Skip to main content

Learning Reallusion's iClone 5: Part 2 - Avatar Creation and Facial Puppet Motion

Today I decided to run through the next two of Reallusion's iClone 5, Quick Fix Tutorials, How to create my own character and How to create a talking character. Both tutorial videos are very short so click the links if you'd like to watch them.

BTW: If you haven't read Part 1 in this series, it's not critical but you will see my first iClone scene and will be able to read how it was constructed.

As mentioned previously this series is my experiences of learning iClone and is not intended as a tutorial. If that's what you're looking for then I'd recommend you watch the tutorial videos I'm using as a basis for these blog posts.

Creating My Own Character

Photo of me used as the
basis of my iClone Avatar.
As someone who casts myself into a lot of my own videos it's always useful having an avatar character that represents me. So that's what I decided to create.

Initially I started with a photo of me that was well lit but my face was not directly facing the camera. Although you can still get reasonable results I wasn't happy with the character I produced.

I began again by sitting in front of a window and getting as close as possible with my laptop's webcam and taking a photo. Producing the image you can see above.

From there it's just a case of adding a character to the iClone stage then running through the face fitting process - which is not that different to CrazyTalk Animator's Morph Face Fitting process.

Face fitting process.
Once that was done, Reallusion's tutorial demonstrated a few of the settings you can adjust to give your character a unique look and also showed you how to add hair.

I decided to go all out, after adding some hair that was as close to mine as I could find, I decided to really tweak all the facial settings to see how close of a likeness I could get.

I was very impressed with just how much iClone allows you to fine tune the face structure. Everything from the width of the nose to brow angle, cheek puffiness and more can be adjusted. I think I didn't do too bad (see image below)...

TET Avatar.
Obviously it's not exactly like me (the harsh lighting doesn't help) but I feel it's a good representation.

Making My Character Talk

The second tutorial on making your character talk seemed like deja vu. iClone's voice adding and character puppeteering system is virtually the same as CrazyTalk Animator 2.

The only trouble I had was my laptop computer not being able to keep up with the real time puppeteering. This could be problematic in the future but I do know there are things you can adjust to try and improve the real time performance.

Anyhow I found a short bit of my own voice I had recorded for someone else's animation quite a while ago and loaded that into iClone. The auto lip sync kicked in so that all I had to do was a bit of minor head movement and blinks to make the character feel more alive.

I then struggled through some settings for making the camera pan around my character to create the animation below. The camera pan isn't that smooth because I haven't really learnt that bit yet but it does the job. Watch the final video below. It's very basic with just the default lighting settings.



Overall I'm happy with what I achieved. A character like this can be made very quickly. Easily inside 30 minutes, probably less if you're not tweaking every little detail like I did.

I'm looking forward to adding some full body animation in future tutorials.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. It is a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I can see myself getting into this style of animation. Thanks for all of the videos that showed your process. Josh

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET
20% off holiday gifts yule (and they’ll) love. Use code ROAR

Popular posts from this blog

Eric W. Schwartz: Cartoonist, Animator and Amiga Die Hard

American Cartoonist, Eric W. Schwartz, (whose unofficial Amiga Icon, Amy the Squirrel, is pictured on the July 92 edition of CU Amiga cover on the right) is my only real animation hero. Sure there are the big names like Disney, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and even Preston Blair whose influences can all be seen in my own cartoons but Eric did what none of the others could. He showed that really great 2D computer animation was within my reach with little more than an Amiga Computer, a copy of Deluxe Paint and Moviesetter.

This was at a time when computer based animation was in its infancy (outside of computer game animation) and Flash was something that lights did.

There were many great Amiga artists but Eric was really the only one consistently making very funny, traditional style animations. His humor and drawing style is heavily influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons but he managed to build on this, creating something that was recognizably Eric's own style.

I've…

Review: CrazyTalk Animator 3 vs Moho Studio Pro 12

Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator 3 or Smith Micro's Moho Studio Pro 12. Which of these 2D animation applications is right for you?

Regular readers of this blog will know I'm a strong supporter, and fairly proficient user of CrazyTalk Animator since version 1. It's a great piece of software for producing 2D animations from purchased content quickly and, with version 3, is easier than ever to create animations from your own art.

Lesser known is that I first purchased Moho Studio Pro 12 (then known as Anime Studio Pro 9) back in October of 2012 and have been upgrading it to the latest version ever since because I believed in it as an application for creating great 2D animation to TV quality standard. As such, it's a much more complex application than CTA3 that I only got around to learning properly late last year. I'm still in the process of blogging my progress.

Despite this I feel I've learned enough of Moho to compare it to CTA3 to help you determine which …

Springboard - Fast Digital Storyboarding on a Budget

Storyboarding an animation is one of my least favorite parts of the creative process and yet it's also one of the most important after writing the script. It's where the planning of the visual representation of the script takes place.

The Problem....

I've struggled with storyboarding because I knew there had to be a better way than drawing tiny thumbnails on a sheet of paper with script and camera direction notes crammed underneath - an example of which can be found in my post for my music video animation, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. This method isn't exactly client friendly as my handwriting scrawls can become unreadable even to me over time.

The other technique I employed was using the storyboarding features of Celtx Script Writing Software. Celtx allows you to import your scanned thumbnails (or any digital image) into its storyboard where you can add text and camera direction into scrollable text boxes below each image - and never run out of room. I employed th…

Review: Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator 3 - Taking a Step Back to Move Forward

CrazyTalk Animator 3's bold claim is 'The One-for-all 2D Animation'. Does it deliver? Could it be your 'go to' 2D animation tool of choice? Before I explore those questions I feel a bit of backstory is necessary.

I've been using Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator since its original incarnation that promised quick and easy, 2D animation creation. An idea that was relative depending on what kind of animation you wanted to do. Since my focus has largely been on original character animation my experience with CTA is relative to that.

If you wanted to create animated characters from your original artwork, quick and easy didn't really describe the time and effort involved. There was a lot of preparation and considerable time spent rigging its G1 characters.

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc.

I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations.
I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity.
Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply change you default microphone to the installed AV…

Animation 4 Business iClone Promotional Video

In my recent updates I've been teasing a new Animation 4 Business Promotional video created with Reallusion's iClone 6. It's taken me longer than expected because I've only been able to work on it for a couple of hours each day - part of my new schedule that enables me to work on many projects concurrently.

Finally the animation is finished and, although I've already debuted it on the Animation 4 Business website, Facebook and YouTube, here is the only place you can read about the behind the scenes creation process.

WeVideo - Professional, Collaborative, Online Video Editor for Free

WeVideo is a professional online, cloud, video editing and project sharing application that works right in your browser. It attempts to compete with equivalent licensed software that you can buy for your computer, such as (in my case) MAGIX Movie Edit Pro.

WeVideo is free for personal use and comes with a range of paid plans that give you more features and benefits depending on your needs and how much you want to spend. Check out their video below which gives a great overview of WeVideo's service.



In this review I'm going to see if I can use WeVideo to create a typical video for my main YouTube channel, etourist2, where I mostly upload art and animation demonstration/tutorial videos. Before we start, here's a run down of what a free account offers:

1 GB storage360p resolution15 export minutes per monthExport to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Twitter5 invites per project390 licensed music titles
With only 1GB of storage this account is clearly targeted at short form video and …