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.
The finished video is below.
|Example of the default|
'Curvey' body type.
The main character is a custom design made from Reallusion's ToonMaker pack using the 'Curvey' body type. I had to tone down the curves and try to create a more conservative looking outfit for a business video. Which is one of the great things about iClone character design. Every single body part is scaleable. You're not stuck with just the base body types in the pack.
On the down side there isn't a lot of clothing options for the curvey body type. You're pretty much stuck with creating variations on the short skirt and tank top you see here on the default character body (image right). I did my best to try and make her outfit look like a kind of pant suit with a bit of a skirt around the waist.
The script for the animation was written by one of my Animation 4 Business contractors, Commedus, who came up with an interesting angle to showcase a little of the 3D aesthetic by having the character actually walking on the 3D letters.
|Full set for the video.|
This video is actually only my second complete animation using iClone. Prior to making it I spent quite a long time (days) going through my entire iClone library just to see what I had and how some things I bought actually work. It was a real eye opener and taught me a lot about using the program. I would recommend doing that to anyone who has bought the software and a bunch of content packs to get a feel for what you have.
|Original backdrop image used with |
permission, Parkside Mediahouse.
Unfortunately they took a little too long to reply. I really wanted to put this video to bed so I bought the empty building background you see from Pond5, a royalty free image stock library, for a few dollars (even cheaper thanks to Nerdist and their Pond5 promo code).
For this particular animation I didn't hand draw my storyboard. Instead I went straight into iClone and actually posed all my key frames and then took a snap shot. Supposedly this would mean I could animate from key pose/scene to key pose/scene but it didn't quite work out that way.
|Storyboard key frame images.|
iClone allows you to give your characters pre-made movements. The problem being that if the movement went for longer than the scene it would overwrite all the key frames in the next scene. Not ideal. In the end I deleted all my storyboard key frames since I could use the actual storyboard for reference anyway.
|Key framing the pole slide dismount.|
Direct Puppeting is where you set up a looping action using either the mouse or slider controls then record that action live for however many frames you need it to repeat. In the next pass you can then go back and modify various movements to better match the character's speech etc.
|Using the Avatar Controller to|
direct puppet the face.
A Second Version
Since I was given permission to use the studio background photo I wanted to make sure I used it. However, I'd already released the first version with the empty building background and didn't want to pull it down as I quite liked it.
Instead I came up with the idea to not just change the background but also the character to show how easy this is to do. You can literally swap out the old character on the first frame with a new character and everything else will stay the same. Very handy. Watch the second version below.
I think that is pretty much it. I know the animation is probably not as well executed as it could be. It is only my second full production in iClone. I'm sure I'll improve. It does achieve the purpose of demonstrating the 3D animation like this can be produced at a relatively low price.
Hopefully it will help to inspire some businesses to give it a try as iClone animations are fun and challenging to put together and gives very satisfying results that is a bit different from the usual animated explainer video.