Hi From the Future – remotely making an animated music video

New York creative team completed the challenge in 5 weeks during lockdown.

A challenging project

The creative team at Brooklyn, NY-based Hi From the Future (HFTF) found the challenge of the Covid-19 lockdown to come just as their music video for “Find a way” by Duckwrth was taking shape. The HFTF Team met with the client over lots of group video calls and enlisted realtime technology from Reallusion and Epic to remotely collaborate over a 5 week production, completing the job and launching the official music video under unusual conditions.

Mark Rubbo, creative director and co-founder of HFTF discusses the project for Duckwrth and details the complete behind the scenes process in a video (above) with partner Elliot Higgins and the rest of the HFTF Team. All the communication and production were all finished in remote team collaboration.

The full members of Hi From the Future team (Image credit: Hi From the Future)
Neal from Hi From the Future is using iClone for character animation editing (Image credit: Hi From the Future)

Character CreatoriClone and the iClone Unreal Live Link are essential to HFTF’s productions. This pipeline enabled the team to quickly build the characters combining HFTF’s current Zbrush pipeline, and the team successfully built the 4 main characters with ease.

Building the characters

The pipeline does not require the artist to rig the character from scratch, and the Character Creator made avatars can be sent to iClone for immediate animation. Character likeness was created with a CC3 and Zbrush workflow, along with Xgen for hair. Through a series of early virtual workshop sessions with Duckwrth, the team collaborated entirely remotely in order to visualize each aspect of the animated concept, from the overall guiding story arc and structure, down to the details of each artist’s wardrobe.

“We have been using the Reallusion suite for over a year now, and have integrated them seamlessly into our CG real-time pipeline in conjunction with Unreal Engine.”

– Mark Rubbo, creative director and co-founder
The visual development of the characters are well documented, making it easy for producers to reference anytime (Image credit: Hi From the Future)

Collaborating with the artist online

In addition to the broader creative sessions, the HFTF Team also held live performance capture sessions with each of the four artists, which proved valuable on many levels. 

A virtual meeting is held with Duckwrth, with the team capturing his unique stylized body movements for animation reference (Image credit: Hi From the Future)

The final result

The HFTF Team were able to capture animation reference and blendshape data specifically related to the story arc and actions of the video. The sessions also served as a way for the HFTF Team to experience the personalities and mannerisms of each artist directly.

Character Creators, Zbrush and Xgen Hair give life to these stylized avatars. (Image credit: Hi From the Future)

Lastly, by having a remote yet direct human connection between the artists and creative team, these sessions provided a common ground to bridge the technical and design language of the team with the perspectives and motivations of the artists and record label. 

With the animated characters built with iClone, and the 3D environment built in Unreal Engine, the HFTF Team even made a TV game prototype based on this project. The team was glad that remote collaboration was actually executable, and it was all made possible with iClone Unreal Pipeline. Realtime collaboration with Reallusion tools and pipeline for Unreal Engine can be incorporated into a variety of productions. 

A prototype video game was made in Unreal Engine base on the characters from “Find a way” music video  (Image credit: Hi From the Future)

For more information on Reallusion tools and to get a 30 free trial, visit: https://www.reallusion.com/iclone/live-link/unreal-engine/download.html

Reallusion’s Digital Human Contest 2020 – Winners Revealed

Reallusion’s Digital Human Contest launched in September 2020 with the aim of introducing game-changing solutions for character artists to add speed and creativity to 3D character creation. Within 2.5 months, there were more than 160 submissions across Realistic, Stylized and Animated characters categories. 35% of the entrants were new to Character Creator and successfully adopted it into their creation pipeline.

“We are elated by the number of new 3D artists excelling with Character Creator.  Among the entries, concept artists, animators, game developers and 3D generalists presented characters with work-in-progress that demonstrated the excellent and diverse skills brought to the competition. We also learned a lot from them. We believe that real-time character creation is the future for artists to revolutionize the process of building quality characters with an efficient workflow and adaptable pipeline.” 

– John Martin, VP, Product Marketing

The Digital Human Contest is hosted by Reallusion, and sponsored by industry leaders in character design, including Noitom, ArtStation, ZBrush, Substance, Texturing.xyz, Marvelous Designer, and Faceware. Character Creator’s native pipeline functions allow artists to seamlessly integrate a new workflow designed for rapid creativity with zero sacrifice in character quality.

Watch the video overview of submissions and outstanding entries:

WINNERS

REALISTIC CHARACTER CATEGORY 

Under this category, entrants create a realistic human character in Character Creator by combining the character base with tools like ZBrush, Substance Painter, Marvelous Designer, Blender, Wrap, Texturing. xyz, and Maya.

