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Zbrush Face tools

ZBrush Face Tools Help Character Artists Bridge the Skill Gap to Achieve Expressive Animations

Reallusion remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing interoperability within its character production ecosystem and third-party platforms. This dedication extends beyond mere interoperability, striving to establish inventive ways to bridge products and enhance the overall user experience. In pursuit of this vision, Reallusion is proud to unveil a revolutionary pipeline tool called Face Tools, facilitating seamless integration between Character Creator (CC) and ZBrush. This solution marks a significant leap forward in interlinking these two powerful tools and underscores Reallusion’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of creative possibilities.

Embracing an artist-centric design philosophy, Face Tools is a liberation of ZBrush artists from their technical limitations. This newfound empowerment is made possible by condensing an entire studio pipeline, that typically requires a seasoned team of modelers, sculptors, riggers, and animators, into one seamless workflow that is both straightforward and efficient. The resulting 3D characters are not only ready for iClone facial mocap, facial animation editing, and lip-syncing but also fully compatible with industry-leading platforms such as Unreal, Unity, Blender, Maya, and more.

Groundbreaking Design Solutions

The power trio of Character Creator, ZBrush, and Face Tools opens new creative avenues beyond existing possibilities by crossing the traditional divide between artistic and technical disciplines. 

  • From 3D Concepting to Final Animation: Character artists, who were previously confined to sculpting concepts and producing static models, can now handle the entire character production process from modeling to animation, regardless of their skill levels.
  • From 3D Scans to Digital Doubles: Crafting digital doubles with lifelike resemblance and precise facial expressions was once confined to high-budget game and film studios. Now, any ZBrush artist, regardless of skill level, can effortlessly create custom expressions using FACS scans.
  • Create Memorable Cartoon Performances: Comic, cartoon, or stylized characters exhibit distinct expressive qualities compared to photoreal digital humans. Face Tools empower you to explore this diverse range of expressions, enabling you to bring your imagination to life and craft original animation styles and character designs.

Express Pipeline

Face Tools provides artists with a comprehensive set of tools designed to enhance productivity and achieve previously unattainable results. Among its features is the capability to leverage ZBrush for sculpting 3D scans or utilizing premade models, seamlessly converting them into CC characters for real-time animation. This remarkable functionality is enabled by the extensive depth of the Reallusion tool stack, which encompasses iClone for keyframe and mocap animation, along with Headshot 2.0 for converting 3D heads from both models and photographs.

  • Rapid Iterations using Pre-rigged Base Meshes: Utilize CC morphs to quickly approximate the character’s appearance. With just one click, send it to ZBrush for detailed sculpting and polypainting. Easily update the sculpting details back to the CC model, complete with baked diffuse, normal, and cavity maps.
  • Make Unique expressions: Face Tools detailing capabilities can make character personalities shine! Transfer a set of 13 core expression morphs to ZBrush for further customization and selectively update them to Character Creator for brisk turnarounds.
  • Generate Lifelike Wrinkles: Effortlessly transform your high-poly details into intricate wrinkle patterns. Crafted using a blend of diffuse, normal, ambient occlusion, and redness textures, CC wrinkle effects are imbued with a lifelike vitality, bringing your creations to a new level of realism.
  • Animation-Ready for Game, Filme, VR and AR: ZBrush Face Tools can export characters perfectly suited for any medium, whether it’s games, films, or extended reality experiences. Easily infuse your characters with life via a power combo of advanced facial controls and motion capture technology.
  • 3D Scans to Realtime Models: Transform a neutral 3D scanned head model into an animation-ready facial model effortlessly. Utilize Headshot 2.0 to seamlessly convert a high-resolution mesh into CC base topology and efficiently translate intricate details from millions of polygons into texture maps optimized for real-time performance.
  • Mesh & Texture Projection for True Expressions: For achieving the utmost likeness from FACS expression scans, designers can employ ZBrush to project intricate model details and coloring from a high-subdivision mesh onto CC core expressions. Additional feature deformations and transformations are also supported for the eyes, teeth and tongue to correspond with each core morph shape.
  • Exaggerated Styles: ZBrush Face Tools empower artists to craft stylized characters with heightened expressiveness, unlocking the creative potential for shaping distinctive morphs and wrinkles that define their unique looks.
  • Wrinkle Stencils: Brush up your polypaint techniques and delve into the fun of adding drawn-on wrinkles! By using ZBrush polypaint, you can also explore the art of “manpu”, a Japanese manga symbology designed to express movement and emotions.

Core Technology

Face Tools is backed by a powerful feature set that distinguishes it from the standard fare of ZBrush plugins. These features facilitate greater interaction between CC and ZBrush subtools and polygroups, while also providing conversion techniques to optimize the use of ZBrush’s native displacement and polypaint channels. Ultimately, these underlying technologies focus on delivering the best user experience by intertwining the strengths of CC and ZBrush.

  • Subtool Support: Experience the convenience of breaking down your character into ZBrush subtools, benefitting from identical model structures that effortlessly facilitate character transfers between ZBrush and Character Creator.
  • Polygroup Support: Predefined ZBrush polygroups streamline the design process by allowing designers to concentrate on specific mesh sections during editing. Polygroups play a crucial role in preventing brush overspills, particularly when working on border regions of the lips, eyelids, eyelashes, and more.
  • Expression Layers: The 13 core expressions are intricately linked with ZBrush layers to facilitate rapid sculpting. Upon selecting a particular expression, it is automatically applied to the character and associated with the corresponding ZBrush layer for recording.
  • Normal to Displacement Conversion: Face Tools proprietary feature turns CC normal maps into ZBrush mesh details. These finely detailed layers can serve as a foundation for sculpting micro-skin textures.
  • Displacement to Normal Conversion:The Face Tools detail layer represents a finely detailed mesh displacement that facilitates cross-layer recording in ZBrush. Upon import into Character Creator, it undergoes conversion into a normal map for realtime rendering.
  • Polypaint to Diffuse: Enhance your character’s skin with nuanced blood vessels, scars, tribal tattoos, and more. Overlay these elements onto CC’s original diffuse map, and seamlessly bake and optimize them for real-time presentation.
  • Cavity to Blend & Roughness: Face Tools can effortlessly transform deep shading within the recesses of high-mesh models into cavity maps. When blended with subtle ambient occlusion maps, artists can leverage it to enhance skin details or accentuate nuances in the roughness texture.

