Former AAA Artist turns Solo Indie Developer with help from iClone Character Creator

Brian Clarke – Solo Indie Developer

Brian Clarke

Brian Clarke is a solo independent game developer focusing primarily in the horror genre with a 13 year history working at game studios like Trion Worlds, EA, and Disney Interactive. Brian aims to bring his experience in the field to solo development.

Starting out as a terrain artist at Mythic Entertainment, Brian spent his AAA career working as an artist and manager through many different projects.

After achieving many of his goals in the AAA space, he decided it was time to build something of his own. Brian taught himself to program in C# and set out to make his own projects with a long term goal of creating a small independent studio.

His next project is The Mortuary Assistant where the player assumes the role of a mortician in training. While performing the normal tasks around the mortuary, strange things start to happen. As time goes on, we learn the player is in the process of being possessed and must identify which demonic entity is lurking within the mortuary.

In this game project Brian utilizes pre-rigged characters made with Character Creator to generate a number of animatable characters. He also utilizes iClone‘s animation tools for both protagonists and none-playable characters.

“Being able to change everything about your character in real-time saves on a lot of guesswork. You can really make some amazing stuff that is fully functional, quickly with these Character Creator tools.”

Brian Clarke – Solo Indie Developer

TV Creative Agency ZDF Digital adopts Real-time Animation Tools for Network Production

ZDF Digital

ZDF Digital develops advanced television and design products for national and international clients. They create immersive and interactive experiences and products for TV, web and social media for national and international customers.

At their offices in Mainz and Berlin, they bring documentary reports, TV magazines, TV shows, corporate and advertorial films, transmedia productions, apps, e-books, interactive and broadcast designs, animation and visual effects to life.

With have over 70 experts – developers, editors, concept designers, 3D, VR, motion, corporate and sound designers, performance managers, editors / cutters and subtitlers working together on projects, they have recently delved into adopting real-time creation and animation tools, like Character Creator and iClone, in their network pipelines to speed up production while maintaining quality.

“Now we use the Reallusion software on a daily basis, for all kinds of high-end projects to create much more, and better output at the same time.”

Mario Hill – Motion Designer | ZDF Digital – Germany

Pitch & Produce | PROJECT W: Sandfall Interactive studios develops ambitious RPG game with Real-time tools

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Founded in 2020 in France, Sandfall Interactive is an independent video game studio focusing on PC and next gen console development of high quality premium games. With a focus on single player experiences, they are looking to deliver incredible stories with fascinating characters in gorgeous worlds for all players to immerse into.

Their first game currently in development – Project W is an RPG experience aimed at next gen consoles and PCs. Set to release on Unreal Engine 5, the game will immerse the player in a beautiful post apocalyptic fantasy world through an epic single-player narrative-driven adventure.

Guillaume worked in game production at Ubisoft for 4 years before founding Sandfall Interactive. They won support from Reallusion’s Pitch & Produce program, where they received the help of real-time creative tools like Character Creator, SkinGen plugin for Character Creator (CC), iClone, the Rokoko Smartsuit profile for iClone, and AAA mocap motions from the ActorCore online platform, to be used in the Unreal Engine.

“The promise to get realistic characters, fully customizable, automatically rigged to the UE4 skeleton, and with blendshapes seemed too good to be true — but Character Creator actually delivers in all these areas.”

Guillaume Broche – CEO / Creative Director

Pitch & Produce | INVASION 2040: Director harnesses Character Creator iClone and Unreal Engine for Web Series

César Turturro – Director / FX Producer

Creavision is a small studio located in the city of Bahia Blanca, Argentina. We mainly focus on the realization of 2D and 3D animation projects, although we also do filmic works, such as advertisements, corporate videos and documentaries.

Invasion 2040 is a project that started in 2017. Post-production started immediately, as I wrote the script. At the beginning, almost 70% of the project was carried out on my own, without involving other artists or studios. This was due to the fact that it was a search and learning process, and we did not have financial support.

During that time I used different types of programs and render engines until August 2020, while working remotely in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic that we won the support of Reallusion’s Pitch & Produce program. It was then when we also began work with Unreal Engine, and when I involved two more artists from the studio.

“With the help of all these real-time tools — in just a few months we accomplished more than half of all the animation and rendering work, which had personally taken me almost 3 years before.”

