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3D Sculptor Brings Ancient Deities to Life as Animated Performers with AccuRIG

Marcel Brynard

My name is Marcel Brynard. I am a digital artist with a background in architecture, inspired by working some years at a bronze sculpture studio in Cape Town, South Africa  and by my travels to various archaeological sites.

My love for beautiful forms intertwines with a fascination for the chimeric and arcane, resulting in art that exudes story-telling and mysticism.

Embracing digital tools, I explore new possibilities intersecting architecture and sculpture. Fueled by a love for these things, I am working on an animation project titled “Transcendental Rebirth,” narrating the transformative journey of two shamans on a pilgrimage.

Image credit: Marcel Brynard

In this video I will be taking users through the process of rigging my original models in AccuRIG and uploading to ActorCore for motion previewing and retargeting, as an easy workflow to achieve animation and concept art.

From a Static Sculpture to a Fully Rigged Actor

All my creations are inspired by ancient religions and lore from different places.  The Deer character that I have used in this project is inspired by an ancient Peruvian relic.   

In order to bring my model to the 3D production, I have chosen AccuRIG to do the magic.  There are other rigging tools.  But AccuRIG, new in the market, is not only free of charge but provides really accurate results. 

With only five simple steps and some very useful functions such as symmetry, I have completed the body rig and hand rig of my model in no time.  With minor adjustments, the end results are above my expectations.

Automatic rigging with AccuRIG.  Image credit: Marcel Brynard

Situate the Best Poses for My 3D Model

Next I uploaded my rigged Deer character to ActorCore on the cloud and tried out animations. In my account, I can see all my uploaded actors, and I can go ahead and test different motions in the 3D preview window.  There is a whole range to choose from, including 32 free motions; totalling over 2,000 animations on ActorCore — way more than I need!  

I can select and download any motion on the model that I have uploaded. Classic “Sneak”, “Wondering Walk”, “Normal Walk” — it’s all very straightforward.

Preview animations on ActorCore 3D asset store.  Image credit: Marcel Brynard

Flawless Export to Blender

I want to export everything included, not only motions.  I like to choose 24 frames per second, original size, and embed the texture. And it downloads in a zip folder containing the FBX, and I can easily import that FBX straight into Blender.

Now I have got the character in Blender.  If I were to scrub through the timeline at the bottom, I can see that the animation is included in the FBX, as per the motion that I have downloaded. I can set it up with cameras and lights, and it is ready to render out.

Easy export to Blender for further production.  Image credit: Marcel Brynard


Overall it is really very simple, from rigging with AccuRIG, motion previewing on ActorCore and sending to Blender.  The AccuRIG to ActorCore workflow has given me an impressive result to continue my production in Blender.  I recommend other character artists to give this pipeline a try and see for yourself how the workflow can be largely enhanced.

Free download AccuRIG auto-rigging tool: https://actorcore.reallusion.com/auto-rig

Visit ActorCore 3D animation store:  https://actorcore.reallusion.com/motion

Learn More

Marcel Brynard’s Artstation: https://www.artstation.com/marcelbrynard

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile’s Real-time VFX brings life to the dancing and singing crocodile.  

The Sony Pictures movie Lyle, Lyle Crocodile brought the lovable childhood story to life by the crew at Actor Capture, responsible for the motion capture over the 16 week film production. The team worked with the VFX department and VFX producer, Kerry Joseph and VFX Supervisor Joe Bauer on Mocap and virtual production on location in New York City, at Shadowbox Studios, and locations in Atlanta. Actor Capture provided motion capture with Movella Entertainment – Xsens for the on-set stage performances, over 40 locations, and while even hanging out of taxi cabs in Manhattan.

Virtual Production with in-camera VFX visualized the dancing crocodile in real-time allowing the directors and VFX crew to see the Lyle, Lyle’s, performance as it happened through the simulcam.

The actors trained in real-time to personify and get familiar with Lyle using Reallusion iClone for visualization.

To bring the character of Lyle Lyle Crocodile to life, Actor Capture relied on Xsens motion capture suits, Reallusion iClone and Unreal Engine. These powerful tools enabled the team to visualize Lyle in real-time with mocap animation, and quickly meet the needs of the VFX crew for Sony Pictures’ blockbuster musical.

One of the most significant advantages of iClone for the Actor Capture team was the ability to give performers like Rudie Bolton, who played the young Lyle, the opportunity to see themselves as Lyle in real-time. Reallusion iClone helped them get into character more easily during their performances.

James Martin, Technical Director at Actor Capture, highlighted the importance of Xsens as their preferred body motion capture tool and Reallusion iClone for visualization . “The combination of Xsens’ Link Suit, Gloves, and Faceware enabled the team to capture full-body data with best-in-class quality. Enabling our dancers to see Lyle in real-time with iClone Motion Live was valuable to preparing for the dance sequence mocap.  From stunt Lyle actors to the main Lyle actor, Ben Palacios, Actor Capture captured every take for Lyle Lyle Crocodile”

Actor Capture’s success in bringing Lyle Lyle Crocodile to life was a testament to the power of Xsens motion capture, Reallusion iClone, Vanishing Point and Unreal Engine. As digital technology continues to advance into AI motion and other machine learning solutions, these tools still remain a vital solution for capturing and delivering authentic and endearing character performances on set or in the studio.

Pitch & Produce | History YouTube Channel Selects iClone and Character Creator for Speedy Production

This article is featured on Creative Bloq

War history YouTube channel Yarnhub has half a million subscribers who tune in weekly to watch heroic and captivating stories from famous wars retold as dramatic animated movies. Creating high-quality animated stories weekly isn’t easy. Not only do Yarnhub’s cinematics need to be engaging and high-quality, they must be historically accurate, which is why Yarnhub turned to Reallusion’s best tools – Character Creator for character design and generation; iClone for animation.