For further production information

Creating a Digital Double with Character Creator Headshot 2.0 for Blender Fantasy Film

Onur Erdurak – Director / 3D Generalist

Onur Erdurak

I’m Onur Erdurak, a director, writer, and 3D artist from Turkey and I love telling stories.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Cinema from Izmir University of Economics. While studying in Izmir, I applied and got accepted to the Erasmus Student Exchange Program and studied Cinema in Slovenia for a year.

While studying I made my first short film with no budget, one location, and one actor – which was with my uncle. Luckily my uncle Kemal Erdurak was already a professional actor so I put my skills in VFX, writing, and everything in between to the test, and with the help of a great team we made; my debut short film “STRANDED”. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner in 2018. You can watch it for free on YouTube.

Currently, I am a Fulbright grantee, and I am pursuing an MFA degree at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. After a few failed attempts over the years trying to learn Blender. I finally got started after watching Ian Hubert’s “World Building in Blender” video. This was when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I viewed this as a chance to enhance my skills and knowledge.
After a couple of months of learning, I started @blendreams to share my creations.

“Blendreams” got started as and still is my passion project. I share my renders and animations over there and share what I’ve learned during my journey on my YouTube channel as tutorials. I am incredibly grateful that this passion project now has over 100,000 followers on Instagram.

About a month ago I was testing Character Creator (CC4) for my short animation The Apple Thief, which caught Reallusion’s eye and contacted me to see what I could do with their AI Headshot plugin for Character Creator. So I used Headshot with a scan of my head I did with Polycam to recreate myself as a medieval warrior in Blender. The results were amazing as they allowed me to live my childhood cream of staring in my own action movie!

Character Creator and iClone have truly streamlined the character creation and animation process for me. With these remarkable tools, I can craft and animate characters within mere minutes, a fact that continues to amaze me. What’s equally impressive is the level of customization and quality they offer for character creation. Now, I can feature lead actors in my renders, a level of versatility that’s immensely valuable to me.”

Onur Erdurak – Director / 3D Generalist

From Plastic Action Figures to Kinetic 3D Animation with iClone & Blender

About Make It Move Media

Hello everyone! I’m the face behind Make It Move Media. Over the past decade, my journey into 3D scanning and animation has been nothing short of exhilarating. It’s been an adventure that transformed my Instagram channel, where I showcase 3D-scanned action figures brought to life. I’ve immersed these characters into dynamic scenarios, and yes, many, many fight scenes.

To breathe life into my creations, I’ve used a myriad of software. One suite that stands out in my toolkit is Reallusion; Their 3D animation software, iClone, is truly game-changing. 

Today, I’m diving deep into the specifics of how I use iClone 8 to enhance my animations.

Why Reallusion, You Ask? Here’s My Take

  • User-Friendly Interface: For beginners and seasoned animators alike, Reallusion presents an interface that is both intuitive and powerful. This combination accelerates the learning curve and enhances productivity.
  • Streamlined Workflow: My process, from scanning to animating, is significantly more efficient thanks to Reallusion. The integration capabilities of their tools, like ActorCore for rigging, save me countless hours.
  • Vast Library of Assets: No need to start from scratch! With Reallusion, I’ve access to a plethora of templates, mocap motions, and 3D assets. This is a boon when working on tight deadlines or seeking inspiration.
  • Seamless Integration: Importing animations from other platforms, like Mixamo, is a breeze with iClone 8. It truly bridges the gap between different animation tools.
  • High-Quality Results: The proof is in the pudding, or in my case, the animation. The realism, smoothness, and dynamic range I achieve with Reallusion are testimony to its prowess.

My Workflow with Reallusion Software

  1. Rigging and Animating: Once my action figure is 3D scanned, I upload the file to start the rigging. Tools like AccuRIG are instrumental in this phase, helping me rig right from the hands to the entire body.
  1. Motions and Movements: Next, I head to ActorCore to source high-quality motion capture files compatible with iClone 8. After rigging, I can easily import these animations and witness the magic unfold.

Using iClone 8, I bring my Spider-Man character to life. This software enables me to select from templates, custom packs, or even create from scratch. With a few clicks, my character is animated and moving seamlessly.

  1. Merging Animations and Custom Motion Capture Files: The motion blending function of iClone 8 ensures smooth transitions between various motions, making the character’s movements appear natural.

One unique feature of iClone 8 is its ability to merge animations from different sources. For instance, I can import animations from Mixamo, retarget them, and blend them into my existing animation.

  1. Perfecting the Movements: With iClone 8, I can refine my animation, ensuring details like hand positions remain accurate

The Edit Reach Target tool is particularly useful for this, ensuring Spider-Man’s hands remain fixed on a cylinder during a swing sequence.

  1. Blender Render and VFX 

A mesmerizing animation ready for export. Taking it to Blender for final touches is as easy as exporting the animation optimized for Blender in FBX format.

In conclusion, the capabilities of iClone 8 and other tools in my arsenal have enabled me to create compelling, realistic animations. Whether you’re an animator, a fan, or someone intrigued by the world of 3D, I hope this behind-the-scenes look offers you insights and inspiration. 

Keep moving, and keep creating!

