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Winner Tips & Tricks Interview: The Making of Takeyoshi Sugihara’s “Pekoten”

The “Winner Tips & Tricks ” series covers practical workflows and techniques shared by winners from the “2022 Animation At Work Contest”. To let users see the full spectrum of the Cartoon Animator pipeline, we are introducing projects that received attention and credit from the community. Let’s now take a look at Takeyoshi Sugihara’s: “Pekoten”, and see how he works his magic with Reallusion Cartoon Animator (CTA).

About Takeyoshi Sugihara

When I was in elementary school, I came across a wrestling manga called “Kinnikuman,” and I was always copying the drawings of the characters from that manga. The manga is still being serialized today and has had a great influence on many manga artists and martial artists, and because of it, there was a time when I thought I would become a manga artist in the future. 

When I was 22 years old, I entered the Visual Illustration Department of Yoyogi Animation academy. It was a very exciting two years for me as I had been away from drawing for a while. At that time, I was drawing only cats with pastels. At the same time, I was also drawing a few illustrations that led me to my current style. Little by little, I began to draw illustrations with stories, like picture books, and although I did not get published, I also started to draw picture books. At that time, I did all my illustrations by hand, but since I was born with red-green color blindness (For example, I painted human faces in green), I was made aware of my limitations with hand drawing, so I began to use computers to create my illustrations. 

I wanted to create something with a story rather than just a single illustration and it became a natural progression. Although I could not become a cartoonist, my childhood dream came true when I started using Cartoon Animator. I am a morning person, so I spend about two hours creating cartoons before going to work. In addition to making use of my off-hours and holidays, I have grown a lot by communicating with Japanese animation creators and participating in film competitions.

Why choose this entry topic? 

My mother is a single mother who has been a dorm auntie in a high school baseball dormitory for over ten years. Growing up watching her work, I began early on to draw the character of a mother in an apron. It is my longing to portray her living happily together with her family on the island where she was born. The title of this animation: “Hara Pekosan Tenshi” has been on my mind for more than ten years. Because I had many opportunities to cook with three of my best friends — going shopping, putting on an apron, and sometimes making mistakes has helped me in the creation of this work. The character design had changed several times but settled on the current form.

Why choose Cartoon Animator?

There was a lot of other animation software out there, but for me, at the time, with no animation experience, the simple and visually appealing control panel and the ability to apply animations for actors with a simple click were very appealing.

How I did it with CTA

Step 1: Scripting and storyboarding

I wanted to create an animation in which the characters move in time with the background music and song, so I started by drawing a storyboard. I drew up a storyboard and wrote out what the lyrics of the song would be. I picked out a few songs that I liked and tested them by singing along to see if the lyrics and tempo matched. Once the lyrics were adjusted, I asked the singer to sing the song. Until the song was ready, I sang the song myself and adjusted the timing and choreography.

Step 2: Character creation and sketching

To draw “Hara Pekosan Tenshi”, I took a character I had previously drawn and modified it for CTA. When I create a new actor, I reuse an existing actor from CTA and replace the images in Clip Studio Paint.

Because I learn a lot from the embedded actors, I often refer to their structures when I create an actor with similar elements. It’s also important that I pay attention to the way the actor’s arms are built.

This is because many of the Actors I create have two or three heads, and sometimes the neck is not visible in the design. When animating actors, I am careful about the order of the layers of each body part and whether or not the shoulders and elbows move in a way that is impossible for the skeleton.

Also, since the same actor cannot put on and take off clothing, it is necessary to know how many directions (0 degrees and 45 degrees) the actor needs to be facing. However, the mesh planes can be controlled to be visible or invisible on the timeline, so we did not need to increase the number of actors for this purpose.

Step 3: Animating the character and sprites

To animate the characters according to the lyrics, I would apply various dance animations from the content library. Then I looked for the best fit by watching the actors in action. In many cases, we applied existing animations to the actors, and we also used items purchased from the Reallusion 2D Marketplace.

Then I adjusted the speed of the actor’s animation (the length of the clips on the timeline). If necessary, I would arrange the movements by breaking down the clips by sampling motion clips.

Step 4: Creating and structuring the scene and setting up the camera

The creation of the scene was divided by the changing themes of the music, and because of this, there were some major changes from the initial storyboard.

Originally, the storyboard was about an angel washing his hands under a faucet. Although I had created the image material for this scene, I didn’t want the screen to be too busy switching between scenes, so I switched to an animation of soap bubbles being rinsed off.

Step 5: Selecting background music, sound FX, & voice acting

Some people may choose the background music later, depending on their preference. But in this case, the animation was to be set to music, so I chose something that would help the viewer visualize the enjoyable process of cooking. I used After Effects to add shadow, light, and atmosphere. And I used Shadow Studio 2, which made lighting very easy.

The book I referenced is “動画でわかる After Effects 教室” (“Dōga de wakaru After Effects kyōshitsu”). I hope you can also try to use some of the mentioned techniques, and hope you will enjoy doing animation as I do. See you next time!

Follow Takeyoshi Sugihara

Youtube | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC08ZqNgbH8wJ9TBQcPvPnSg/featured

Chartered Architect Conjures a Metamorphosis of Ballet into Kagura with Character Creator and iClone

This article is featured on Fox Renderfarm

Project “Kagura” is a one-minute full CG animation, and the sequel to John Yim’s “Ballerina” project, made with Character Creator, animated in iClone, and rendered with Redshift and Cinema4D.   

Kay John Yim is a Chartered Architect at Spink Partners based in London. He has worked on a wide range of projects across the UK, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, including property development and landscape design. His work has been featured on Maxon, Artstation, CG Record and 80.LV.

Yim’s growing passion for crafting unbuilt architecture with technology has gradually driven himself to taking on the role of a CGI artist, delivering visuals that not only serve as client presentations but also as means of communication among the design and construction team. Since the 2021 COVID lockdown, he challenged himself to take courses in CG disciplines beyond architecture, and has since won more than a dozen CG competitions. 