Yarnhub Animation Studios

Yarnhub is an entertainment company founded by industry veterans and employs talented young animators to produce history-related animated films. Led by CEO David Webb and Manager Sergey Peresleni, the team consistently produces incredible, awe-inspiring true stories that give you goosebumps and make you feel something for the amazing people who lived them. We try to do these incredible yarn justice by animating them in an amusing and informative way and bringing them to a broad international audience.

Since its inception in 2019, Yarnhub has grown in experience and wrinkles, moving from 2D cartoons to excellent 3D graphics, with more than 30 animators, comparable to some modern video games. The team heavily adopts Reallusion’s software into their daily production.

Why do we select Reallusion tools

The team at Yarnhub develops around 30 characters a week, and using Character Creator 4 they can create a huge number of characters in a short space of time.

Accuracy with Character Creator 4

The flexibility of Character Creator 4 ensures the team’s historian can create historically accurate costumes and characters in a quick time and with accuracy. The artists are able to use other apps, including Substance Painter, to create accurate and lifelike textures. The team takes their time to research a historical period and make use of photos of historical figures to create their meticulous characters.

The historians and artists Yarnhub use historical references in Character Creator 4 for accuracy

Those 30 characters we mentioned earlier can also be easily adjusted and edited to create further variations. Character Creator 4 has a material creation workflow that fits seamlessly with Substance Painter to ensure Yarnhub’s artists can iterate versions of the same character with pre- and post-battle looks, as well as civilian/military clothes and varying ages.

Character customization with the Modify Tab 

Character Creator 4 has new features that enable the animators to check lip-synching, body rig, and facial animation, says Webb, revealing this means the animators can “help us spot and fix any issues early on”.

CC4 enables animators to easily check facial animation, rigs, and lip-synching early in the workflow

“We try to release at least one movie a week and that puts huge pressure on our team to meet the deadlines. In order to succeed we have to use the latest technology and tools like iClone and Character Creator, to produce the best quality we can in the time we have available.”

David Webb, CEO of Yarnhub Animation Studios

iClone 8 makes cinematics easy

When the team needs to create more complex animations they take their characters into iClone 8, Reallusion’s real-time 3D animation software that delivers excellent animation for films, pre-vis, and video games. For the Yarnhub animators, it means they can make use of Reallusion’s ActorCore mocap libraries – a set of readily-rigged characters, including mocap motions and animated 3D humans – to build large-scale battle scenes with variety.

The studio found iClone 8 has a number of new features that perfectly suited a professional studio looking to make animations under tight deadlines. These include the new Control Rig, Advanced Hand/Foot Controller, and Pin Controls that have become go-to tools to provide the flexibility Yarnhub needs when creating and editing its animations. Particularly, the animators are able to save time and speed up their pipeline. Pin Control, for example, prevents joints from breaking.

Adjust hand or footprint position made easy

A key new feature, the improved Reach Target and new Offset function, is one Yarnhub has found incredibly useful. This tool means animators can attach the hands, including both hands together, to an object with ease. This means a character can be set up to interact with other characters, the scenery and objects in a natural way and avoids characters’ hands going through other models or their own bodies. For Yarnhub, which focuses on military animations, where its digital actors need to hold swords and guns it solves many attachment problems.

Crucial new features in iClone 8

Ease and speed of workflow are fundamentals to iClone 8 and Character Creator 4, and it’s been a major reason why Yarnhub has adopted Reallusion’s pipeline. For the team making its weekly content the Animation Layer Editing feature in iClone 8 has been a mainstay. 

iClone 8 offers new and improved tools, such as Reach Target and the new Offset function to make interaction easier

“Animation Layer Editing can help adjust the animation without needing to alter every key, or having to flatten the keys,” says Webb, adding: “It’s a useful tool that can save time when animation requires any adjustment.”

Everything created in Character Creator 4 and iClone 8 is taken into Unreal Engine

Making the most of mocap and Unreal Engine

Likewise, Motion Direction Control makes it much easier to combine animations to create more natural movement and transitions between movements with a couple of clicks – iClone 8’s UI is simple and natural, with clear icons dictating animation. “It makes a turn an organic part of a movement,” explains Webb.

iClone 8 is compatible with Rokoko Smartsuit Pro, too. This mocap setup has bee designed for small teams and indies, and is ideal for capturing specific, natural movements that can then be corrected and refined in iClone 8. 

Finally, all of Yarnhub’s work in Character Creator 4 and iClone 8 is taken into Unreal Engine where the cinematic comes together. Reallusion’s 3D animation pipeline works smoothly with Unreal Engine, ensuring professional results – 600k Yarnhub subscribers can’t be wrong.

Read the full article on Creativebloq.

Learn More

Visit Yarnhub Channel

Get 36 FREE iClone tutorials for optimized animation editing

Reallusion Character Creator

Reallusion Pitch & Produce program

Pitch & Produce | Reviving Historic Soldiers with iClone 8 and its Dynamic Wrinkle System

Yarnhub, a popular historic YouTube channel, has been steadily gaining awareness and a growing fan base. Known for its meticulously crafted narratives and captivating animated stories, the channel garners an impressive 4 million monthly video views. To further expand its reach and maintain high visual standards, Yarnhub has once again chosen Reallusion’s top-notch tools, namely Character Creator and iClone, for their daily video production needs.