César Turturro – Director / FX Producer

In summary, I can say that there is a before and after both in my career and in the way we work. Today Invasion 2040 is being released on several networks and has won various awards at festivals around the world. With all the shots and animations that I imagined 4 years ago, I can say that we have realized not only a movie… but a dream.

Artist and Content Developer Ken Long renders 3D backgrounds for use in 2D Cartoon Animator

Ken Long – 3D / 2D Content Developer

Ken Long

Combining the power of 3D / 2D artist and writer Ken Long uses Cartoon Animator to produce images for children’s books , creating wild and fanciful stories that move from his imagination to the screen.

In this interview, Ken talks about his passion for animation and the inspiration he takes from the great story tellers of the past.

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“When it comes to Cartoon Animator I like the ability to do work that would have, not so long ago, been beyond anyone without a Walt Disney type set up.”

Ken Long – 3D / 2D Content Developer

“Cardi Tries” Facebook Watch series takes Cardi into the game with Reallusion & Actor Capture

The 2020 Billboard Woman of the Year and Grammy-winning artist – Cardi B teamed up with Facebook for a series that featured Cardi in a number of experiences which were all caught on camera.  Cardi B was joined by her husband – Offset, to experience motion capture, create a game character and get themselves into the game as they go through the motions at a rapid pace to see what it takes to build a game featuring custom characters from Character Creator, animations from Reallusion’s ActorCore, mocap with Xsens motion tracking, iClone motion editing, all into the Unreal Engine.  This is “Cardi Tries… Gaming”.

The reality TV series features custom characters, motion capture and animation from the Reallusion pipeline wielded by Atlanta, GA based crew from Actor Capture featuring James Martin (master of ceremonies and TD), Joel Mack (Unreal Engine, Xsens MVN, iClone), Max Thomas (Unreal Engine, LED wall), and John Martin (Reallusion Character Creator).

Cardi Tries Gaming – Facebook Watch – 2021 – Episode 7

Episode 7 was filmed December 2020 in Pacoima, CA near Burbank on the XRStage. The team from Actor Capture worked with Jesse Collins Productions, Director Brenden Carter and Facebook’s production team to plan the shoot, find the location at XR Stage and develop the experience of the characters, mocap, and  game levels from start to finish. Actor Capture utilized Xsens, iPhone, Character Creator, iClone with Unreal Engine to bring everything together for the two games. 

James Martin, Joel Mack and director – Brenden Carter during pre production with Xsens MVN

The motion capture was made possible through the Reallusion pipeline, Xsens and the iPhone powered by iClone Motion Live to animate the Character Creator characters of Cardi and Offset.

James Martin welcomed Cardi and Offset to the stage after they were briefed on the events of the day and suited up in their Xsens Link motion capture suits. The motion capture led Cardi and Offset through sword fighting, melee combat and special finishing moves. James directed the combat scenarios while Joel Mack and Max Thomas were engineering the stage and capture workstations. A camera and production crew of over 40 people were surrounding everyone to shoot the show during the capture.

The character building process for the game characters included feedback from Cardi and Offset during the shooting as they directed their design in realtime. We started with four characters prepared in different game genres using Character Creator

Cardi even got in on the creation and took the controls to customize her digital double’s body, face and hair.  Character Creator enabled fast creation, on set collaboration in real-time and quick export to the Unreal Engine projects.

Cardi and Offset selected items from the Character Creator library to customize their characters during the production filming.  The entire episode was filmed in one take with the duo truly sharing their reactions of each step of the process.

The character creation process was displayed on the XRstage LED wall while John worked with Cardi B and Offset to design their game characters.  The couple enjoyed making some tweaks to their characters and experienced the speed of building digital humans in real-time with Character Creator

Behind-The-Scenes iClone Animation Cardi B and Offset for Cardi Tries Gaming

After Cardi and Offset finished their motion capture session with James, and they each worked with John to design a character with Character Creator, we captured some impromptu dialog with iClone.

Facial animation captured during the shoot was simple with iClone Motion Live, iPhone and LiveFace.  The end result was provided by Actor Capture and used by Facebook Watch as a cut-scene throughout the episode.  The full animation was given to production as 4K video renders from iClone and the producers at Facebook selected clips to add in the episode.  The final edit added animated shots from Cardi and Offset using the iClone capture. This was a great example of Reallusion Character Creator and iClone going from concept to production and approval, for inclusion of multiple shots in the final edit.  