The project’s concept centers on a fantasized version of Kagura (神楽) – a type of Shinto ritual ceremonial dance in Japan. According to tradition, a Kagura dancer turns into a god during the performance, thus depicted as the dancer’s ballerina tutu dress transforming into a hakama as she dances on the floating stage, signifying the purifying spirits of nature.

This article focuses primarily on shots three and four of project “Kagura”, where Yim begins to give details on his design and technical process of the four main aspects below: 

  • The Architecture 
  • The Animation 
  • The Transformation 
  • Rendering 

“Kagura” was made with the following software:

  • Rhino
  • Moment of Inspiration (MOI)
  • Cinema 4D (C4D)
  • Redshift (RS)
  • Character Creator (CC)
  • iClone
  • Marvelous Designer 11 (MD)
  • Houdini

This making-of tutorial article is a short version of “The Making of ‘Kagura’, A Photorealistic CG Animation”, written by Kay John Yim. For the full version, please visit Fox Renderfarm News Center.

Shot One
Shot Two
Shot Three
Shot Four


The architecture was loosely based on Ookawaso Hotel’s lobby in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

PureRef board for the project

It was probably one of the most challenging interior spaces that I have ever modeled, due to the following reasons: 

  1. Most photographs available online focus on the floating stage and thus were quite limited in showing the actual space.
  2. With no access to architectural drawings, I had to eyeball all the measurements from photographs.
  3. The space does not conform to a single orthogonal grid, for instance, the stairs and the 1F walkway did not align to the columns. 

I first gauged the size of the space by the balustrade height—as a rule of thumb, balustrades are usually 1.1 meters tall, and it varies slightly depending on exterior vs. interior space and the country’s building regulations. 

By estimation, the distance between the columns is about 7.7 meters. 

Estimating measurements from photo

Looking at the orientation of the floating stage and the columns, I assumed that the space was designed with two sets of grids: a construction grid that aligned with the columns (which structurally holds up the space) and a secondary grid diagonal to the construction grid (which serves only as a design grid). 

I drew up the construction grid uniformly (7.7 x 7.7 meters), and placed columns accordingly. Then I drew diagonal lines on top of the construction grid to get the secondary grid, and this gave me a starting point for the floating stage as well as the 1F walkway. 

Drawing up the grids, stairs and 1F walkway

A large portion of the architectural elements then instantly fell into place according to the grids I drew up. 

Having said that, the modeling process was not exactly straight-forward though. With the lack of references (especially for the corner details), I spent most of the time re-designing and tweaking wall panel sizes and wall stud positions to get to proportions that were aesthetically pleasing. 

Most elements fell into place according to the grids

Modeling by grid

I then exported the Rhino model to .3dm, opened it up in MOI and exported it again into FBX. Doing so gave me clean, quad meshes that I could easily edit and UV-map in C4D.

Model turntable

While the majority of the space took less than a week to model, I spent an additional month solely on fine-tuning the details, tweaking the lighting, and framing a composition that I was satisfied with.

Render iterations
The final composition


2-1 Character Animation made with Character Creator and iClone

The character animation was created with Character Creator (CC) based on mocap animation, which can be found on the Reallusion Marketplace. 

I kept my animation workflow as simple as possible; In fact, I exclusively used “Set Speed” and “Edit Motion Layer” functions in iClone to get to the final character animation. First, I imported my CC character into iClone, applied the mocap animation onto the character via drag-and-drop, and altered the speed with “Set Speed” to create a slow-motion effect.

Slowing down mocap animation in iClone with “Set Speed”

*Note: Please see my previous article for CG Character creation: Ballerina: A CGI Fantasy made with Character Creator and iClone.

Altering the speed however, exaggerated a lot of movement that looked distracting; Hence, I played the character animation on loop and deleted keyframes that I found unnecessary.  I then used “Edit Motion Layer” to lift up the arms and modify the finger positions. 

Edit Motion Layer

2-2 Garment Preparation

Once I have gotten a decent character animation, I moved on to Marvelous Designer (MD) and Character Creator to prepare the garments for animation and simulation. 

Cloth simulation in Marvelous Designer is extremely finicky: multiple layers of clothing too close together causes a lot of jittering, and that could take an infinite number of simulations to resolve. For the above reason, I separated the two sets of Marvelous Designer garments (ballet tutu and hakama) into two categories: skin-tight vs loose garments. 

The skin-tight garments would be animated in Character Creator & iClone, a technique most commonly used in game production. This technique excels in speed but falls short in simulating loose garment details compared to MD. The skin-tight garments in this project included the ballet tutu leotard and the hakama’s inner layer.

Skintight garments

The remaining loose garments would be simulated in MD (the ballet tutu skirt and the hakama’s outer layers).

Lose garments

2-3 Skintight Garment Animation with Character Creator and iClone

My preparation for the garments in CC are as follows: 

  1. Export garment from MD to FBX as T-pose.
  2. Import FBX into CC by “Create Accessories”. 
  3. Assign “Skin Weight”. 
  4. Export to iClone

The skin-tight garment would then be automatically applied to the animated character in iClone

Ballet tutu leotard animation in iClone

2-4 Loose Garment Simulation with Marvelous Designer and iClone

MD in general simulates garment better by using CPU rather than GPU when there are multiple layers of clothing. Having separated the tutu leotard from the tutu skirt in this particular case, I found GPU simulation actually gave a cleaner and faster simulation than using CPU alone. 

Ballet tutu skirt simulation

For the hakama I wanted to create a calm but otherworldly aesthetic, so I reduced the “Gravity” under “Simulation Settings” to 0, and upped the “Air Damping” to 5. This resulted in a constantly floating sleeve and a clear silhouette throughout the entire animation.

Hakama simulation

With all the garments animated and simulated, I exported all of them as separate Alembic files. The Character was exported as an animated FBX from iClone.