Yarnhub Animation Studios

Yarnhub is an entertainment company founded by industry veterans and employs talented young animators to produce history-related animated films. Led by David Webb and Manager Sergey Peresleni, the team consistently produces incredible, awe-inspiring true stories that give you goosebumps and make you feel something for the amazing people who lived them. They try to do these incredible yarn justice by animating them in an amusing and informative way and bringing them to a broad international audience.

Since its inception in 2019, Yarnhub has grown in experience and wrinkles, moving from 2D cartoons to excellent 3D graphics, with more than 30 animators, comparable to some modern video games. The team heavily adopts Reallusion’s software into their daily production.

Why choose Reallusion tools?

Yarnhub faced difficulties in creating captivating 3D animations featuring diverse characters from various historical periods and nations. However, the team has now upgraded their pipeline by incorporating the advanced features of iClone, Character Creator, and the Unreal Live Link Plugin. This enhancement allows them to efficiently produce high-quality historical animations with speed and precision.

Animating an authentic tank scene

Creating a realistic tank scene animation has been a thrilling collaboration between Yarnhub and Reallusion. In their recent video, titled “M26 Pershing vs T34-85“, Yarnhub found immense value in utilizing specific features from the latest iClone Unreal Live Link plugin update. This partnership has allowed them to bring their story to life and enhance the overall quality of the production.

Yarnhub began by implementing the two-way data link, which facilitated the transfer of mesh data from Unreal to iClone 8. Through this link, they were able to synchronize keyframe animations, aligning character positions with the surrounding environment. The following video demonstration showcases the seamless and accurate integration of their characters within the tank hull.

In their routine production, they frequently rely on the Curve Editor as a valuable tool. Within iClone 8, this integrated plugin proved instrumental in accomplishing fluid and lifelike animation.

They have integrated an additional Motion LIVE and Rokoko Mocap profile into their workflow, enabling them to directly capture motion data from a Rokoko suit into iClone 8. By utilizing a transferred static motion correction mesh as reference points, they can fine-tune character movements accordingly. Once the animation is completed and the character’s actions appropriately respond to the environment, they employ the bi-directional link to transfer all necessary elements from iClone to Unreal. The inclusion of the Timecode Sync feature addressed a long-standing request since iClone 7, allowing for seamless animation recording in the Unreal sequencer without frame drops. Lastly, they configured the lighting and camera setup to achieve the desired final shot.

Applying realistic wrinkles to aging soldiers

Known for its meticulous and comprehensive portrayal of historic military battles, Yarnhub caters to a vast audience of millions who appreciate the company’s commitment to objectivity and accuracy. However, they understand that war encompasses more than just the physical elements of planes, ships, guns, and bombs. Above all, YarnHub recognizes that war is fundamentally intertwined with human emotions.

“We are very happy to be the first to try a revolutionary new Dynamic Wrinkle System from our friends at Reallusion. It’s a fresh and powerful wrinkle-blending system for our character expression workflow.”

David Webb, YarnHub CEO

The Dynamic Wrinkle System proved to be remarkably advantageous and efficient when it comes to characters with both high and low polygon counts. Several shots featuring Yarnhub’s own characters were created and tested, showcasing the tool’s capabilities. Not only did it enable the addition of wrinkles and the creation of realistic emotions, but it also facilitated real-time triggering of subtle facial changes. Furthermore, they successfully applied the “Wrinkle Essential Pack” to optimize the appearance of certain soldiers.

And what was important for the pipeline was that with just a quick FBX export, the most complex wrinkles and facial expressions seen in Character Creator could be mirrored in the Unreal Engine, Unity, and Blender.

Learn More

Visit Yarnhub Channel

iClone: Unreal Live Link Plugin Update

iClone: Get 36 FREE iClone tutorials for optimized animation editing

Character Creator: Dynamic Wrinkle System

Reallusion Pitch & Produce Program

Prompt Muse – Unleash the Power of AI to Create Next-Level Animations

The rise of AI-powered animation has given rise to fresh aesthetics, yet due to the limitations of the current AI technology, the shapes of objects and characters from one frame to another tend to shift about in a sort of amorphous fashion. Some individuals view the instability of the generated images as an aesthetic side-effect of nascent technology — a je ne sais quoi, while others opt for incorporating additional tools into their pipelines to smooth over the animation, regarding the visual artifacts as unsightly glitches.

Amelia Player, co-founder of Prompt Muse, seamlessly incorporated Headshot, Character Creator, and iClone into her AI-generated animation workflow. By utilizing CC Character and iClone Animation, Amelia effectively addresses the instability that commonly occurs in video-driven AI animations. Reallusion’s tools were chosen for their user-friendly approach to 3D character creation, what she referred to as a “zero-learning curve” solution. These tools integrated with the animation pipeline, alongside MetaHuman and Blender, enhancing the overall user experience.

I use Character creator to create a puppet. You do not need to know any 3D. There is no learning curve to this software. You’re basically using sliders and dragging and dropping assets onto your 3D character. It is super simple to use.

Amelia Player, co-founder of Prompt Muse

After preparing the data and getting the AI model trained using Google Colab, Amelia simply uploaded her images into Headshot and AI-generated a 3D character of remarkable resemblance.

I’m going to be taking this bald image of myself and dragging and dropping that into the Headshot plugin, which then generates a 3D model of my face. I can go in and sculpt this further if I want to, but I’m just using this as a puppet or a guide for the AI.

Amelia Player, co-founder of Prompt Muse

Next, she explored Reallusion‘s content ecosystem, carefully selecting and incorporating her preferred hair and clothing options onto her 3D character.

Once I’m happy with the face and the body shape, I then add some hair. Again, it’s super easy. I’m just dragging and dropping from a library.