Learn More

WarLord’s Workshop: Unique Characters with Hide Body Mesh Tool

One of the great things about Character Creator 4 is its ability to reuse assets from previously built characters to make new characters. Since CC4 clothing is interchangeable with other CC4 characters it allows us to mix and match previously made or purchased assets for an entirely different character. This is a boon for filling scenes with extras and works for leading characters as well.

An example would be a Jack Lantern character I recently made while experimenting with ZBrush and the new CC4 head mesh wrapper in Headshot 2. This incredibly powerful plug-in now allows us to use either an image or a head mesh to create a compatible CC4 character and I took advantage of that to create the pumpkin head.

It became apparent after this that I could also make a Headless Horseman type of character for Halloween using two characters. One character for the body and one for the head. This has long been an experimental way to combine character parts when iClone was less powerful. As you can imagine, it requires the Head to be attached to the Neck of the second character. A proper attachment point is important for motion if you are mimicking one character.


My Jack Lantern Test Character using Headshot 2 mesh.

The Jack Lantern character is one of my experimental characters that has evolved over the years. I use it for experimentation since it’s kind of a benchmark as the clothing and accessories are low poly, so they don’t tax the engine and will work for stylized or cartoon-type characters. It’s my go-to model for this sort of thing.

I used ZBrush to make the pumpkin head, but you can use a head mesh of your choice. ZBrush was easy because it let me use GoZ to jump back and forth between Character Creator 4 and ZBrush with no importing or exporting.

Hiding the Body

I removed the clothing from the character except for the Tie which was originally an accessory but I skinned it with the Transfer Skin Weights tool so I could use it as a cloth to hide the rest of the body. As an accessory, the Hide Body Mesh tool is not available.

Left: The full character with only the bowtie. Middle and Right: Using the tie to hide the body parts with the Hide Body Mesh tool.

Why the tie? Because it looks good and can be used with the head if needed. It became a convenient cloth to use for hiding the mesh that is available should the need arise.

Leave the upper part of the neck. Do not hide this or you will have to deal with the big slit in the bottom of the head mesh this leaves.  It is much easier to scale it down and radically shorten the neck (with sliders).  Manually input the negative numbers to go past the 100 percent stop if needed.

Now all I had to do was turn the opacity of the bowtie down to zero or use a black texture in the opacity channel to make the tie disappear. Out of sight, out of mind… until you need it.

Working with the Head only:

Scale the neck to very thin and very short to pull it up into the head mesh. Otherwise, you will have a large open spot where the neck attaches that goes across the bottom of the head or a neck sticking out from the head mesh.

Character Creator 4

Scaling Down the Remaining Neck

Scale down the circumference of the neck to very thin and short with the CC4 sliders. Input the numbers manually in the box to go past the one hundred percent limit. If done properly the neck should be up inside the head mesh leaving a small hole. You could use the Mesh tool to select the neck at the vertices level then scale down and/or push it up into the head mesh but this risks topology distortion in the mesh if you aren’t careful.  

Left: Original shape with neck scaled down and pushed up into the mesh. Middle: Shaped more like a pumpkin
instead of the back of a skull in ZBrush with GoZ. Right: Bottom of head showing small hole after scaling down neck.

OPTIONAL: Reshape the Back of the Head

If you have a 3D program capable of sculpting, then you can alter the skull-like pumpkin head mesh to look more like a pumpkin. If no other tool is available, then the original mesh will work just fine. You can always hide the skull shape with lighting, props, camera angle, or a cloth if it bothers you. I used the original skull shape in the final image render.

How to make the eyes black:

  • Select eye parts with Digital Human Skin and change their shaders to PBR.
  • Select all eye properties and load a solid black image in the diffuse channel (note: you will not see the final all-black result until you set the shader to PBR.
Character Creator 4

The Headless Body Character

My favorite and easiest part is making up the body of the character. I already had a premade character in mind. My budget character set, the Masked Swordsman. The clothing could fit the period in question, and it was already black. From reference pictures, it ticked off a lot of the important parts like boots, bell sleeves, tucked-in pants, and many other aspects of those times.

Plus, it had a mask that I could use just like I used the bowtie earlier. The mask would be my on/off switch for the body and lower neck. This was convenient just like the Jack Lantern bowtie.

I was going to use a muffler or scarf to cover the top of the character’s neck so the big hole wouldn’t show where the head is supposed to be.  While there are neck mufflers and scarves available, I decided to jump into Marvelous Designer and just throw a single piece of cloth over it and see how it draped. I was lucky as it did just what I needed it to do on the first attempt.

Left: Original Character. Right: New cloth draped, and mask with hide head mesh invoked. Right: Mask hidden with its opacity setting.


Using the same method as I did earlier with the Pumpkinhead, I used the mask as the cloth that hides the head and upper neck. After this, I hid the mask with opacity which can be one with the slider or using a black image in the opacity channel.

Next, I added, skinned, and textured the shoulder wrap I made in Marvelous Designer to cover the open neck. If you don’t have any kind of wrap that works, then alter a muffler with the mesh tool as all I was trying to do was cover the bare flesh of the original character’s chest. You could also resort to texturing the character’s chest black since it wouldn’t affect the character any further.

Headless Horseman Pesade Image

I was working with two characters for the Horseman and another for the horse. To do the Pesade with the horse I loaded the Pesade motion from the Horse and Tack Theme Pack into the horse while using the corresponding Rider Pesade for the headless body. In this case, I can go a step further and add the Rider Pesade to the head, or I can use another motion, keyframing, or puppetry.

This makes three distinct characters that can be animated in a scene. The horse is the Farm Horse from the Horse and Tack Theme Pack and is actually an avatar instead of a prop. There is a lot more going on in this scene than it looks like at first glance.

The background is AI-generated so there are only the three characters and the background image plus the camera and a blue image overlay to cut down on the contrast between the background image and the 3D characters.