2-5 Pose-simulation clean-up in Houdini

Garment simulated in MD could sometimes result in too many details or polygons with messy connectivity. The former I personally found distracting and the latter would cause problems down the line in C4D when used in combination with “Cloth Surface”. 

I imported the Alembic files into Houdini and used “Attribute Blur” to smooth out the garment, eliminating extra wrinkles.


3-1 Setting up the Camera

Having imported the character FBX and all the Alembic files into Cinema 4D (C4D), I then move onto setting up my camera based on the character animation. This prevented me from spending extra time working on details that would not be visible in the final shot. 

I used “PSR” under “Constraint” to bind the camera’s height position to the character’s “neck” position; doing so stabilized the camera and avoided distracting movements. 

3-2 Tutu Dress to Hakama

The transformation of the tutu dress into hakama was driven by a combination of “PolyFx”‘s and animated fields within C4D.

Working with “PolyFX” 

C4D’s “PolyFx” breaks down objects by their polygons; any Mograph effectors assigned thereafter will then affect the object on a per-polygon basis rather than affecting the object itself as a whole.

I assigned a “PolyFx”, a “Random Effector”, a “Plain Effector” and a “Spherical Field” to each of the following parts: 

  • Tutu leotard 
  • Tutu skirt 
  • Hakama sleeve 
  • Hakama top (outer layer) 
  • Hakama top (inner layer) 
  • Hakama bottom 

Each of the “Spherical Fields” were then bound to the character’s skeleton “pelvis”.  With the Spherical Field bound to the character, I animated the sizes of the “Spherical Fields” and tweaked the timing to different garment parts to gradually scale down/scale up by their polygon divisions. For specific steps, please see the detailed guide in the full version.

*Note:When in doubt, press Shift-C then type in the Mograph or function you are looking for—I use Shift-C all the time in C4D.

 Garment animation driven by “PolyFx”

3-3 Tutu Skirt to Butterfly Hakama

In addition to the garment transformation driven by “PolyFX”s, I added an extra layer of animation with a “Cloner” of animated butterflies; this created an illusion as if the tutu skirt disintegrated into a swarm of butterflies and flew away. 

I use an animated butterfly created by Travis David (click to download) cloned onto the simulated tutu skirt, driven with a plain effector in scale to make them appear and disappear in flow with the PolyFx animation.

Ggarment transformation with butterfly “Cloner”

For the final rendering, I added “Cloth Surface” and “Subdivision” to each garment part to break up the polygons to even smaller parts; this resulted in an illusion of the tutu dress being disintegrated and subsequently reintegrated into the hakama. 

Technically speaking it was a relatively simple animation, the most challenging parts were timing and developing an aesthetic that flowed naturally with the character movement. The ten seconds of transformation alone took me more than two months to get to the final version; I was constantly adjusting the Spherical Fields’ animation through the plugin “Signal”, rendering the viewport sequence, tweaking and re-rendering over and over again.

“Cloth Surface” and “Subdivision” are computationally expensive—each viewport frame took at least two minutes to process, totalling about ten minutes per viewport sequence render. 


Final shot 3 breakdown


4-1 Texturing

I kept my texturing workflow fairly simple—apart from the characters, I used Megascans material and foliage in the final renders.

4-2 Redshift Limitations & Workaroundsturing

Though Redshift is my favorite offline renderer for its unmatched rendering speed, there were a few limitations regarding Motion Blur and Cloner/Matrix that I had to have a workaround in preparation for the final rendering. 

“Motion Blur”, or “Deformation Blur” to be specific, contributes to the realism of CG animation. However, there is a known limitation of Redshift automatically disabling “Deformation Blur” on “PolyFX” objects. This would cause glitches (objects look as if they pass through each other) in the final render if “Deformation Blur” is turned on globally. While keeping global “Deformation Blur” on, I added a Redshift Object tag on every character and garment object and unchecked “Deformation Blur” on the RS object tags.

On the other hand, while “Cloner” and “Matrix” both serve the same purpose of cloning objects, they differ in viewport feedback and rendering speed. Using “Cloner” has the advantage of wysiwyg in the viewport, as opposed to using “Matrix” where you have to render out the frame to see the final result. 

Rendering-wise, “Matrix” has the advantage of being rendered by Redshift much more efficiently than “Cloner”; Taking Shot 4 for instance, the final render duration per frame is three hours using exclusively “Cloner” as opposed to 2.5 hours using exclusively “Matrix”. Hence, I used “Cloner” while working on the shot composition and used “Swap Cloner/Matrix” to replace all “Cloner” into “Matrix” for the final render.

“Cloner” viewport feedback

“Matrix” viewport feedback

4-3 Redshift Environment

I used Redshift Environment to give all the shots an atmospheric and mysterious look; it also helped to convey the depth of the scene, especially in a busy composition like Shot 4. 

The Redshift Environment’s Volume Material was driven by two “Null”s in height; a fake Spot Light directly above the dancing character and two Area Lights from below the stage also contributed to the Redshift Environment. 

4-4 Redshift Proxies

Having finalized the look of the shots, I exported as many objects as possible into Redshift Proxies for rendering efficiency. I used “Redshift Proxy Exporter” to batch export objects—this saved me a lot of time, especially when exporting foliage. With everything replaced as Redshift proxies, this brought my final render time per frame from 2.5 hours down to two hours.


“Kagura” is by far the most challenging personal project I have ever done. I learned along the way as I worked on “Kagura” and “Ballerina”, all through trial and error, rendering out iterations after iterations throughout the past six months. 

With Reallusion and Fox Render Farm’s support, I eventually brought “Kagura” to life, and this has been the most rewarding project since I began my CGI journey.

Learn more :

• Kay John Yim’s personal site https://johnyim.com/

• Kay John Yim’s ArtStation https://www.artstation.com/johnyim

• Character Creator https://www.reallusion.com/character-creator/download.html

• iClone https://www.reallusion.com/iclone/download.html

March Digital using Cartoon Animator to fulfill client needs

Chris Walker from March Digital implemented Cartoon Animator (CTA) as his preferred choice of 2D animation software for the creation of animated ads for a local law firm which would feature in cinema advertising. Having produced animation for such names as The Wiggles and Fairfax, Chris has considerable experience in the field of animation and in this interview with Reallusion he shares some of his insights and why Cartoon Animator is his personal choice for 2D animation software.

