on the
Eyes button and then adjust their position simply by dragging them right in the viewport. You can then rotate the head side-on, zoom in on the eye and adjust its depth.
Go to the
Scene tab, select
Hair Base, then go to the
Texture tab on the
Modify panel, select
Hair in the
Material List, then scroll down to
Shader Settings. Here in
Strand Color you can change the colour of all main hair parts. If the hairstyle contains more elements, you can adjust their colour in the same way by selecting them in the
A little tip. You can change the scale and size of all body parts in the
Morphstab on the
Modifypanel. Use search for specific elements, for example,
Neck Scale, and
Shoulder Top Scale. You can also go to the
Attributetab, make your model open the mouth with the
Display Mouthbutton, and then back in the
Morphstab, search for elements like upper and lower teeth to change their height and scale.
Export to Blender
FBX and select the
Clothed Character option. In the export menu select Blender as destination, then select
Mesh in the
FBX Options, uncheck
Embed Textures, and then click on
Export and save it to disk as model.fbx.
To get full control over your CC4 character we recommend installing the Character Creator add-on. Go to
Add-ons in Blender Preferences and activate the
Rigify option to be able to use the local rig. Download CC/iC Tools from GitHub. After you install it, you’ll get a new tab named
CC/iC Pipeline on your side panel. Go to that tab, click on
Import Character, navigate to the
model.fbx file, and hit
Explore Character Creator Add-on settings
The Character Creator add-on gives you access to many useful settings. You can go to the
Scene tab and select a lighting scheme, like
CC3 for example. This will make the materials inside your model visible in the viewport. Another thing you will surely need for your model is a rig. Go to the
Rigging and Animation tab and click on the
Rigify button. This way you get control over all elements of your model inside Blender.
A little tip. If you plan to export your model further on to other 3D environments, it makes sense to optimise the materials applied to your model. Go to the
Character Build Settingstab, select
Basic, and then click
Rebuild Basic Materials. This will create a simplified version of the materials for your model.
Animate your model
Back in Blender, on the
CC/iC Pipeline panel, click on
Import Animations, select
motion.fbx, and hit
Import. Then go to the
Rigging and Animation tab, select the animation you’ve imported in
Source Armature and also
Source Action, and then hit
Preview Retarget. Preview the imported animation by hitting
The quickest way to animate your model is to use animation export from Character Creator. Inside Character Creator, click on the
Motion button and select a specific animation. You can preview it by hitting the
Play button right below the viewport. If this is the way you want your character to move in Blender, go to
Clothed Character. Select Blender as a destination once again, and then choose
Motion in the
FBX Options. You will also need to activate
Current Animation and
All checkboxes, and also deselect
First Frame in Bind-Pose. Now hit
Export and save it as motion.fbx.
For more info, check out the KeenTools dedicated webpage on FaceBuilder x Character Creator 4 integration.