The Headless Horseman

Versatile Setup

If you are using something like this for a video, then the head will talk, and it also has dynamic expressions since I activated the wrinkle system so it can have a fiery conversation or tell a Halloween tale with enthusiasm and passion.

As I mentioned earlier you can also link the two characters together but be careful to link to the proper neck bone on the body character for motions to work properly if you are mimicking the actual full character. In this scene the head is linked to the hand.

Also, keep in mind that the linked “character” is in reality two characters that will require two different actions for loading or creating motions. If you want the head to use the same motion as the body, then you will have to load that motion into each character.

It can and does get a bit confusing when you first work with a combined character like which character am I on, wait… I loaded that… oh, not for this character but it also creates a character with a lot of possibilities.

Using AccuRIG to Mask Unused Bones

On a closing note, and I tested this, you can run the characterized head character through AccuRIG, being sure to preserve the existing facial bone structure when asked, and then use the masking tool to completely mask out the body or head so no motion will be accepted. This does replace the characterized skeleton and I haven’t tested it enough to know of any pros and cons. It seems to work fine and completely immobilize the unused, hidden parts of the character.

Keep an Open Mind

One thing about this animation journey is to always think outside the box when it comes to problem-solving or innovation in animation. While this sounds like corporate speak it is true because as easy as animation is getting there is still not an easy button for everything. Don’t let the lack of a documented method keep you from experimenting to see what can be done.

MD McCallum – WarLord

Digital Artist MD “Mike” McCallum, aka WarLord, is a longtime iClone user. Having authored free tutorials for iClone in its early years and selected to write the iClone Beginners Guide from Packt Publishing in 2011, he was fortunate enough to meet and exchange tricks and tips with users from all over the world and loves to share this information with other users. He has authored hundreds of articles on iClone and digital art in general while reviewing some of the most popular software and hardware in the world. He has been published in many of the leading 3D online and print magazines while staying true to his biggest passion, 3D animation. For more information click here.

Jose Cuervo Tequila enters the Metaverse with Character Creator, iClone, and Unreal Engine

Bringing Jose Cuervo tequila to the Metaverse with Character Creator, iClone, and Unreal Engine

Alex Kong

I’m Alex Kong, a 3D artist with a journey spanning 17 years in the animation industry. Throughout my career, I’ve collaborated with industry giants like Sony Imageworks, Animal Logic, and Squeeze Animation, contributing my artistry to captivating animated series, movies, and AAA games.

Today, I’m excited to dive into a unique chapter of my journey. This chapter revolves around a singular ambitious project that has led me to push the boundaries of animation. In this endeavor, I’m thrilled to harness the power of Reallusion’s iClone 8, Character Creator 4 and Unreal Engine!

You can read my original article on my website Alex Kong.

A Daring Challenge from the Metaverse:

When ACHE Agency presented an opportunity to breathe life into the Metaverse experience that they created in Decentraland for Tequila Cuervo, I saw the chance to not only embrace an audacious challenge but also to harness the combined power of Reallusion tools with Unreal Engine in the process.

The project came with a tight one-month deadline, a feat that might have appeared insurmountable at first glance. However, armed with the incredible capabilities of Reallusion and Unreal Engine, I took the plunge into what would become a transformative journey.

Jose Cuervo is bringing tequila to the metaverse

This project was undeniably multifaceted, demanding not only the creation of multiple characters but also intricate animations on uneven terrain. After all, it required a substantial amount of lighting and rendering work to bring the vision to life.

Discovering Reallusion and unreal: A Fresh Perspective on Creativity

With the versatile Character Creator tool from Reallusion and a wealth of assets available from the Reallusion marketplace, I eagerly accepted the challenge. Basically, I managed to produce over 25 beautifully designed characters in just one week! This alone was a true game-changer. Without these innovative tools, achieving such a feat within a traditional workflow would have taken several months.

Moreover, considering the project’s budget constraints, this rapid character creation was nothing short of a miracle. Reallusion’s tools not only met but exceeded expectations, making the seemingly impossible not only possible but also practical.

Animating with Finesse: From Actors to Xsens Magic!

Once the characters were ready,  they needed movement and life. Using the extensive motion capture animation collection from the ActorCore library , I was able to find what I needed.

I was able to do the body animation for all these characters and then using the Facial animations from the Digital Soul pack their faces came to life instantly!

For more specific actions, I turned to the Xsens suit, seamlessly capturing the necessary motions and applying them to my main characters. Drawing from my prior experience with MotionBuilder for AAA projects, I can unequivocally attest to iClone’s suite of tools for motion capture editing as simply amazing!

You can blend, loop, and align clips, stretch and contract them, polish the curves, and control all your characters from a simple UI. But where iClone truly shines is in its seamless, no-hassle retargeting from various motion capture solutions.

The hand and feet stabilization features, hand puppets, premade hand poses, and the AccuLIPS tool for automatic lipsync made animation a breeze. And the Motion Director tool, which allows you to control characters like a video game, was the cherry on top.

Above all, the Motion Director tool stands out as a remarkable asset. With ease, you can connect a gamepad and maneuver not just one character, but an entire crowd, akin to playing a video game! As you record the motion, it’s as simple as that – BOOM, it’s completed! And to add the final touch, it includes uneven terrain detection, acting as a true savior in challenging situations.

Basically, mocap editing and animation become a breeze thanks to iClone’s highly intuitive tools!

A Brilliant Finish: Lighting and Rendering with Unreal Engine:

As the project approached its climax, the need for lighting and rendering became increasingly essential. This was where Unreal Engine’s real-time rendering capabilities truly shone. Moreover, Reallusion’s seamless integration with Unreal proved to be a lifesaver. It facilitated the smooth transfer of characters, crowds, animations, and cameras, streamlining the workflow. The addition of the Unreal LIVE LINK tool further simplified the process, ultimately saving me precious time and enhancing efficiency.

Reallusion has truly put a lot of effort into making this transition smooth, and it showed in the results.