Q: Hello Chris and welcome. Can you begin by sharing a bit about your working background?

I’ve been working as a multimedia producer since the late 90’s having started out animating in Macromedia Flash producing large animated websites for clients like Intel, Fairfax and Foxtel.

My first major foray into cartoon animation was when I worked with The Wiggles about 18 years ago producing over 70 animated cartoons for their television and DVD series. We created them in Flash initially before moving on to Moho. I remember the most challenging aspects of those cartoons was always character rigging and managing what felt like millions of keyframes. It took a long time to do and generally involved creating alternate versions of each character to suit different animation scenarios – so, very time consuming. We had to devise creative ways of developing reusable animations that could be shared among a small team of animators in software which was not designed for that purpose.

Q: How did you discover Cartoon Animator and what made you decide to use it as your animation software?

I’m one of those people who has owned Cartoon Animator for a few years but not really used it on any projects until recently. I purchased it a few years ago because I was intrigued about it’s approach to character rigging and use of motion clips. I mostly just messed about with it until about a year ago when I was asked to produce a TV commercial for the Tamworth City Council promoting a survey they were conducting … riveting stuff, I know … and I decided to use Cartoon Animator 4 for the project. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to produce and deliver the animation and how flexible the process was when it came to making changes following client review and feedback. It seemed too easy, to be honest. And it was fun.

“I decided to use Cartoon Animator for the project. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to produce and deliver the animation and how flexible the process was when it came to making changes following client review and feedback. It seemed too easy, to be honest. And it was fun.”

Chris Walker – March Digital
March Digital crew

Q: Can you tell us about the work you’re doing with Cartoon Animator?

I was recently commissioned by a local family law firm to produce a 15 second cinema advertisement to promote their divorce services. The animation starts with a parent sitting in their dining room holding divorce papers while their children can be seen playing in the backyard with the family dog. The parent has an initial look of sorrow on their face as they look up from the divorce papers to gaze out of the window while their facial expression changes slightly to convey how they feel when they look at the children.

The next scene shows the parent and children coming together in the backyard. The children run up to the parent who kneels down to embrace them both while looking at them with the loving eyes of a parent. The central focus for the entire animation is the parents face and the emotions it has to convey. Cartoon Animator 4 seemed like the great choice for this project as I was keen to use the face puppet tool for the facial animation. And I wanted to see how fast I could do most of the animation using just motion clips avoiding key-framing if possible.  

Due to the nature of the topic (divorce within a family) we decided to make two versions – one featuring the father and the other featuring the mother – with each version running in different theatres and hopefully resonating with both men and women depending on which version they happened to see before their movie.

To achieve this quickly, I decided to create the animations with the mother character first before duplicating the project, swapping the mother for the father and motion retargeting the animation. This saved me a heap of time and made me feel really clever!

Q: What are some of your favourite tools and features to use in Cartoon Animator?

One of the things I really like about using Cartoon Animator is the Reallusion Marketplace and the fact that the assets you can purchase and download from the marketplace are designed to work without needing to roundtrip everything through Illustrator or Photoshop. I was able to quickly find all of the assets I needed for the project and have them imported and setup ready to animate within minutes.

Asset-wise I needed an Aussie backyard and a typical suburban looking dining room with a window. I found the assets that had been created by Garry Pye (a fellow Aussie) were spot on for my needs. He has both a DIY backyard scene and a living room scene which stylistically work perfectly together.

For the characters I needed two parents, two children and a dog. My main focus when choosing the characters was how facially expressive I could animate them. I found the School Mates series of characters by Serg Pilypencos on the Marketplace to be perfect for the project. My intention was to make the face of the parent quite prominent in the opening scene, with a look of exhaustion, sorrow and sadness on their face, so it was vital that the face be as expressive as possible while still being a very simple flat shaded style so that it fit with the other elements. The male and female characters in his series have very large eyes and prominent eyebrows which made it easy to animate their facial expressions pulling the audiences attention into the eyes during the opening scene.

The most fun I had with this animation was creating the scene of the boy and girl playing in the backyard with their dog. It’s pretty simple stuff – the boy picks up a ball and throws it. The dog chases the ball while the girl jumps up and tries to catch the ball as it flies over her head. They all run across the yard into the arms of the parent. I was able to do 90% of the animation by dropping motion clips on the characters and the little key-framing I did need to do was pretty basic but got the job done perfectly.

Q: Why did you choose Cartoon Animator as the platform to create your content?

I really like how Cartoon Animator simplifies and streamlines the process of developing a project. Being able to source quality assets from the Marketplace meant that I was able to work fast and respond to the clients feedback quickly. I think another big advantage that CTA provides over other software is that you’re able to rapidly prototype animations and iterate quickly. Sending an animation over to a client for review knowing that any changes they ask for will likely be easy to implement because the tools provide a high degree of flexibility, results in a smooth experience for everyone involved.

“I really like how Cartoon Animator simplifies and streamlines the process of developing a project. Being able to source quality assets from the Marketplace meant that I was able to work fast and respond to the clients feedback quickly. I think another big advantage that CTA provides over other software is that you’re able to rapidly prototype animations and iterate quickly.”

Chris Walker – March Digital

Now I can’t wait to get my hands on Cartoon Animator 5!

Q: So what’s next for you? Do you have plans for future content in the works?

Yes, I have a few clients that have a regular need for animation so I’ll be focusing my efforts on using Cartoon Animator from now on. I’m currently working on an animation using Character Creator and iClone and I’m keen to experiment with creating a cartoon version in Cartoon Animator reusing some of the motion clips from iClone. For me, having a suite of animation tools that covers both 2D and 3D and which in many ways have a similar workflow approach means I am able to move quickly between applications without having to stop and recalibrate my brain each time, which is really appreciated. And being able to reuse motion assets from iClone in Cartoon Animator is pretty cool.

