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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.

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