Navigating Learning: Reallusion’s Rich Tutorial Goldmine

I’d be remiss not to mention Reallusion’s tutorials. A true treasure trove of knowledge, these tutorials were my guiding stars whenever I hit a roadblock. From their website to YouTube, Reallusion has invested thoughtfully in nurturing artists with the skills needed to navigate their pipeline effectively.

Reallusion and Unreal, a tale of triumph: Achieving Realistic Success

Fast forward four weeks, and there it was – I had accomplished what seemed like a monumental task. In just a month, the project, with all its intricacies and challenges, had transformed from a concept into a tangible success story.

But the real star of this narrative? The unsung hero was none other than the Reallusion pipeline itself. This real-world account highlights the significance of innovative tools. It showcases how a well-crafted pipeline, like Reallusion’s, can weave its magic and make a palpable impact on the creative process.

It’s stories like these – grounded, authentic experiences – that truly exemplify how innovation can turn challenges into accomplishments.

In Conclusion

As I stand here, with the project finally wrapped up, I can’t help but feel a surge of excitement for what lies ahead. Despite its imperfections, that very imperfection fuels my enthusiasm. Moreover, if I could achieve this mostly on my own within such a tight timeframe, just imagine the potential we could unlock with a small, dedicated team and a bit more time on our side.

I’m confident that this project is merely a stepping stone. The Reallusion pipeline has unlocked a realm of fresh possibilities, and my curiosity is piqued about the future of animation.

Navigating this solo endeavor over four intense weeks wasn’t a cakewalk. However, amidst the whirlwind, one element stood out as a guiding star: the Reallusion pipeline. It wasn’t merely a sidekick; rather, it served as the true powerhouse behind this remarkable accomplishment. Acting as my secret weapon, it effortlessly infused innovation into each stride, helping me surmount every challenge that came my way.

Indeed, projects and challenges like these serve as poignant reminders of how technology can not only magnify creativity but also breathe life into ideas, transforming them into tangible achievements.

So here’s to the project’s triumphant culmination, celebrating the transformative tools that fueled it, and raising a toast to the exciting horizons that await. Cheers to the boundless possibilities of animation, as we continue to explore, innovate, and create!

Join us on an incredible animation journey!


Project comissioned by Ache Agency to promote the Metaverse Experience that they did for Tequila Cuervo in Decentraland

Mocap editing
Alex Kong
Peter Podesser –

Crowds optimization
Peter Alexander – https://www.artstation.com/mythcons
Alex Kong

Alex Kong
Alex Chavez –

Environment creation

Bernabe Guerrerop Guzman

All else
Alex Kong

Created with Reallusion’s iClone, Character Creator, Unreal Engine 5, Reallusion and Actorcore Marketplace’s assets and Xsens Technology

Kitbashing in CC4

WarLord’s Workshop: Kitbashing a Character in CC4

Kitbashing in CC4


Kitbashing, putting something unique together from a kit or parts, has been around in various forms in movies and television for a long time. The current, digital version of kitbashing includes free and commercial kits of parts that look like something out of a Popular Mechanics magazine, or an industrial warehouse or garage. This depends on the type of kit you are looking for, but general science fiction-based kits are clamps, frames, pulleys, hydraulic cylinders, and similar industrial-style parts. 

Some people can just look at a pile of parts and see a robotic character or tool. This type of asset creation is usually done with apps like Blender, 3DS Max, Maya, and Cinema 4D but it can also be kitbashed together in Character Creator and then rigged for animation in iClone. 


A video tutorial that explains this written overview in detail is located at the bottom of this article. It is broken down into several parts with timestamps available in the description. There is also a 4X speed clip of the kitbashing process towards the end of the video.

One of the biggest problems facing a new kitbasher is the fact that a lot of these assets come placed in one FBX or OBJ file and at times one combined object. Some must be broken out at the vertex level while others, as in this case, just have to be detached to be used. They are also usually high poly and that is the case with the kit I’ll be using in today’s example of kitbashing a simple robot together. We’ll lower that count in CC4 later in the tutorial so as to not make the body-building segment any longer than it needs to be.  

The Kitbash Kit from Enrique Bono. Link at the bottom of this article.

Kitbashing might be a very misunderstood approach by those new to the nuts and bolts of character creation. In this example I build an entire robot body and rig it, also showing how to mask unused bones, but most of you will catch on quickly. There is also a 4X clip of the body build towards the end of the animation for those who just want to see the process. 

I try not to create video tutorials over twenty minutes which is about five minutes longer than my attention span when I’m looking for tutorials, but I shaped it in such a way that you don’t have to watch all of it. Once you see a few body parts put together you can skip around or view the 4X Speed Clip to get an idea of what is going on. If the concept baffles don’t be worried, you are not alone. 


The tutorial is broken down into the following parts: 

Part 1 – Kitbashing the Body 

Part 2 – Optimizing the Body Parts 

Part 3 – Rigging with Character Creator 4 

Part 4 – Optional – 4X Speed Clip of Body Build  


I will drag and drop the kitbash assets, FBX in this case, into the CC4 workspace. Next will be to detach the actual meshes from the dummies and delete them to clean things up a bit. After that, I’ll jump right and start with the leg and how to alter it a bit if it does not fit your needs. 


With the Mesh tool, we can alter one particular piece to make it the lower leg. At the vertex level, I will grab all the mesh I can get sticking out from the flat surface of what we will use as a lower leg and foot. I push the pogo stick-looking bottom piece up into the “foot” mesh and scale it back, so it won’t poke through the outer mesh. 

Starting the process of using the Edit Mesh push the unwanted vertices up into the “foot” and then scaled down to not poke through.

After this, still at the vertex level, I will carefully grab what looks like the front of the lower foot and stretch it out to resemble a foot. Character Creator 4 gives us a good Mesh tool so let’s not just relegate it to minor shaping and flaw fixing.  

