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
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).
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 UnrealEngine to bring everything together for the two games.
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 UnrealEngine 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.
Giancarlo Sevilla, a 3D model artist, shared his experience of using Character Creator, the full character creation solution, and ActorCore motion library to quickly turn his T-pose character into vividly animated avatar for games and films.
Giancarlo Sevilla is a 3D modeler who graduated from a Canadian school where he specialized in character art. He started this journey back in 2012, working in the 3D printing industry making figures for collectors and in his spare time getting some freelance contracts. After getting some experience making characters, he then jumped into the video game industry.
In this tutorial, Giancarlo will show how to turn a T-pose model into a 3D animated character and send it into Maya in no time, using Character Creator to create the rigged, textured character with quality mocap animations from ActorCore.
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.”
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.”
Martin Klekner is a freelance director and CG artist from Prague, Czech Republic who is also a Blender specialist, an instructor on CGBoost.com, and an Ancient Greece enthusiast.
Martin has embarked on an ambitious project “Heroes of Bronze” where he will be creating his own CG short film project from the Ancient Greek era, while documenting his workflow and sharing with the audience all the tools that will help them create their own CG projects.
Heroes of Bronze is an upcoming “proof-of-concept” short film set in Ancient Greece, showcasing the magnificence, beauty and horror of the time set between two famous battles of ancient history – Marathon (490 BC) and Platea (479 BC).
It will be a 3 minute CG animated short film, using Blender 2.8 and variety of other software, including Substance Painter, Marvelous Designer, Character Creator and iClone.
“I’m mostly working alone on my personal projects, so I really need to focus on how to automate or make easier, parts of my pipeline. Reallusion tools help me speed up several crucial steps: character mesh creation, texturing, rigging and animation.”
Martin Klekner – Cinematic Director / Blender Specialist
Before starting in the world of 3D, Cris studied sculptural techniques for 2 years in art school. After her studies, she decided to follow her dream and took a Master’s Degree in Video Game Art and Design at U-TAD, Spain. Now she works in a company as a 3D Modeler.
Cris found iClone as a catalyst for speedy production. Let’s see her story with Reallusion iClone, Character Creator and Unreal Pipeline.
“The Character Creator Tool allows you to have many unique ‘actors’ for the development of your scenes. This app is perfect for professional studios, as it not only has a myriad of utilities, but is also compatible with various motion capture suits, providing studios with endless possibilities. In short, an excellent tool for your program library.”
Epo is a lighting artist from Million Volt – a Korean animation company. Through the love of arts, he is constantly creating personal projects, and learning new things as he is looking to devote himself in the VFX industry, and spread Korean VFX to the world.
“The trend in the industry is shifting towards creating high-quality works in a short period of time. As technology and AI development come together, this speed is increasing. It’s like the industry is telling us, ‘Don’t worry about anything else, just focus on Artwork.’ ”
From traditional animation methods like hand-drawn cell animation to stop motion photography, Matt Bissett-Johnson has done it all.
But he has finally settled on 2D animation and Cartoon Animator (CTA), producing award winning music videos and animation shorts that have been recognized around the world.
In this interview, Matt tells his personal journey in art and animation from before he even owned a computer, to today, where he finds himself being able to work fast and efficiently thanks to Cartoon Animator.
“I like Reallusion products because they are fairly easy to use, stable, and had direct compatibility with Photoshop, which I use all the time.”