Amelia Player, co-founder of Prompt Muse

The extensive asset library included in Character Creator 4 and iClone 8 provides fully-rigged characters, over two thousand 3D outfits, hairstyles, dynamic wrinkles, expression morphs, light presets, and more. >> Learn more

Upon finalizing the design of her 3D character, Amelia proceeded to export it to iClone. Additionally, she downloaded the free facial motion capture application, LIVE FACE, with the intention of capturing her expressive performance data. The data was then used in iClone Motion Live to enhance the realism of the facial animation.

iClone is more of an animation programme. So this is where I’m going to be adding the facial animation as well as the body idle.[…] It’s super easy to use. All you’re doing is recording your facial movement and that’s being applied to your 3D model in real time.

Amelia Player, co-founder of Prompt Muse

After speaking with Amelia, her motivations for selecting Reallusion tools became evident:

  • Headshot and Character Creator conditioned the source videos, leading to more stable AI-generated animations.

  • Character Creator provided the flexibility to have complete control over the appearance of a character. It eliminated the need to hire a dress-up model for AI rendering.

  • With the extensive ecosystem of content available in Character Creator, including options for hair, clothing, shoes, and more, the desired look can be achieved effortlessly.

  • iClone provided the freedom to create top-notch animations, with adjustable camera distances and angles to capture the best visuals.

  • Different lighting setups were readily available to establish the desired atmosphere for each shot.

It has been truly delightful to witness how Amelia utilized Reallusion’s tools and resources to streamline her workflow and produce professional-level, AI-generated animations with such efficiency. To see the complete process, watch the detailed steps below, and for additional professional tips, be sure to visit Prompt Muse’s website.

How to create your own AI-generated animation with state-of-the-art techniques :

  • Step 1. Preparing Your Data for Training

  • Step 2. Training Your AI Model with Google Colab

  • Step 3. Creating and Animating Your 3D Character with Headshot, Character Creator and iClone

  • Step 4. Rendering and Finalizing Your AI-Generated Animation

  • Step 5. Batch Rendering Frames with Automatic 111

Free Download :


Character Creator


Learn more :

• Prompt Muse : YouTube, Website

Fully Controllable MetaHuman Creation (CC to MetaHuman)

New Image Sequence & GIF Animation Import for Cartoon Animator 5.1

Nathan Smith – 2D animator, a member of Studio Ghibletz

About Nathan Smith

Greetings my fellow animators! I’m Nathan—an esteemed member of Studio Ghibletz. Today, I’ll be your guide as we explore Cartoon Animator 5’s latest features. We’ll learn how to use the vector character launcher, how to create props in Photoshop and Illustrator, and how to add GIF animations to your next cartoon. 

Using Adobe Illustrator to Edit Vector Characters

Cartoon Animator 5 ushered in a new generation of vector characters. Vector assets enable you to produce characters and props which can be enlarged without a loss of quality. In the past, however, CTA5 lacked the ability to launch vector characters to an external image editor, but Cartoon Animator 5.1 remedies this issue. 

You can now launch vector characters to Adobe Illustrator. To make edits to an SVG asset, bring it into the character composer. From here, select the SVG launcher, which is conveniently located beneath the PSD option. Seasoned CTA5 users will notice this follows the same pipeline as the Photoshop launcher.

CTA5 will then export your prop or character to Adobe Illustrator. For now, Illustrator is the only supported vector editing software, but this could change in the future. After bringing your character into Illustrator, make your desired changes, save, and then exit. Your character will automatically update in CTA5.1.

Sequence Images – PSD Prop Pipeline

Certain types of 2D animation, like water, fire, and smoke, can’t be rigged with a bone structure like characters. They require a hand-drawn, frame-by-frame sequence. To make use of these assets, you must create a prop. In the past, you had to import your prop’s sprites one by one. This was time-consuming, especially if you had a ten-frame sequence for something like this flame. CTA5.1 now offers an alternative. 

With CTA5.1, you can import multiple sprites at once. The pipeline begins in Photoshop. To import a prop with multiple sprites, you must correctly format it in Photoshop. If the file is not correctly formatted, your prop will fail to generate. You can format your prop in Photoshop by following these four steps:

Step 1: Create a folder named sequence. This tells CTA5.1 that you want to play the following sprites in a loop. 

Step 2: Create a second folder with the name of your action sequence, then place it inside the folder named sequence. For example, the folder in the screenshot below is called flame.

Step 3: Load all of your sprites into the action folder. Here, you can also create multiple actions by using additional subfolders. For example, I added a second action sequence image called blue flame. 

Please note: In Photoshop, the sprites will play from the top down. In Illustrator, however, the sprites will play from the bottom up. 

Step 4: save your document as a .psd file, then drag it into CTA5.1. Your prop will automatically generate. From there, you will then find the sprite sequences under the action menu.

Sequence Images – SVG Prop Pipeline

If you want to make an SVG prop, Adobe Illustrator employs a similar pipeline. Again, it all comes down to correctly formatting the file. To make your first vector prop, follow these five steps:

Step 1: The first layer should bear the name of your prop. In the picture below, the prop’s name is “bread”.

Step 2: Add another layer. Name this one “sequence:” Don’t forget to add the colon. This is very important because without the colon the prop will not generate correctly when you import your file into CTA 5.1.

Step 3: Create another layer and name your action sequence. In the example below, the layer is named “bread_falling.”

