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The Evolution of Bat Storm - Muvizu to iClone (Part 2)

Bat Storm - Created in Reallusion's Character Creator 3 for iClone7.
Three days before writing this post I had a light bulb moment for how to create my Batman parody character, Bat Storm, in iClone so that he would look almost exactly as I imagined him. There he is right in the main image of this post, in all his 3D toon character style glory.

Along the way I learned a few things about using Reallusion's Character Creator 3 for iClone 7.

Before I get into that I wanted to take a quick recap of the evolution of this character and how long it has taken to get here.

Note: If you're interested, Part 1 to this post is here. It's not required reading and the same article is linked to again later.

In the Beginning


GoAnimate Charge Girl, Super Charge,
Bat Storm, and Bat Flash.
Bat Storm started life in 2010 as a Batman parody on the then named GoAnimate (now Vyond). His design was based purely on what was available in GoAnimate's Comedy World Theme Character Designer.

In their designer there were male and female superhero outfits all featuring the double lightning bolt crest (which I believe represents 'power'). There was no easy way to change the crest so I used it to inspire the name Bat Storm - who is actually a Batman cosplayer tuned wanna be superhero. Obviously he couldn't call himself Batman.

Bat Storm's world was fleshed out on GoAnimate with one complete, four part story, Financial Crisis, and the start of a second, Pain (only one part completed) before GoAnimate pivoted into Explainer Videos and removed the Comedy World Theme.

The First 3D Bat Storm


Evolution of Bat Storm (left to Right)
2010 (original), 2016 (Muvizu), 2015 (iClone 6),
2018 (iClone Character Creator 2),
2019 (iClone Character Creator 3).
2015 Redesigned logo (Bottom left),
2013 Original Meme Flyer (Bottom middle).
In 2015 I first toyed with the idea of creating a version of Bat Storm in iClone 6. I bought an existing Batman character from the Reallusion Marketplace and simply changed the logo on his chest to Bat Storm's revised logo. I did start an animation with this version that was a recreation of Bat Storm's very first GoAnimate trailer but never completed it, and abandoned this version of the character.

Muvizu Version


2016 I bought a Muvizu license. An app that was supposedly easy to use but actually isn't. I really liked the stylized 3D characters in this so I set about making Bat Storm and his key cast.

Muvizu Bat Storm Cast.
To this day I still like the Muvizu designs but animating in Muvizu is just awful. If I could have worked out how to bring those characters into iClone I would have been over the moon. As it was they were stuck in Muvizu and I had no desire to set about animating them. I did however create my own custom Bat Storm Cowl ears which I've used on the latest incarnation.

iClone Version, Second Attempt


Can we really call this a version?
In 2018 I had a copy of Reallusion's Character Creator 2 for iClone 7 and had bought TokoMotion's stylised body morphs that were textured fairly realistically but were at least leaning in the direction of Pixar/Toon style 3D characters. Unfortunately my attempts to create a Bat Storm failed.

I got close to the body shape I had in mind but didn't have the clothing I needed and had no idea where to begin on creating a cowl. Ultimately this version was abandoned too.

Creating Bat Storm 2019


The first public image of Bat Storm 2019.
As mentioned in the final 2019 version I had a light bulb moment of thinking outside the box - or more like outside the wardrobe in this case.

I had purchased Reallusion's Toon Figure bases for Character Creator 3 which have a very stylized, Pixar look to them. I thought these would be the perfect starting point for Bat Storm. However I still had the problem of not having the right clothes for a costume or any idea on how to make a cowl.

Then it hit me... why not just make Bat Storm the same way Muvizu characters are made. They don't have separate 3D clothing models, instead their clothes are part of the body skin textures. After that the characters are made unique by adding accessories like shirt collars, belts, etc.

So that's what I did in Character Creator 3. That's right, 2019 iClone Bat Storm is actually a nude character rig painted grey (like body paint). Which is why the suit has nipples (and a belly button).

One thing I learned how to do, while creating Bat Storm in CC3, is modify the character meshes. I could remove the nipples if I wanted to but, nipples on a Bat suit is a thing, and if there's one character who can carry the nipple look with pride, it's Bat Storm.

The cowl problem was equally solved with inspiration from Muvizu. Again this is just painted directly onto the head skin texture (which means the eyebrows can move with his expressions).

My custom ear model in Silo2.
The ears, as mentioned earlier are the same ears I created for the Muvizu Bat Storm. I discovered CC3 will let you import .FBX 3D models directly (no need for 3DXchange). I just imported the ears, and saved them as a head accessory. Once they were in CC3 I had no trouble positioning them and resizing them to fit the new character scale.

Originally my toon character base had human ears but I shrunk these down to almost being flat and then covered what was still there with the sides of my custom cowl ears.

The complete Bat Storm character rig make up I described on Facebook as follows:

The base character is from Reallusion's Toon Figures pack with some of TokoMotion's body morphs mixed in. Gloves and belt are from the freebie Pirate Women Bonus character Reallusion gave away at some point. Boots are from some knight pack that may have been a freebie, cloak is from the Assassin pack but you can get it separately in the marketplace, bat ears are a custom prop I made in Silo2 a few years back... So it's a real mix with some customizing of textures thrown in.

The only part of this new Bat Storm I'm not completely happy with is the cape which, as noted above, is from the Assassin's pack. The cloth base is not a single piece of fabric but is made to look like several pieces of leather sewn together. It looks quite rough. Not exactly out of place for a cosplayer like Bat Storm but I'd rather it looked more like a single piece of cloth.

That said, it's a vast improvement over the cape used on the very first 3D Bat Storm which was rigid and didn't move like a cape. I also learned how to hide faces in CC3, which I did to hide the collar and front clasp on the cape.

Don't Do Sugar

That's the abridged Bat Storm story to date. I've still to create the rest of his cast, Bat Flash, Super Charge, and Charge Girl, amongst others but I'm very confident they'll be easy now I've cracked the process.

In the meantime, Bat Storm says "Don't do Sugar, kids". As you can imagine this doesn't go down too well at his children's party gigs.

I'm excited to bring you more Bat Storm stories in the near future. Watch this space.

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