I am particularly excited about the upcoming release of Cartoon Animator 5 and the new vector animation tools it now features. A lot of the work I do is targeted for the web, generally explainer-type animations for corporate clients. I can see that Cartoon Animator 5‘s vector animation tools will work great for creating those ‘single shot – panning and zooming’ style of explainer animations which clients are always keen to invest in. 

Thank you for having me.

Follow Chris:



ActorCore AccuRIG Rigging just got a whole lot easier! – 3D Special FX artist | AMIRULER

Amirul Afiq bin Hussain – 3D SFX Artist

Amirul Afiq bin Hussain (AMIRULER)

Amirul Afiq bin Hussain or more commonly known as Amiruler began his career as a wedding videographer at the age of 18 and is currently running his own company, Spektrum Cahaya Production Filmmaking) and Rakan Animations (3D Animation and VFX).

Despite his love of drawing, and creating artworks since childhood, Amiruler has never considered pursuing it as a career. However, he still does it as a hobby. In his previous role as the Lead of Shared Services department at a local Malaysian TV station (TVS), he shared his knowledge and grew the 3D/VFX community in his area, hoping that more and more people would grow to know the capabilities of the local 3D artists.

Amirul creates 3D Characters, 3D Environments, Visual Effects and 3D animation for his projects and sells them on online marketplaces such as Sketchfab. He uses Autodesk Maya primarily for modeling and texturing.

ActorCore’s AccuRIG has made his work 10 x easier and faster. Previously, all his characters on the marketplace were not rigged. But with the ability to upload his characters directly from AccuRIG to Sketchfab, he mentions that he may be able to sell rigged and animated characters in the future. The video below shows how easy it is for him to use AccuRIG on the characters he makes, and how he directly sells them on Sketchfab.

Steps on how to use AccuRIG by ActorCore:


First of all, a humanoid character need to be loaded on AccuRIG to start the rigging process. The best pose to start with is of course the T-pose or A-pose. It should always be the default pose whenever a character is created. But AccuRIG can also rig certain other poses as well, including models with accessories or multi-Meshes too. Just drag and drop the OBJ or FBX files here or a selection of models can browse through, which is available for download at Sketchfab. Once you have done this, give it time to load the model, and it will bring it in.


Once the model has been loaded, a vertical line will appear. Most of the time, the software detects correctly where the center of the model is. In cases that it does not, the vertical line can be adjusted manually, so make sure the line is in the middle of the hips. Rotate character button is also available, so it is possible to rotate them to check on all sides. Click “Rig Body” to move on to the next step.


Joints are automatically placed on the 3D model after processing. Minor tweaks can be done to make sure the points are exactly where it is supposed to be. By hovering at the points, there is a reference on the right-side of the screen, on where the point is best placed at, and by referring to that reference, the points can be adjusted simply by dragging them. There is also a symmetry check box, to make the opposing joints move simultaneously and make the process easier and faster. Click “Rig Hand” at the bottom right-side of the screen to proceed.


This is one of the major advantage of AccuRIG compared to Mixamo, is that the ability to rig the hands. The number of fingers can be changed on the right-side of the screen. For the most part, the joints are placed correctly, but also there is a freedom to adjust them manually, in cases that it does not. Also make sure the cone on the thumb is pointing to the right direction, as referred to the reference image. Proceed by clicking “Rig Left Hand”. Similar with the right hand, check for the placement of the joints and the direction of the cone on the thumb. If all is good, proceed to “Finalize Character”. It will take a few minutes to rig the 3D model.


The 3D model should be already moving in “idle” position once the processing is done. Check the models to see if it is moving and bending correctly by going through the preview motion library that is located at the top-right of the screen. It is also possible to add more animations here by clicking the “+” sign, and it will be directed to the website library. If there are certain poses that needs to be tweaked, it can be done so in the “Pose offset” menu.


Once everything is done, click export to any format that is desired, as it supports most major software that is available today.

With the ActorCore AccuRIG tool, it had become easier to rig and animate 3d models more accurately. From previous experience with Mixamo, there we’re a few downsides to it such as, the character not deforming correctly…. especially the models with extra accessories, and the inability to rig the hands which makes the model seem incomplete in a way.

With AccuRIG , it is as easy as clicking a few buttons to get a 3D model with rig and animation ready, which can be an added advantage to the Sketchfab marketplace sellers to sell their creations with better rigs and animations at a much higher price allowing customers to get more value for their purchase. In additional, it is a totally free software for anyone to use!

You can check it out at https://actorcore.reallusion.com/auto-rig and try it

And also, don’t forget to visit my store and many of my items at Skethfab https://sketchfab.com/amiruler

The Easy Way to Create a Populated Park Scene

Learn how to generate an animated pedestrian scene using ActorCore, iClone & Omniverse

Pekka Varis is a cinematographer, 3D animator from Finland and the official NVIDIA Omniverse Ambassador.  He is also the CEO of an Omniverse-based startup called Cineshare.

In this tutorial, Pekka Varis shares his ways of enlivening large-scale exterior settings by filling a 3D park with animated people using iClone and Omniverse Machinima with ActorCore 3D characters and mocap animations.

3D-Ready Content on ActorCore Asset Store

Hi, my name is Pekka. I started this journey with Brownstone City (a free asset from Omniverse), then I actively browsed the ActorCore website to download all kinds of character and motion packs to fill a busy commonplace street with kids, workers, police officers, and citizens.

The ActorCore asset store is the secret to my success with 3D works. I find the motion library super inspirational and useful for all sorts of projects and genres like fantasy, commercials, and even dramas! I begin by building my storyboards based on stock motions, then I fine-tune them if needed. In addition, the provided lightweight content for 3D people and mocap animations are extremely important⁠—even more so because they come fully rigged from head to toe!