Step 4: Place your sprites in the next layer. Remember, in Adobe Illustrator the sprites will play from bottom to top, which is why these five sprites are ordered in reverse. You can also create multiple sequences in the same prop, just like in Photoshop by creating another layer under “sequence:” 

Step 5: Save your prop as a .svg file. Other formats, like .ai, won’t work. Finally, drag this .svg file into CTA5.1 to generate your new animated prop. As with traditional props, you’ll find the sequence image you created under the action menu.

A Quick Q&A about GIF and APNG Compatibility 

The next exciting feature to grace CTA5.1 is GIF and APNG compatibility. You can now import animated GIFs directly into Cartoon Animator 5 with ease. This feature requires no elaborate set of instructions. Simply drag your GIF or APNG directly into CTA5.1. You’ll then be prompted to set the number of times you’d like the gif to play, then presto — you have a fancy new prop.

To make the most of GIFs, use them for props that require a constant loop — things like water, fire, and smoke. Additionally, you could consider using them for blinking lights or static computer screens. For Floppy’s Obstacle Course, I imported several butterfly GIFs to add flourish.

What is the difference between GIF and APNG?

GIFs and APNGs perform the same role. They create short, looped animation sequences. The primary difference, as Cody explains, is: “ GIFs and APNGs are both types of animated image files, but the main difference is that APNGs can have more colors and be better quality than GIFs.”

Where can I get free GIFs?

You can find animated GIFs all across the internet. The gifs used in Floppy’s Obstacle Course came from Envato. These butterflies were originally video files which I converted into GIFs to add into CTA5. Another great place to find GIFs is giphy.com. Here, you’ll find all the GIFs your heart desires, any of which are sure to boost the production value of your cartoon.

How can I create a GIF?

Funny you should ask! The butterflies used in Floppy’s Obstacle Course were originally video files. You can convert .mp4 files to GIFs using software like Premiere Pro, or a free GIF converter online.  

Raise Production Value with CTA5.1

I hope these new features help you produce excellent cartoons. If you have any questions, I’ll be hanging out in the comments section and in the Cartoon Animator Users group on Facebook. The CTA community is large and supportive. Never hesitate to reach out if you’re curious about 2D animation. Farewell brethren!

Studio Ghibletz: https://www.youtube.com/@StudioGhibletz

Know more:

2D Animation Software for Cartoon Maker | Cartoon Animator

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Recreating Snoop Dogg: Character Creator and MetaHuman Creator

Antony Evans – Co-owner and Animator at Digital Puppets UK


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

In this video I will share my insights and workflow for developing a stylized Snoop Dogg avatar. Leveraging tools like Character Creator 4 and ZBrush, I will run through the process of transforming a realistic base into a captivating cartoon version.

“One of the key advantages of Character Creator 4 is its ability to sculpt detail directly into the mesh. The software provides powerful sculpting tools that allowed me to add specific features and refine the character’s face to match the unique characteristics of Snoop Dogg. I could sculpt the shape of the nose, eyes, lips, and other facial elements with greater precision, resulting in a more accurate representation.”

Antony Evans – Co-owner and Animator at Digital Puppets UK

Announcing Headshot 2, the AI Enhanced Mesh-to-CC Plugin

Create Superior Digital Doubles from Images and 3D Meshes

Headshot 2, the AI-enhanced plugin for Character Creator, lets you create advanced 3D real-time digital humans from photos and 3D models. It offers precise model fitting, texture baking, and full body animation capabilities, surpassing its predecessor and competitors. With Auto and Pro modes, it provides one-click generation of low-res virtual heads with 3D hair, as well as high-resolution texture processing with extensive morph options and advanced tools for refinement. Its versatility and comprehensive feature sets make it the industry’s go-to solution for converting static models into fully-rigged 3D heads.

Headshot 2 harnesses the power of AI to handle diverse mesh conditions in just five simple steps, transforming your static models into fully-rigged characters. Firstly, it automatically detects your mesh and populates the essential 24 alignment points. Secondly, the flexible system allows artists to add extra alignment points to highlight specific anatomy, making it particularly suitable for meticulously sculpted characters in ZBrush and Blender. Thirdly, even if your scanned mesh is incomplete, Headshot AI’s advanced capabilities intelligently fill in the missing parts while preserving priority areas such as the face and ears.

The robust native 3D brush system not only enables accurate projection of head shape, topology smoothing, and optimized edge loops, but also enhances the likeness of your digital doubles by improving facial expressions like smiles and winks. Furthermore, Headshot 2 is not limited to just the head! You can easily attach the generated head to a suitable body type and gender within the Character Creator ecosystem. Artists can further refine the body type using morph sliders at any point and utilize SkinGen to add personalized details such as pores, freckles, scars, makeup, and dynamic wrinkles.

Headshot 2 is the only system that supports high-poly normal baking, vertex color to texture conversion, and UV remapping. It meets the demands of professional production while remaining intuitive enough for everyone. Download it now to enjoy more exclusive features that make your digital doubles look natural, convincing, and unique!

Learn more : Headshot 2 – The AI Enhanced 3D Head Generator | Free Trial Download

The feature highlights of Headshot 2 :

  • Turn 3D head models into fully-rigged characters. Whether covered or fragmented, Headshot 2 can create a complete 3D head from diverse mesh conditions.
  • Create superior digital doubles from a variety of resources. Mesh made from photogrammetry, digital sculptures or mobile 3D scanning supply the seeds for creating animated 3D heads, ranging from digital humans to stylized characters.
  • Intuitive wrapping process in 5 steps. From auto-detection, point alignment, AI head generation to brush tools for mesh refinement and body attachment, Headshot 2 has it all.
  • Challenging scenarios can be resolved with efficiency. Dealing with eyes and ears after model fitting can be tricky as well as attaching to head to the body and preserving hairstyle. Headshot 2 offers a set of powerful brushes to workaround hairy problems.
  • Versatile texture baking options help retain high-poly detail.  Headshot 2 enables the conversion of vertex color to texture, normal baking, image projection, and UV remapping (see below).

