iClone to Unreal for fast Photo-real characters
Recently we’ve been testing the animation and creator creation applications, iClone and Character Creator 3D by Reallusion. These software’s are incredibly easy to pick up and start creating with. iClone 7 is integrated to work with Unreal Engine in real-time with their personal LiveLink Plugin. (Now free for Indie developers)
Above is a small test we did to show all the key abilities of iClone and how it can be used within a virtual production pipeline. We started in creator creator 3D where we used the Headshot plugin which allows us to insert an image of our desired character and it will automatically create a facial model for us. It’s important to use a picture with as flat lighting possible for the best result you want to light the character afterwards in engine.
After we had a facial model for our character we make minor adjustments and move onto the body which can be edited by hand or a body asset can be added to further speeds up this process. Now we’ve got a character model we’ll export it as a “IAvatar”
The next part of the pipeline is within iClone 7. Here we will animate our character whether it’s through traditional frame by frame methods or though the motion live plugin which supports body and facial motion capture. We decided to use our Rokoko motion capture suits for this test the data was streamed live from Rokoko Studio to iClone motion live allowing real-time previews and the ability to record animations independently in Rokoko Studio. We also used the LiveFace app (available for downloaded on any iPhone with a depth sensor camera) and our OSF motion capture helmets to capture the facial animations.
Now the character is animated we’re ready to transfer them over to UE with the clone Unreal Engine LiveLink plugin and Auto Character set up plugin. The automatic character set up plugin has been developed to create skin textures in the same way as Epic Games’s digital humans. These plugins will automatically set up a file structure and characters within your UE project all you have to do is set up the LiveLink and activate the link between your iClone characters.
iClone is able to transfer and link lights and cameras but we chose to only send the character and add all lighting and camera moves afterwards in Unreal engine. We also decided to record the talents performance before deciding on exact shots, after getting the perfect performance we was able to then decide how we wanted to shoot it by adding the animation into a sequence and then creating a shot track with all virtual cameras.
During this test we ran all 3 software’s off a single OSF onset render machine, although the render machine maintained a solid 60 frames in iClone and a impressive 120 in Unreal we suggest running Unreal separately on its own machine to achieve the smoothest data stream possible. Both iClone and Rokoko studio allow for IP streaming. This is something we’ll be testing in the coming weeks.
The Golem character in this scene was created by the Mythcons / Peter Alexander.