For this character, we won’t be altering any more mesh, but this demonstrates what can be done with the Mesh tool when needed. You control the scene assets, don’t let the scene assets control you or your vision of what you are producing unless it just can’t be helped otherwise.  


As you can see, I’m starting with one leg, mainly because I could easily visualize that leg from the pile of parts. I built the leg up with a “knee” and an “upper leg” attached the Upper Leg and Knee to the Lower leg, then scaled them to suit my needs. 

From there I added a simple, one-piece pelvis and scaled it. I then duplicated the “leg” and moved it into place. Later, when we optimize, I’ll delete that duplicated leg and an arm, so we don’t have to optimize them twice. I then will duplicate the optimized leg and arm and move it into position just as I did when I was building the body.  

Pieced together one leg then duplicated for the other leg while using one scaled-up piece for the pelvis.

This is where you will notice that when you duplicate the leg, the dial on the ankle will be on the same side of both legs. You might be able to push the dial into the mesh and scale it back with the mesh tool at the vertex level if you want to hide it but I just left it like it was.  


The lower torso and upper torso are one-piece objects each making that a quick and easy attachment that only needed to be tweaked in scale to your personal preference. 

The kitbashed body is ready to be optimized. You can optimize as you build or after building but each piece must be run through InstantLOD to optimize.

The arms were built out and duplicated then moved into place just as the legs were. They were attached to each other as one unit just like the legs. 


This was a ZBrush-based kit, as many are, so it was at a much smaller scale than we work at in Character Creator or iClone. With this in mind, I built the body first and scaled up later when needed. You may choose to scale up the parts to start but I found this to be a simpler method as I can just scale the kitbashed body to match an iClone character which you can add to the scene then delete after scaling up. 

Added a male character for scale then repositioned and scaled up the body mesh to match the male character. The male character is deleted afterward.


Since we will be using AccuRIG to skin the robot body, I decided to experiment a bit and try not to change any markers from their initial placement by the plug-in unless I had to. In the video, you will notice that I had to lower the top of the leg markers as they had settled on the pelvis which would make the pelvis twist with movement. I lowered these markers to just below the pelvis on the top of each leg. Everything else stayed in its original location. 

Left: I only moved the selected markers (with symmetry) so the pelvis wouldn’t twist. Middle: Unused bones masked out. Right: Final skeleton before skinning.

I then set the rig up for zero fingers and let it create the skeleton. After this I let Character Creator 4 AccuRIG do the skinning and had a very usable kitbashed animated robot body. 


To give you as the user an opportunity to finish out the character with a head and hands that you can make, kitbash, or get from SketchFab. A quick search for “robot head” and “robot hands” will yield some nice results. Take the finished character into AccuRIG again to rig the new parts.  

We can also rig partial robot characters like a walking set of legs or a functional upper body complete with a head. You could then link and unlink those characters for some unusual results. The same should hold true for a “Headless Horseman” type character.  

Now I want to stop working on this article and make a Headless Horseman but that is just how a good piece of software can creatively inspire you so I will push on to finish this up. 


There was a lot to pack into this tutorial, but kitbashing is something almost anyone should be able to do. At this level, it is not advanced by any means. The body could have been rigged better or shaped better in the shoulders for a more squared-off result, but the tutorial was already going to run long so I just moved on. Besides, that can be tweaked with Character Creator 4’s Proportion or Pose Offset tools. 

Kitbashing is like gluing together a model in your bedroom as a kid like some of us did back in the old pre-digital days. Except without the screaming, cursing, and general throwing of tantrums when things didn’t fit or look as good as the box did! For the rest of you who have no clue what “gluing together a model is” then you might consider kitbashing to be the equivalent for your generation. 

And of course, I would never suggest, over a 3D model, that any of us would scream, curse, or throw a tantrum today…  

…unless… maybe… we knew no one was around. 

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you next time! 

Kitbash Kit used in this tutorial: 

Hard Surface Kitbash Demo Kit: 


MD McCallum – WarLord

Digital Artist MD “Mike” McCallum, aka WarLord, is a longtime iClone user. Having authored free tutorials for iClone in its early years and selected to write the iClone Beginners Guide from Packt Publishing in 2011, he was fortunate enough to meet and exchange tricks and tips with users from all over the world and loves to share this information with other users. He has authored hundreds of articles on iClone and digital art in general while reviewing some of the most popular software and hardware in the world. He has been published in many of the leading 3D online and print magazines while staying true to his biggest passion, 3D animation. For more information click here.

Reallusion Releases ActorCore Mobile View & Web Embed for the Best Interactive Online Presentations

Embed Animated 3D Characters into Websites and Easily Share them using Mobile Devices.

Reallusion is delighted to unveil exciting enhancements to its acclaimed free auto-rig application, ActorCore AccuRIG. Designers can now effortlessly share their 3D rigged characters using ActorCore’s interactive 3D viewer, guaranteeing dynamic presentations on websites and mobile devices, catering to both personal and professional needs.

What’s New with AccuRIG

AccuRIG has been a trusted tool for tens of thousands of 3D users, thanks to its intuitive interface that delivers precise full-body rigging and boosted productivity. In addition to its compatibility with all major 3D platforms, artists can seamlessly upload their rigged models to the ActorCore online platform. Here, they gain access to an extensive library of over 2,400 mocap animations, all meticulously crafted to guarantee the highest quality and practicality for 3D productions.

With ActorCore’s latest features, mobile view and web embed, anyone can effortlessly showcase their rigged models by generating simple web embed codes, thereby creating interactive displays on their chosen websites. Furthermore, they can readily share these creations with any mobile device using a QR code or web link. Whether it’s for personal sharing with friends and family, collaborative team projects, or for product presentations and marketing endeavors, ActorCore offers the perfect solution to exhibit creative work online and on the go.