1. Turn 3D head models into fully-rigged characters

Headshot 2 harnesses the power of AI to handle diverse mesh conditions with a remarkable level of tolerance. It particularly excels at working with severely flawed models, effortlessly generating fully-rigged, professional-grade characters.

2. Create superior digital doubles from a variety of resources


With a range of services including custom scans and a professional 3D head library, photogrammetry offers unparalleled model details and texture resolution. Headshot 2 leverages this technology, enabling studios to effortlessly create and animate celebrities, game characters, and photo-realistic crowd simulations for movies and archviz.


In the media entertainment industry, digital sculptors skilled in tools like ZBrush and Blender create high-definition 3D characters for intellectual properties. Headshot simplifies the process by seamlessly converting these highly detailed models, regardless of whether they are realistic or stylized, into real-time characters.


Mobile scanning provides a convenient and cost-effective method for creating 3D models. However, unwieldy scanning conditions may result in compromised quality. By selecting the effective surfaces, Headshot AI can overcome these challenges by seamlessly filling in the missing areas, such as the ears, skull, and neck, ensuring high-quality results.

Bring In Stylized Characters


Accurate depiction of eye blinks and iconic expressions on stylized characters with exaggerated eye sockets and angular contour lines relies on precise alignment of mesh points and edges. Headshot’s distinctive normal baking technology makes this achievable.


For stylized creatures with a bold design, achieving resemblance is made easier by adding additional alignment points to define exaggerated areas like the ears and neck. These specific details can also enhance the otherworldly characteristics of the creatures.

3. Intuitive wrapping process in 5 steps

(1) Automatic Feature Detection

Get started quickly with three preconfigured options: 24, 32, or 35 alignment points. Alternatively, use auto detection to automatically populate the essential 24 alignment points. By synchronizing the camera navigation, you can easily compare the positions of the alignment points between the source and target meshes.

(2) Add Details with Extra Alignment Points

The system offers flexibility by allowing the addition of extra points to accommodate distinctive facial and body features. Whether it involves adding points for stretched elf-like ears or incorporating more points for a prominent hunched back, the system is fully compatible with any standout anatomy.

(3) Generate 3D Heads Based on Effective Areas

With the advanced capabilities of Headshot AI, you can effortlessly generate a comprehensive 3D head from a partial mesh. Enjoy the flexibility to choose which details to preserve according to your preferences, whether you prioritize the face, include the ears, or encompass the entire head. Regardless of your choice, Headshot 2 guarantees exceptional results delivered with speed and efficiency.

(4) Refine Topology with 3D Brushes

Benefit from robust 3D brushes, which can efficiently project the head shape, smooth out topology, and optimize edge loops. This process not only enhances the likeness of the character but also enables improved performance with facial expressions, particularly in the areas of the eyes and mouth. >> View the CC Face Topology Guideline (Free Download)

MOVE : Shift Point Positions

SMOOTH : Refine the Model Surface

PROJECT : Map onto the Source Mesh

CLONE : Align to Target Topology

(5) Assign Body Shape & Bake Textures

Effortlessly assign the suitable gender or body type to the generated head and ensure a seamless attachment with the corresponding neck shape. Achieve professional-grade results by utilizing image masking and a wide range of texture bake options. Refine the body type further using morph sliders at any point in the process for added customization.

4. Challenging scenarios can be resolved with efficiency


Wrapping a sophisticated or creatively designed 3D head can present challenges and potentially yield unintended results. Headshot provides a multitude of options to effectively handle difficult cases, such as stylized eyes, ears, and even slightly parted lips. By employing specific techniques tailored to each situation, artists can confidently achieve their desired outcomes with precision.


The advanced body type options enable effortless retopology of the head, allowing for easy modifications using your own assets. The mesh wrap tools simplify the process of achieving a striking resemblance, even for stylized characters with unconventional neck shapes. Additionally, the body morph sliders offer precise control over the configuration of the character’s physique.


Maintaining the hairstyle is crucial to achieve a faithful resemblance between the source and target models. By designating the entire head as the effective area and using the “No Mask” option, the original hair shape and textures is kept intact, while editing tools offer surplus ways to clean and refine the final geometry.

5. Versatile texture baking options help retain high-poly detail


Headshot 2 stands out from other model fitting solutions with versatile texture baking options. It is the only system that supports high-poly normal baking, vertex color to texture conversion, and UV remapping. Other exclusive features include image-based color projection and textureless rendering with stand-in eyes. The outcome is an astonishingly detailed CC3+ head at 4,000 quads, showcasing remarkable resemblance and geared for real-time performance.


No Mask

To ensure the integrity of bust models with desirable hair or coverings and without distorted textures, choose the “No Mask” option. Additionally, for the correction of minor texture artifacts that occur when blinking or opening the lips, apply eyelash and lip masks to achieve the right results.

Template Mask

When generating a 3D head from a partial mesh, texture tearing or stretching can occur due to degradation. Even with a flawless source mesh, accurately projecting eyelash and inner lip details can be challenging. Headshot 2 offers a convenient solution by providing predefined texture masks to quickly hide problematic areas, ensuring a seamless and visually appealing result without the need for image editing.

Custom Mask

Typically used in conjunction with custom painting of diffuse and normal maps, the “Custom Mask” option offers maximum flexibility for texture refinement. Designers can easily create and modify maps using an image editor, with the results automatically updated in Character Creator when the image is saved.