ActorCore interactive 3D people for crowds usage.

Import to iClone for Animation

After selectively exporting the crude street geometry of Brownstone City from Omniverse to iClone in FBX format, I deployed all the 3D characters and dropped their idle motions, then applied some paired motions, e.g., people having a conversation.

The Digital Souls content pack is crafted to meet real-world needs, especially for jack-of-all-trades like myself, or what I like to call “modern-day Da Vincis” who don’t have the ample time to manually animate facial expressions. Digital Souls has distilled the process down to simple drag-and-drops! I can easily apply believable facial animations to all digital actors with subtle and natural facial performances that can truly engage the audience.

The Pedestrian Actions content pack is ideal for populating any 3D scene with busy streets that call for a variety of natural, autonomous background characters. With fourteen walking styles and eleven idle poses, Pedestrian Actions is a genius concept and I had fun directing all the city people around the park.

Pedestrian Actions used inside iClone.

Walking Around with Motion Director

With idle motions setting the mood and the city as the staging area, I began to direct all the pedestrians while making sure they don’t cross paths and crash into one another. The entire process was a game-like experience for me and, in the end, I had over fifty people walking about. 

Using alt+click in Motion Director gave me all I needed to move characters around—a method that I applied one by one to every pedestrian until the streets were roused with activity. I enjoyed building the look and feel of my city which resembled a hodgepodge of ‘80s fashion mixed with present-day aesthetics. Finally, exporting the scene in USD format from iClone took a bit of time, so naturally, I fetched another cup of tea.

Using Motion Director to navigate characters in the scene.

Prop & Camera Movements inside Omniverse

In Omniverse Machinima, I animated my camera and added free props found in NVIDIA’s massive asset store. Following the path of the camera, I focused on decorating parts of the street that needed some extra characters to keep the entire scene reasonably light. As a finishing step, I added flowing water and rendered everything in Path Traced mode which gave the movie the final touch that I wanted.

Decorating the scene with props inside Omniverse.

Best 3D Content and Tools for Crowd Simulation

I have been making videos all my life starting from twelve years old—back in the days of Commodore 64. Lights, camerawork, and timing are my strongest skills, but now with tools like iClone and Omniverse Machinima, I can perform miracles!

In a nutshell, the combination of iClone and Omniverse offers a powerful, fast, and intuitive way to create large-scale outdoor renders. Combining characters, natural motions from ActorCore’s asset store, and content from Pedestrian Actions is a powerful way to “colorize” and customize your cityscapes.

For free ActorCore 3D characters and mocap animations, visit here.

For a free trial version of iClone , visit here

For more info about Pekka Varis and Cineshare, visit here.

iClone 8 User Tutorial : Using Lens Flares to enhance real-time animation visuals

Final scene render by Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi
Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi – Professional iClone Animator

Hi, I’m Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi and I want to welcome you to this iClone 8 (iC8) tutorial. As you all know I am an animator and my major 3D tool is iClone . I’m so excited to bring you this next tutorial.

This time around, we will still be talking about how to enhance the visuals in our projects on iClone 8 for a captivating and alluring finish.

We are going to talk about lens flare. How to optimize your scene and make your scene look aesthetically appealing using lens flare.


Winner Tips & Tricks Interview: The Making of LuckyPlanet’s “The Secret of Figs”

The “Winner Tips & Tricks ” series covers practical workflows and techniques shared by winners from the “2022 Animation At Work Contest”. To let users see the full spectrum of the Cartoon Animator pipeline, we are introducing projects that received attention and credit from the community. Let’s now take a look at LuckyPlanet’s: “The Secret of Figs”, and see how he works his magic with Reallusion Cartoon Animator (CTA).

About LuckyPlanet

Hi, I’m LuckyOne and LuckyPlanet is my YouTube channel. LuckyOne is an alias I use along with a voxel rabbit as my avatar. In the past, I worked as a 3D animator for over seven years before starting this project. I have created several short films which were awarded and nominated in animation festivals like Annecy, SIGGRAPH, and Hiroshima Animation Fest. Unexpectedly, my career prospects took a turn for the worse when I lost 20% of my vision due to eye surgery. That was reason enough to put me off using 3D software because the interface became too complicated and difficult for me to read. I was still able to work as a producer and director for a while, however, I very much miss creating my own shows.

After a long hiatus from animation, I began searching for alternative 2D software with a clean UI that is simple and easy to use. I happened to find Cartoon Animator 4 (CTA4), through which, only took me a week to start my first animation project after watching numerous informative tutorials on YouTube.

Although it’s never easy to gather funding for an animation project, I stepped into the world of NFTs in 2021 with a project called “LuckyPlanet”. It had a clear roadmap for financing an animated series and creating an intellectual property business. Cardano—being one of the most eco-friendly blockchains—had a community that welcomed me with open arms. Thanks to them, I finally had enough funding to launch the shows on my own with twenty episodes on the way.

Why choose this entry topic? 

Dr. Tanthai Prasertkul and Linina Phuttitarn, good friends of mine, have produced thousands of hours of science podcasts. We believe it’s possible to create a fancy animated series with these amazing stories. “Scientific thinking” is what we want to convey through our show. Being rational, curious, open-minded, and eager to learn, are the basic skill sets that can help us overcome many of the challenges of the modern world.

Why choose Cartoon Animator?

Pre-rigged characters and facial animations are, in my opinion, the two crucial areas that CTA dominates. As a 3D animator, I can confidently say that these aforementioned facets take a lot of time in production. CTA makes the turnaround twice as fast with results that can compete with other software. User-friendliness and large, clear user interfaces are a must for me, and CTA provides it in spades.

How I did it with CTA

Step 1: Script and voice acting

Since each episode of the original podcast is longer than an hour, they need to be cut into two to five-minute shorts (so it doesn’t take years to complete production). This was done by removing several jokes and extraneous information, then having the entire script rewritten to add cohesion. After the script was finalized, we forwarded a copy to our talented voice actors.