Unreal Engine game characters and scenes were created with Character Creator and the assets from the Unreal Engine Marketplace. Cardi Quest and Cardi Combat featured 3rd person fighting in two different styles that allowed Cardi B and Offset to face off in head to head combat or try and clear all the levels while fighting enemies to win. These vertical slices were made to provide an end to our story and finally get Cardi and Offset into the game. With the massive help of Reallusion tools, Actor Capture was able to make it all happen. The games created for the show are featured in a reel below with some clips for each game level.

The full production took place over the course of one day of shooting and since airing on Facebook Watch the “Cardi Tries Gaming,” episode has reached 3.9 million views. 

For more information about Actor Capture visit:

http://www.ActorCapture.com

Digital Puppets | Interactive Animation Studio offers Turnkey Services with Character Creator iClone

Digital Puppets UK

Digital Puppets is a UK based animation studio that specializes in Cartoon motion capture, both 2D and 3D. The studio is run by brothers Scott Evans and Antony Evans.

As well as creating real-time performing avatar puppetry, they also work in developing and designing custom characters for their clients, in a wide range of styles, though they can replicate any existing licensed character or company/product Mascot. The studio not only creates motion capture characters for online Entertainers, Educators and marketing/advertising agencies, but they can also take the characters that they produce and provide their customers with fully animated shows.

The duo have recently completed a 50 episode run for the UK nationwide radio station ‘RADIO X’, in which they animated the hosts and turned their weekly podcast for their online audience to enjoy. The studio also does work for multiple worldwide known broadcasters such as the BBC, Cartoon Network and more which cannot be disclosed due to NDA’s.

“iClone & Character Creator have dramatically increased how fast we can produce character designs and animations, which allow us to create client content at a more affordable price.”

Antony Evans | Digital Puppets UK

Vector Graphic Specialist brings High Quality Content to Cartoon Animator

Serg Pilypencos

For many years, artist Serg Pilypencos has specialized in vector graphics as a content contributor to online sites with his unique visual style. Providing custom orders for illustrations, banner designs, and others.

While currently working to create more characters, assets and content for the Cartoon Animator community and 2D Marketplace, Serg took time out to talk to Reallusion about his passion and projects.

“Cartoon Animator is easy even without a lot of experience in animation.”

Serg Pilypencos / 2D Content Developer

Pitch & Produce | GUARDIAN MAIA: Film & Game Project to Engage and Inspire Younger Māori Generations

Maru Nihoniho – Founder & Managing Director of Metia Interactive

Maru Nihoniho

Hi my name is Maru Nihoniho and I’m the founder of Metia Interactive a games studio based in Auckland, New Zealand. As a games designer and producer my focus is on indigenous storytelling as culture-based stories are hugely influential and are a powerful outlet for engagement and learning. I have designed several projects that tell Māori stories.  They have been produced to engage and inspire our younger generations and a great way to connect everyone to our culture as well.

Our biggest story development to date is a fictional story called Guardian Maia.  It is a story we have designed that incorporates the mythology of the Māori culture.  The story follows the journey of a young woman named Maia through a dystopian New Zealand. The first part of the story Guardian Maia Episode One is currently released as interactive fiction on the App Store and Google Play with the conclusion being released in early 2021.

Since releasing our story, we have looked at ways to bring the story to life. Our first step was to create imagery including storyboards which then led into the idea of creating an animation. Our challenge was to find a pipeline to help us develop an animation efficiently with a small team. We found that the Character Creator and iClone Pipeline met our needs and provided the essential tools to create our animation and yet be flexible enough to allow us to bring in other assets into the project if needed.  Through the animation process, we realized that using the Character Creator and iClone software with the Unreal Engine a real potential to build a game prototype existed; that will be our next project to work on as soon as our animation is finished.

“Easy to use, flexible, timesaving describes our experience with the Character Creator, iClone and Unreal Live Link pipelines.  A great solution for quickly creating and bringing content to life especially so for a small team like ours.  The Reallusion products are now an essential part of our design and development pipeline.”

Maru Nihoniho – Founder & Managing Director of Metia Interactive
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