Low-resolution textures often result in deficient close-ups. With the dynamic skin editor, SkinGen, you can overcome this limitation by layering intricate details like pores, veins, freckles, sun tan, scars, and even apply makeup to enhance the realism of the eyes and lips. >> Realistic Human Skin. Makeup & SFX

Dynamic Wrinkle

Take realism to new heights by seamlessly incorporating dynamic wrinkles into the generated digital doubles. Witness the remarkable level of expression details that come to life in real-time when you apply face key, facial puppet, and tracking techniques.

Free Resource :

Website: Headshot 2 | Mesh to CC workflow | Scan Reality Pro (content pack)

Forum: Headshot 2 : Mesh-to-CC plugin Discussion

Disney VFX Animator Revives the Nostalgic Magic of Hand-drawn Animation with Cartoon Animator

Declan Walsh – Hand-drawn VFX Animator

About Declan Walsh

Hey there, I’m Declan Walsh. Let me take you back to my first-ever interview in the animation industry. When they asked about my experience, I must have frozen like a deer caught in headlights! My previous gig involved packing TV cases on a factory floor, but I had a feeling that wasn’t exactly what they were seeking. So, I decided to approach it differently… I leaned in, looked the interviewer straight in the eyes, and declared, “If I can’t nail this job in three months, I’ll give myself the boot!” That momentous occasion took place 25 years ago, and I’m proud to share that I’ve since amassed a wealth of experience working on classic movies, games, and various other projects. 

However, here’s the thing… I’m still learning! In this industry, learning never stops. My latest escapade brings me to Cartoon Animator (CTA), where I got to collaborate with Reallusion to showcase its features. The thing I absolutely adore about CTA is its inclusive approach that embraces artists of all skill levels. It allows me to keep honing my traditional animation skills, even in the face of the latest industry advancements. And let me tell you, their community is incredibly supportive — just like any top-notch animation studio would be!

A Glimpse into A 90s Animation Studio

Amidst the cubicles, the faint sounds of muffled music seep from headphones. Two nearby animators are engaged in conversation with their attention focused on a shot sequence. They rewind the VHS tape back to the beginning, eagerly watching as the animation came to life. Rewinding, playing again, and scrutinizing every movement with their trained eyes. They kept a keen eye for any imperfections, any slight pops in motion that lacked follow-through. And when it worked, a smile spread across their faces. This was a routine part of my daily life for many years, and I cherished every single second of it.

During those times, animation was entirely hand-drawn and traditional animators were adept at rolling the paper quickly to assess the timing of their rough animations. Then, they would take it to the video by carefully placing each drawing on the animation disc, ensuring the lighting was just right, so the blue foundational drawings are clearly visible.

In those days, cameras weren’t particularly advanced. Each frame had to be captured on video before you could witness your animation. I relished the anticipation that accompanied this process.

But what I loved, even more, was the soundscape of an animation studio — pencils roughly scratching as artists brought the next scene to life, the rhythmic flipping of crisp paper, and the tactile sensation of the pages gliding through my fingertips. It instantly transports me back to a time when animators from Los Angeles, Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, and all corners of the globe converged to create the next classic animated feature for the silver screen! I vividly recall being told two things:

“You’re only as good as your last scene.”

“Whatever you put out into the world, remains there for all time; there’s no going back.”

In those days, the creation of animation was an immense undertaking! It required the collaboration of over 350 individuals, including story writers, storyboard artists, color design teams, character animators, background professionals, special effects artists, and many more. They seamlessly worked together within a vast studio equipped with colossal cameras!

Fast-forward to The World of Animation Today

The year is 2023 and animation has changed drastically! With the rapid advancement of computers and software like Cartoon Animator (CTA) and Photoshop, our ability to draw, color, and animate directly on-screen has revolutionized the game. Gone are the days of traditional methods; now, we can wield an entire studio’s worth of tools and resources on a single laptop. A vast library of characters, backgrounds, effects, and built-in animations awaits, limited only by the boundaries of our own imagination. It’s a breathtaking reality I could never have envisioned.

Yet, I’ll confess, there are moments when I yearn for the tactile sensation of flipping through paper with my fingertips. As I write this, my collection of old animation discs adorns the walls, gazing down upon me. If those discs could speak, I imagine they would share tales of a remarkable journey and murmur, “Hell of a ride, kid…” before succumbing to slumber, lost in dreams of bygone glory. Meanwhile, I press forward into the current era and adapt, wielding my XP-PEN tablet in pursuit of artistic expression and preserving the age-old tradition of 2D animation.

At its core, the process of animation remains unchanged: crafting a compelling story, storyboarding, creating color keys, and more. The difference lies in the abundance of tools now at our disposal, and it’s truly awe-inspiring! In CTA, an entire studio lies within reach, with an array of tools readily available at our fingertips.

The Art of Storyboarding

Let’s dive into the topic of storyboards! But before we delve into it, let me make one thing clear: you don’t have to be a skilled artist to create one. Stick figures or written descriptions in panels will suffice.

What truly matters is focusing on the camera angles and ensuring they capture the motion of the piece in the best possible way. Consider the character’s trajectory and how it aligns with the connected scenes. Express your thoughts on the page, freeing them from the confines of your mind. I assure you, your animations will flow more smoothly once you accomplish this.

Achieving the right timing can be challenging, so here’s a handy tip: grab your phone and time yourself acting out the character’s movements. For instance, if you’re timing a character’s breathing and you know the timeline operates at 30 frames per second, you can measure your own breath — two seconds for inhale and two for exhale — for the first board. Consequently, your first keyframe would be at frame 60, and the second at frame 120. Repeat this process for each panel, so you have a rough idea of timing before you start. 