Step 2: Character Creation & Rigging

I collaborated with a friend who is a designer to finalize the main characters’ looks. We iterated on the designs until we had the look and feel that fit the story well and played nicely with the animation style. Thanks to the premade rigs in CTA4, we were able to take two character templates from the library and replace them with our designs in Photoshop.

Step 3: Character Customization & Animation

360 Head Creator is a very powerful tool in my arsenal; By which, took a week to set up all the facial expressions and provide the ability to make head turns, but it made it much easier and faster to animate the characters. With all the options out there, especially with the motion library at hand, I chose a straightforward process of animating each bone one by one because I wanted to build up a collection of custom motions. In keeping down this path, I should have made enough movement to create the entire series within four to five episodes.

Step 4: Scenes creation & composition & Camera setting

There isn’t much camera work here since the video is focused on narration. In addition, there are only a few layers applied in Adobe After Effects.

Step 5: Composition in After Effects

The characters are composed of basic flat colors. Adding several additional layers in Adobe After Effects can give them more volume and let them stand out from the background.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed our show and would appreciate it if you could subscribe to our YouTube channel and leave some comments!

Follow LuckyPlanet

Twitter | https://twitter.com/LuckyPlanet_NFT

Youtube | https://youtube.com/luckyplanet

Linktree | https://linktr.ee/luckyplanet

Pitch & Produce | Remnants: Post Apocalyptic Short with iClone, Character Creator & Unreal Engine 5

This story is featured in 80 Level

Stanislav Petruk

My name is Stanislav (but I prefer Stan). I am a self-taught artist working in the game-dev industry. I started as a motion designer in a small Siberian town and eventually moved to a bigger city chasing my goal to make games. The first job I landed was a startup mobile game, and I think it was a perfect project that helped me to make a transition from video production to a real-time environment. My next job was at a company called Sperasoft, it’s a big outsourcing company that co-developed a lot of great AAA games. I started as a VFX artist and worked on several big titles there – WWE immortals (mobile), Mortal Kombat (mobile), Agents of Mayhem, Overkill’s the walking dead, and Saints Row. It was a great time and it helped me to grow a lot as a professional artist.

After over 4 years at Sperasoft, it was time to move on and in 2019 I moved to Poland. I spent almost 2 years working at Techland Warsaw. In 2021 I moved once again, this time to Stockholm, and currently work at Avalanche studios as a senior VFX artist.

In iClone 8 I was able to do all the mocap clean-up, previously done in MotionBuilder, but without the complexity or higher cost. Inertial sensors of Xsens understand the movement well but have no idea where they are really located in 3D space.

Stan Petruk – Senior VFX Artist from Avalache Studios

About the Remnants Project

Besides making games, I love films and parallel to my real-time VFX career I am trying to develop myself as a filmmaker. I attended several filmmaking courses, the most recent one was a short online course from Vancouver film school. I am also learning from books and trying to break down the films I watch. But it was all a theory and at some point, I realized that I need to get my hands dirty and make my first film. So, it is when I started to develop an idea for a short film with a simple story. I also explored a similar theme in my previous project, which was a VFX contest two years ago – But it was not a film yet.

The production of the Remnants started maybe a year ago, but in the beginning, it was mostly research and development. I took a pack of sticky notes and started to break down the project into small elements, first breaking it into the story structure acts, adding events in between, and making a list of what software and techniques I must learn to make the project come to life. Everything was glued to the wall and visually looked like there is no way I could make it alone with the skills I currently have. At the same time, I didn’t want the production to turn into only a technical presentation, my goal here was to make a film and the main focus should be exactly film direction.

So, I started to dig into how I can optimize my work. The real-time approach in all possible ways was something obvious. Merging my two passions – gamedev and films – into one was the core idea to get production going.

Discovering the Reallusion Tools

I was very concerned about having characters in my film, they are very important and they must look alive, it must be possible to empathize with them. So, I googled how I can make a character without being a Character Artist, and after some research, Reallusion products seemed like a perfect solution. Simple to use and with some basic knowledge of CG you can get an awesome result from it.

Reallusion software works very well with other programs, especially with Unreal Engine. All file formats I needed are supported, and export presets are there, too. You just use it as a part of a solid pipeline. It simply does the job and helps to save a massive amount of time.

The creation process in Character Creator is as simple as it can be, you just pull the slides and get the shapes you want. But if you want to get the result you must understand what exactly you need. So, I made a virtual film casting. I found some AI that generated a bunch of photos and just chose the ones I liked best. After that maybe an hour per person and you are ready for the next production stages.

Clothes and Hair

I did not want the clothes on the characters to look like a standard game asset, where they are a part of the skeleton. So, I decided to use Marvelous Designer and simulate the clothes as a separate element. The pipeline was the following:

  • Export an animated character from Unreal Engine
  • Import it into Marvelous Designer
  • Create a 3D model of clothes in Marvelous Designer
  • Add UV and textures
  • Simulate the clothes on top of the animated character
  • Export as alembic
  • Import into Unreal Engine as a 3ds Max preset with skeleton

Eventually, I used a mix of simulated clothes and 3D model skinning to save some time.

Hair was a tricky part, mostly because I wanted to use UE hair and fur. A lot of hair is also added to the character’s clothes, there are reasons for it – it looks great and hides imperfections of simulated cloth. Here is the pipeline:

  • Export character (or clothes) from Unreal
  • Adding particle hair in Blender. Blender has a lot of great tools to style hair.
  • Export hair as an alembic file (only the first frame, not a whole simulation)
  • (It is an extra stage which is necessary only if the fur in UE is not binding to mesh correctly, I used it only for clothes). Export the first frame of the mesh as alembic and import as a skeletal mesh in UE
  • Import fur into Unreal Engine
  • Create hair binding (use additionally exported mesh as a source skeletal mesh if required)
  • Add the groom component to a mesh

The real problem with the hair – it is not always sorting correctly, and if for example there is a transparent particle in front of fur, the fur will be rendered on top anyway. So, I had to remove or tweak somehow a lot of smoke and fog because of that.