1st Place: Scout Annie – by Rafael Benedicto, 3D Character Modeler

“Character Creator helped a lot in this project as I was able to build and iterate an anatomically-accurate human in just minutes, then spend more time on other things like her outfit and equipment. And the results speak for themselves.”

– Rafael Benedicto

2nd Place: Cyber Boxer – by Miguel Soudjay, 3D Artist

“It was a whole new way of creating for me. Character Creator 3 is a tool that blends perfectly with other software and makes it an undeniable asset in the creation of characters like the Cyber Boxer. The topology is flexible and you have the possibility to have a rigged character to do your poses and animations.”

– Miguel Soudjay

3rd Place: The Evil Queen of Divine Troop – by Joe Lo, Freelance 3D Artist

“My story began 4 years ago, I spent countless nights mastering various 3D tools after finishing my daytime accounting job. I couldn’t tell you how excited I was to successfully render and illustrate the transformation of a wounded old lady to a perfectly shaped evil queen.”

– Joe Lo

STYLIZED CHARACTER CATEGORY

Under this category, entrants create a non-realistic bi-ped character in Character Creator by combining the character base with tools like ZBrush, Substance Painter, Marvelous Designer, Blender, and Maya.

1st Place: Tech Witch – by Angel Alonso Garcia, Concept Artist / Art Director

“I used CC3 Base+ as the basis for the characters, then I did the high poly modeling in ZBrush. Once the stylized anatomy was designed and modeled, I baked the information on the LOW poly model in ZBrush and Marmoset. The difference of the maps created in both programs gave me more variety, to be able to bake different textures.”

– Angel Alonso Garcia

2nd Place: Deep One Hybrid – by Konrad Hetko, Freelance 3D Artist

“In the beginning, I was wondering if Character Creator would be able to deal with such big deformations of the face. But the results were really good. Going back and forth between ZBrush, CC and Substance wasn’t a problem. I would be happy to participate in the next CC Digital Human Contest if it takes place.”

– Konrad Hetko

3rd Place: Sienna – by Andrea Antillon, Character Artist & 3D Fashion Illustrator

“A pipeline where all the tools are fully integrated with each other, allowing the project to flow, and giving the artist more freedom to focus on their actual art, is a delight to use. Participating in this challenge was an enriching experience.”

– Andrea Antillon

ANIMATED CHARACTER CATEGORY

Under this category, entrants animated  their CC character using any 3D animation tool like iClone, Unreal Engine, Maya, Unity, Blender, Cinema 4D, etc.

1st Place: Time Intruders – by Angel Alonso Garcia, Concept Artist / Art Director

“The contest gave me the opportunity to present my project. A story that begins with an action sequence, with several characters and in environments that allow a variety of different spaces to be shown. In order to do this, I had to focus all my efforts on developing characters that I could create and animate in a very short space of time, with a stylized visual style, that had its own personality.”

– Angel Alonso Garcia

Watch the video: Time Intruders

2nd Place: The Cyborg Doctor – by RJ Lin, 3D Artist

“Being a 3D artist, I can build up a character from imagination which is really a cheerful thing. Sometimes I’m not sure if I am a pro artist or not. This award makes me feel that I’m a good one. I don’t think my work is better than other entrants, but I really love it!”

– RJ Lin

Watch the video: The Cyborg Doctor

3rd Place: The Messenger – by Christoph Rüger & Khaya Ludidi, Indie Game Developers

“We only made the switch to Character Creator shortly before the contest. We had previously used a character model from a 3D asset store with various modifications. Our primary reason for the switch was the variety of characters we wanted for our game – and it was immediately clear that it was the right choice. Character Creator was the enabling factor for our somewhat unorthodox setup in Unity, like the dynamic wrinkles which are based on wrinkle assets from CC. Overall it was a great experience and well worth it!”

– Christoph Rüger

Watch the video: The Messenger

BEST DIGITAL DOUBLES

Entrants who created digital double characters by using ZBrush, or Character Creator’s Headshot, plugin, an ideal tool combination to generate 3D likeness characters.

Beetlejuice Likeness – by Anthony Hayes, Senior Character Artist

Benedict Cumberbatch Likeness – by Konrad Hetko, Freelance 3D Artist

Mona Lisa CG Portrait – by Jayesh Shriniwas Naik, Film Character Digital Sculptor/ 3D Character Artist

WuTang Clan – Ol’ Dirty Bastard – by Alexander Siedlarek Tarrida, Traditional / Digital Artist

Betty Boop – by Oscar Barrales Hernandez, 3D Artist / Motion Graphics

BEST USE OF ICLONE

This award goes to the Best use of iClone on character body animation, facial expression, physics assignment, environment setting, and final rendering.