I also recommend recording yourself performing the scene so that you can utilize it as a reference for your 2D character animation. CTA is very flexible and allows you to do this easily. 

My Choice of 2D Animation Software

Now, let’s talk about the tools available to us. I must admit, the abundance of tools in Cartoon Animator is simply mind-boggling — it’s a veritable playground for individuals like myself!

To illustrate, I recently created an animation featuring a character breathing under a blanket. To achieve the desired effect, I utilized the Free Form Deformation (FFD) editor. This powerful tool allowed me to manipulate and deform the blanket as the character breathed, enhancing the realism of the scene. By keyframing the transformations on the timeline, I seamlessly brought the prop and character to life.

Furthermore, Cartoon Animator offers a range of presets that greatly aid in the animation process. For instance, I made use of the squash and stretch presets, making slight adjustments to tailor them precisely to my needs. These presets provided a solid foundation upon which I could build the desired results. Additionally, in a particular moment of my animation, bubbles needed to appear on the screen, and once again, the FFD editor proved instrumental in achieving the desired effect.

One thing I truly appreciate is infusing subtle movements into my scenes, as it adds a captivating level of vitality. I meticulously identify areas where I can introduce motion, always ensuring it complements the focus and main action without overshadowing them. It could be something as simple as floating bubbles, twinkling stars around the character’s head, or gentle ripples on the water. These subtle touches breathe life into the animation, making the scenes more immersive and captivating.

Create Animated GIFs & Sequence Image Animation

 In one of my scenes, I depict a character seated on a massive lantern, gazing at the Moon character literally sitting in the water. It presented a perfect opportunity to add a candle flame, subtly enhancing the scene’s atmosphere. However, I wanted to ensure the candle flame didn’t overpower the main focus on the characters in the scene.

Thankfully, Cartoon Animator (CTA) now supports the import of GIF and APNG motions. In previous versions, when these files were dragged onto the stage, they remained static as individual graphics.

It’s worth noting that GIF files have a limited color palette, supporting up to 256 colors, while APNG files can accommodate millions of colors. For my specific purpose, I opted for a GIF format as the flame would be positioned behind a soft glow, ensuring it wouldn’t dominate the scene.

Importing a file with sequence images directly into CTA doesn’t grant access to its individual frames within the software. However, if you need to manipulate the GIF, such as erasing a color background, removing, or adding frames, here’s how you can do it:

1. Bring your GIF into Photoshop.

2. Photoshop will separate the images into layers, allowing you to view the individual frames. You can then edit them as needed.

3. Group the images into a folder within Photoshop; it doesn’t matter what you name the folder at this stage.

4. Place that folder inside another folder and label it “Sequence.”

5. Import the modified GIF into CTA and open the sprite editor. Now, all the frames will be displayed there for further adjustments and animation.

Real-time Editing with PSD Editors & Illustrator

In the scene featuring the Moon sitting in the water, I wanted to incorporate ripples around the character’s body and feet. Since the character’s feet remained stationary, I separated them into their own element. Within CTA, I disabled the character’s feet and animated the ripples around them in Photoshop. This approach allowed me to layer the ripples effortlessly, achieving the desired effect. I anticipated that some adjustments might be necessary after completing the animation. It could be a matter of aligning elements properly or tweaking the timing. The thought of repeatedly switching between CTA and Photoshop, setting up frames in the sprite editor each time, seemed like a daunting task. However, this recent update offers a more streamlined workflow.

Within CTA, I utilized the “create in PSD editor” feature by opening the file at the top right corner. This functionality also works with SVG files, extending the flexibility. By locating and selecting the PSD file, CTA seamlessly launched Photoshop while establishing a link between the two programs. Any adjustments made in Photoshop now automatically update in CTA. I can fluidly switch back and forth, working on the animation and making necessary edits without the need to repeatedly set up the frames. This real-time production flow process with synchronized updates significantly enhances efficiency, whether using Photoshop for PSD files or Illustrator for SVG files.

Pro Tip: When transferring sprites from the sprite editor to the timeline, utilize the arrow keys for swift navigation between images, making for a faster process.

Animating Spring Bones on 2D Characters

In the initial scene where the Moon tumbles out of bed, I had already animated the bedclothes cascading away. As the scene progressed, the Moon falls past the camera and through the clouds. Always eager to infuse motion into my scenes, I swiftly set up spring bones on the cloth held in the character’s hand. Once he was in motion, the spring bones automatically handled the realistic flailing of the cloth during his descent. Spring bones are a remarkable feature that adds secondary motion to characters or props. With their pre-set options and precise adjustment controls, achieving the desired effect is effortless.

Now, a final note. Personally, I haven’t utilized the camera feature in CTA extensively, although it is an exceptional tool. In this particular project, I embraced its capabilities, and I must say, it truly enhances the overall outcome. If you, like me, have underutilized this feature, I highly recommend taking the time to familiarize yourself with it. The camera feature can elevate the storytelling and presentation of your animations to new heights.

The process of creating animations has become incredibly accessible, especially with CTA providing us with a vast library of characters, backgrounds, and props. Additionally, I have curated over 200 hand-animated special effects available in the store, each containing 3 to 5 unique animations. Feel free to explore DexArt for these remarkable resources.

With a solid workflow in place, anything is achievable, from simple animations to the most intricate and elaborate scenes. So, go ahead and unleash your creativity. It’s time to create and bring your visions to life — just as I have done!

Know more:

2D Animation Software for Cartoon Maker | Cartoon Animator

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