Customizable Character Display

ActorCore lets you share animated 3D characters and tailor them to your liking. Using the 3D viewer, which provides real-time feedback, designers can effortlessly fine-tune various aspects including lighting, background, atmosphere, camera angles, and select their preferred thumbnails for the perfect presentation. Additionally, they can curate their own motion list from ActorCore’s extensive collection of high-quality mocap animations. This level of customization enables users to showcase their models with distinct characteristics and aesthetics, ensuring they stand out when shared across social media, websites, and mobile platforms.

For Web Embed & Mobile View

Designers can take their customization a step further by adjusting settings such as background transparency, screen size, camera lock, and other display details before embedding the character on a website. By simply scanning the QR code or clicking the web link provided in an email or instant messaging, viewers gain instant access to the 3D model, complete with the personalized settings, on any mobile device. This not only facilitates interaction with the character in multiple ways but also elevates the overall presentation to deliver a highly engaging and immersive experience.

Web developers can easily adjust the viewer dimensions, background transparency and interface visibility; or even dive into the underlying code for granular control.

Share by generating convenient QR codes for mobile scanning or shortened URL links for instant messaging.

Immersive Experience

3D modelers now have the ability to embed their creations on blogs or personal websites, enabling others to not only view but also interact with their pieces. For businesses, incorporating these 3D models into their websites offers visually captivating elements that help sustain customer interest. Marketing professionals can embed 3D mascots on a variety of websites and easily share them with mobile devices, thereby boosting sales, product visibility, and brand awareness. The potential for ActorCore Mobile View & Web Embed is truly boundless. Visit the Samples & Tips page for inspiration and discover the limitless possibilities.

Try It for Yourself

Download AccuRIG, the free auto-rigging tool, today and experience firsthand how you can captivate your audience with ActorCore Mobile View & Web Embed. Also, check out the Sandbox to gain hands-on experience and explore the remarkable capabilities of this innovative tool. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your audience — get started now!

Animating Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved with Character Creator Headshot and iClone for TikTok


In the world of animation and virtual avatars, creating realistic and stylized characters is an essential skill. I am Antony Evans, the co-founder of Digital Puppets, an animation studio in the UK specializing in character design, animation, and virtual avatars. I have worked as character designer for many years for studios such as Disney, Warner Bros, and the BBC.

Today we will take you through the process of creating Lil Lewis Capaldi for TikTok social media content. In Part 1, we’ll demonstrate how to build the character using Character Creator 4, and in Part 2, we’ll delve into the animation workflow we employed in iClone 8.

TikTok original – https://www.tiktok.com/@lillewiscapaldi/video/7243822710558657819

Part 1 – Creating the rigged Lewis Capaldi 3D model

In this video, we will guide you through the stages of transforming the character into a more cartoony style by adjusting proportions and features. Using the tools available in Character Creator 4 (CC4) , we can easily transform the base mesh into a custom design, and still retain the facial expression and animation rig.

Headshot AI plugin for Character Creator 4

To begin, we utilized an online image of Lewis Capaldi and imported it into Headshot, the ai face creation plugin for Character Creator 4. When working with Headshot, it’s essential to use a high-resolution image with even lighting. Occasionally, adjustments may be necessary for the image, and you can use Photoshop to address issues, as we did in this case (involving the removal of the fringe).

Headshot is a great way to create a likeness from a photo, it does a good job of matching the proportions and gives a great base for creating your character. We are looking forward to working with Headshot in our upcoming projects and having the ability to work with scanned 3D heads, especially now that there are some great apps you can use on your phone to get impressive scans.

Headshot, the ai face creation plugin for Character Creator

ZBrush and GoZ

We’ve found that the Character Creator GoZ feature is particularly helpful for rapidly making mesh changes and sending the model back and forth. This allows us to test out the overall look of the character before getting into the finer details. The same result can be achieved using the edit mesh and morph tools in Character Creator 4, so it does come down to personally preference. We have been working with ZBrush for many years now, so this workflow works best for us, but that’s one of the things we love about Character Creator is that it can fit into a workflow that works best for you.

Hair and Clothing

We wanted to keep this video short so we didn’t go into SkinGen and adding clothing as there are already detailed videos out there on how this works and is also very easy to use. But SkinGen is another powerful skin texture plugin for Character Creator 4, it is a great tool we use all the time to add those final subtle details, adding elements like pores and blemishes to the skin really help to give your character more life. Also, with the hair and clothing we worked with the default items from the Reallusion content library to add a simple t-shirt and jeans to the model. For the hair and eyebrows we used Luis Duarte’s La Familia Content pack.

Hair and clothing from the Reallusion content library including Luis Duarte’s La Familia content pack.

Final Design

In this 1st tutorial, we will conclude by loading the original model we created. The model in the video will eventually match the previous one but requires repeating the steps previously shown in the video, tweaking proportions in ZBrush, and using the Edit Expressions sliders until it precisely resembles the original. We didn’t want to go through all the steps in getting to that original design as it is just a case of repeating the back and forth to ZBrush.

Using the Facial Profile Editor in Character Creator to edit and limit the character expressions to best fit its persona.

Part 2 – Animating Face and Body of Lewis Capaldi 3D Model with iClone

In Part 2, we will break down how we animated the original video. We’ve set up the scene as a template, allowing us to create new videos swiftly. Once the character is rigged and configured, we can effortlessly insert a new song and matching animation—ideal for generating content for platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts.

Facial Capture

For facial expressions and lip sync, we choose to utilize the iPhone and LIVE FACE plugin for iClone. While AccuLIPs can be used with an audio track with only vocals, we’ve found it quicker to sync the lip movements in real time with the song. If you’re familiar with the entire song, it makes the process even easier. However, we work line by line, recording each line separately and then merging them together. This method works exceptionally well for syncing with rap music.