Yumi Batgerel, 3D Character Artist

BEST STUDENT ARTWORKS

Outstanding student artworks among three categories will receive special awards and Reallusion software licenses to encourage continuous creation.

Andrea Antillon, Character Artist & 3D Fashion Illustrator

Tommy Ling LU, Freelance 3D Artist

Wolfgang Stockinger, 3D Artist

HONORABLE MENTIONS

There were tons of amazing entries and it was extremely difficult for the panel of judges to rate all entries as top honors in all categories. 42 artworks have been selected as Honorable Mentions, and received awards from Reallusion to recognize the amazing work by all.

REALISTIC CHARACTER

Yumi Batgerel, 3D Character Artist; Konrad Hetko, Freelance 3D Artist’ Anthony Hayes, Senior Character Artist

Pasquale Scionti, Senior Environment / Lighting Artist; Luis David Zavala García, Freelance Character Artist; Alexander Siedlarek Tarrida, Traditional & Digital Artist

Haoui Adel, Architect; Nicolas Sequeira, Freelance 3D Artist; Jaskaran Singh Grewal, Technical Artist

Wolfgang Stockinger, 3D Artist; Tommy Ling LU, Freelance 3D Artist; Aron Versteeg, Realtime Generalist

Jayesh Shriniwas Naik, Film Character Digital Sculptor / 3D Character Artist; Charles Peckstadt, Character Artist; Ernesto Salvador Ramírez Blanco, Freelance Designer

Andrius Beconis, 3D Artist; Femi Falade, Freelance Artist

STYLIZED CHARACTER

Peter Alexander (a.k.a Mythcons), 3D Generalist; Juan Olarte, Surfacing / Modelling 3D Artist; Angel Alonso Garcia, Concept Artist / Art Director

Giancarlo Sevilla, 3D Modeler / Digital Sculptor /Texture Artist; (2 entries) Oscar Fernandez Gonzalez, Digital Sculptor / Illustrator

Alexander Gonzalez Rodriguez, 3D Character Artist; Michael Falcony, Freelance 3D Artist; Adrian Sagardoy Pagador, Multimedia Artist / Painter / Sculptor / Game Designer

Maria Nadelyaeva, 3D Artist; Henry Varon, Concept Designer / Illustrator; Abel Felipe Arias Polo, 3D Character Artist

José Tijerín, Digital Artist; Oscar Barrales Hernandez, 3D Artist / Motion Graphics

Luis Montes de Oca, Art Director; Giancarlo Rojas, CG Artist

ANIMATED CHARACTER

Hans Hermann Ter Horst; Virtual Production Cinematographer; Brady Rigg, 3D Character Artist; Lee Adams

Hewa Ameen, Freelance 3D Artist; Tejinder Singh Grewal, Indie Game Dev; Warren Gokul, Freelance Artist

Kalex, 3D Animator; Mania Carta, CG Generalist; Ahmed Ahmed, 3D Character Modeler / Animator

You can see the full list of contest Winners and Honorable Mentions on the Reallusion webpage, and download the trial of Character Creator HERE.

CC MasterClass #2: Fast Cartoon Design with Character Creator

In this 4 part series for – Master Class “Fast Cartoon Design” Luis Duarte shares his tips and tricks on how to take advantage of Character Creator and iClone to create a cartoon character and animate his face and body easily. This 4 part series will cover the entire of process with Character Creator, ZBrush, Substance Painter, and iClone.

Luis Duarte – 3D Artist

My name is Luis Duarte and I am a 3D instructor on LibelStudio.com

PART #2 – Conformable Hair Generation

Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator rebrands as Cartoon Animator 4

New Smart IK Animation helps animators with intuitive creation.

Reallusion announces its 2D animation software CrazyTalk Animator will rebrand to Cartoon Animator for version 4 announced to release in April 2019.

Since 2008, CrazyTalk Animator has become one of the easiest 2D animation software in the market enabling all levels of users to create professional 2D animations with the least amount of effort. Reallusion reveals its fourth generation- Cartoon Animator 4 (CTA 4) will be able to more naturally animate 2D characters and add a fluid prop and scene interaction.  The CTA4 work-in-progress video demonstrates the all-new Smart IK animation, a revolutionary feature to animate with more precise, powerful and intuitive creation.

Cartoon Animator 4 Work In Progress 1 Video-

iPhoneX Review Video Made with a CrazyTalk Animator 3 Virtual Host

cta.jpg

An iPhone review video can be pretty dull with a single host and just an iPhone. Especially when you have already made hundreds of review videos, you realize that all your reviews look pretty much the same. So what do you do?

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