Creating Animation in iClone

Before making the final animations, I made the whole film as a simplified cinematic. I used a mannequin in UE and was just moving it in the scene, all cameras were also there as well. Thus, I had a very good plan, I knew what animations I need and even how much time should every movement last (roughly of course). In the final version, a lot was changed but the core idea was from the initial cinematic. For the motion capture, I used Xsens, which is really great but requires a bit of cleanup and tweaking anyway.

In iClone I was able to fix most of such issues and also fix some of the mistakes I made during the pre-production stage. The most complicated scenes were the ones with interaction involved. Especially because I had to be both characters at the same time. Such things required a lot of manual fixing, e.g., there is a scene where one character takes a cigarette from the other, or throws and catches a potato, all of that originally was not moving correctly. I didn’t have access to finger tracking so it was made in iClone.

For facial mocap I used an iPhone that also required a bit of tweaking later, e.g., chewing the potato was done manually as tracking was not able to understand the recorded movement. I also used a bridge to export characters to Unreal and it is very simple and smooth, with just a click of a button. The animations were imported manually because I needed to clean up and fix the movements before using them in production.

VFX used in Remnants

All of the effects are animated flipbooks, they are mostly fire and smoke. It was the simplest part for me because I am a VFX artist. The pipeline is standard, make a simulation in Houdini, render it as a flipbook, and make a particle effect in Niagara.


The production started quite a long time ago (over a year ago), mostly because it was a research and development for me in the beginning. So, you could understand better the last 5 minutes of the film were made during maybe a couple of months. So, when I developed a good pipeline, made all preproduction, and had a good plan, the production started to go very fast. So, you basically have a scene set up, add the lights, drop characters to the scene and roll the camera. I really loved this approach, because it actually simulates the film production and shifts most of your attention to actual filmmaking.
I think with a traditional approach I would most likely never make it alone. Now with all the knowledge I have, I started a new short animated film with a bit more complicated story. Currently, it is in preproduction, but soon I will be able to share more information about it.

Follow Stan




Want accurate auto-rigging for characters? Try AccuRIG

This article is featured on Creativebloq

Free application for quickly transforming static models into moving characters.

Ever lament the substantial time and energy spent on rigging your favorite characters? Do you desire a one-click solution to streamline the entire rigging process? Look no further – a brand-new solution is in town, namely Reallusion’s AccuRIG

Presented by the makers of iClone and Character Creator, AccuRIG has direct access to character content on Sketchfab and 3D motions on ActorCore. Not only does it convert static models into rigged and animated characters, AccuRIG also automates tedious and repetitive tasks – all for free!

AccuRIG: A better alternative to Mixamo

Easy steps for character rigging.

As a free auto-rig tool, AccuRIG is available for download from ActorCore online store. The program is designed for fast, easy, and accurate character rigging.  Whether you have models in A-, T-, or scan-poses, with low, high, or multiple meshes, you can complete the rigging in five steps. 

You can export the rigged FBX file directly to any major 3D tool such as Unreal Engine, Blender, Unity, and C4D, or upload it to ActorCore where you can try out thousands of 3D motions.

Body and hand rigging can be manually refined.

What is amazing about this application is that it also allows you to manually refine the body and hand rigging – with quite impressive results. With manual joint definition, rigging can be customized to match models with different shapes, looks, and scales. The skin weight is optimized for all joints, from the neck, shoulders, elbows, and knees, to detailed finger joints. The volumes for the head, body, and accessories are well-preserved using the AccuRIG rigging technology.

Use Post Offset to correct the avatar posture.

Pose offset is another excellent feature in AccuRIG. It helps correct pose problems such as arm penetration or leg distance when applying animation data to characters with different body scales. It can also generate stylized performances for cartoonish figures. 

Enliven unrigged models on Sketchfab

Search ‘AccuRIG’ in Sketchfab and find compatible models to choose (Image credit: Sketchfab)

Online asset stores, such as Sketchfab, offer hundreds of character models for download, paid or free. Many of these assets require further rigging, and the time and effort to complete the rigging process can be a real obstacle for users.

Without the lengthy rigging process, users can take advantage of the large content library in Sketchfab, use AccuRIG to turn unrigged models into animated avatars and bring them to production, quickly and easily.  

When searching AccuRIG in Sketchfab, users can find a selection of models designed by different artists that are ready for use. There is also access to the recommended 3D characters, directly from the tool, making it very convenient for users to pick and choose desired models from Sketchfab.

Value-added for model artists 

Character artists can benefit from AccuRIG simply because it is free, fast, and offers accurate results. No more hours of manual rigging to make the static creation perfectly fitted for animations. Artists can display their newly rigged models in different poses and increase the asset value in 3D stores like Sketchfab. 

“All that can be said about AccuRig is that it’s definitely a game changer and definitely a big upgrade from similar tools like Mixamo,” says Roumen Filipov, senior 3D character artist at Chief Rebel. “The easy and fast workflow combined with a high-quality result is surely a must for character artists wanting to take their models to the next level.” 

Thousands of production-ready mocap animations

ActorCore asset store with a variety of 3D motions.

Nowhere to find suitable motions or poses for your newly rigged character? Just upload it from AccuRIG to ActorCore online asset store. Explore over 1,700 well-themed, professionally produced 3D motions in the real-time interactive viewport. Download and retarget character animations from ActorCore to use with all major 3D tools for game, film, arch-viz, and interactive projects.

Download and try it yourself

AccuRIG offers many powerful functions, similar to those found in Maya Quick Rig or Blender Auto-Rig Pro. But AccuRIG is TOTALLY FREE, making it an option that is head and shoulders above the competition. 

You can download AccuRIG from ActorCore website and try it with complementary Sketchfab models to experience this new 3D production tool. Tutorials are available for getting started with AccuRIG. Visit the Reallusion Courses website and try them for yourself.