Utilize the iPhone and LIVE FACE plugin for iClone
For the song lyrics, we work line by line, recording each line separately and then merging the lip-syncs together

Body Animation

The animation’s motion is relatively simple, as it primarily involves the character singing in one spot. We work a lot with the preset animations and motions we find on the ActorCore website. In this video we just wanted to add an idle animation to bring some life to the character, so he was just stood still on the spot, so we used the breath animation that comes included in iClone. We then show how we added reach targets to attach the hands to the microphone, which allowed us to animate the hands and arms moving by moving the microphone around. The reach tool is a very powerful tool when working with characters interacting with objects.

Using the iClone Edit Motion layer to quickly adjust and customize any kind of animation


When setting up lighting in iClone we always start out by trying all the preset lights, once we have one that looks good or close to what we are after we can then teak by adding or removing the lights until we get what we are after. We also like to add in some volumetric lighting, as this really adds to the atmosphere of the scene.


In this video we have kept the camera work pretty simple, you can get some great results with just a couple of cameras and well timed camera cuts. When working with a music track we try and time the camera cuts to the changes in the song. You can add lots or cameras and interesting shots, but with this particular video we wanted to keep the focus on the character and keep a slower pace.

Final Thoughts

The video hopefully shows a workflow that demonstrates how quickly you can create a custom character and animated content. With platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts demanding rapid content creation, this method has proven effective for us.

Once the template is set up, you can allocate time each day to create a new video or spend a day crafting multiple videos for scheduled releases. Character Creator and iClone features, such as Goz, LIVE FACE and preset animation content can really speed up your production, which allows you more time to make more content.

Learn more about Digital Puppets at https://digitalpuppets.co.uk and check out our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@DigitalPuppets.

Join our Discord channel at https://discord.gg/28DNM9A94P if you’re an iClone, Unreal Engine, Character Animator, LIVE2D user, seeking advice, or wanting to share your work. We hope to build an active community and welcome animators of all kinds to join us, share your preferred programs, and foster a learning environment for everyone.

Made with Cartoon Animator: The 2023 Animation at Work Contest Winners!

After two months of creativity, the 2023 ‘Animation At Work’ Contest for Cartoon Animator (CTA) has come to a close. Reallusion would like to thank all of its wonderful sponsors including XPPen, Affinity, and Magix. Overall, the event received 132 global entries, each with their work-in-progress videos among five categories: Business & Commercial, Comics & Art, Education, Vertical Shorts, Best Use of Cartoon Animator 5, and Best Mascot Animation. 

A total of 33 outstanding works have been selected from 39 countries, all with varying levels of skills and experience. Additionally, a wide array of styles and topics were created, proving that the Cartoon Animator is streamlined for creative diversity. Several newcomers who were first-time Cartoon Animator users were even able to use their newly acquired techniques, combining other pipelines for excellent submissions.  See the 2023 Animation at Work Winners.

Business & Commercial Animation  — 1st Prize

BRINGING TO LIFE  by Nandor Toth (Hungary)

Nandor Toth shares his thoughts on winning the contest:

“ As I started using it in March 2023, I consider myself a newcomer to CTA. I’ve never come across such good animation software that moves characters in such a professional way: I can save the movements and add new movements made by others so easily, and even edit them afterward. And that’s the most important benefit of the program! “

Judges comments:

“Nandor cleverly combines stock videos with his own characters. Viewers can quickly understand the key features of Cartoon Animator 5 in 2 minutes. We also enjoyed watching his drawings in his WIP video. Lots of details are added to make his Superman mascot pop out. Well done!”

Comics & Art Animation — 1st Prize

Valiant Seven by Astrovique (Australia)

Astrovique shares her thoughts on winning the contest:

“As a new user to the program, it was a very simple software to pick up and learn with all the resources and tutorials available to help you learn. I was only really able to learn the very basics of the software, but knowing that it has the ability to motion capture your mouth for lip sync and body animations for 2D characters is such a cool feature to have. “

Judges comments:

“Webtoon artist Astrovique successfully animated his hand drawings with Cartoon Animator. This entry and WIP video show the potential of how to make manga art with Cartoon Animator 5. We hope to inspire more XPPen artists to leverage our tools for films and video production!”

Education Animation — 1st Prize

How the Human Body Protects Us from Viruses by Prosenjit Biswas (India)

Prosenjit shares his thoughts on winning the contest:

“Cartoon Animator stands out as one of the few software that enables you to create a full animation in just a week without a large team. Its extensive resource library is always beneficial, and the vast 2D and 3D motion libraries are instrumental in saving a significant amount of time. Cartoon Animator’s interface is exceptionally user-friendly, making it both clean and accessible for beginners.”

Judges comments:

“An informative explainer video made by Prosenjit Biswas. With fluent narrating, we were impressed to see how contextual the animation was showing great potential for the author to make educational videos! Finally, check on his WIP video and learn how he did it in Cartoon Animator 5!”

Vertical Shorts — Winners

Grovely and The Unicorn by Anita Bell (Australia)

Best Use of Cartoon Animator 5 —  Winners

Time Travelling Timmy by Warwick Hays (Australia) & Declan Walsh (Ireland)
MAGIC PENCIL by Farid Muminov (Russia)

Student Animation — Winner

PROFESSOR EXPLAINS | Types of blood groups by ABHINAV P M (India)

Just as the contest ended, Reallusion was pleased to announce the Cartoon Animator 5.2 update. This version introduces two major highlights: Motion Pilot and Motion Path Animation, a natural evolution of contemporary puppetry. Motion Pilot is the first significant feature allowing users to animate characters and props instantaneously, significantly reducing production time. The other eagerly awaited feature is Motion Path Animation. This enhanced path editing tool is exceptionally practical for creating precise animations across various applications. Take advantage of the 30-day Free Trial to experience these amazing features in Cartoon Animator!