Skip to main content

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.

The finished video is below.



Example of the default
'Curvey' body type.

Character Design

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.

Script

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.

In the end I made her walk along a plank just above the letters because, apart from being easier to animate, I felt she was at real risk of tripping if she tried to walk on the letters and talk to camera at the same time.

It was also Commedus' idea to have the character slide down a pole to reveal the 3D title. Turns out that sequence was the hardest to animate as every little movement had to be key framed from scratch.

Creating the Set

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.

By the time it came to designing my set I had a fairly good idea of what props and backgrounds I had and pretty much constructed the main set in half a day. Interesting to note, in the video you can see a studio camera in the wide shot towards the right of screen. This camera can actually be used as one of your cameras in the scene i.e. you can switch to what that camera is pointed at. I didn't in this video but it could be very useful for recreating an actual studio set in iClone.

Original backdrop image used with
permission, Parkside Mediahouse.
Originally I wanted my set to look like a film studio but didn't have the right backdrop. I found an image online and emailed the company, Parkside Mediahouse, for permission to use it.

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).

Typically, just as I finished the video, Parkside Mediahouse got back to me saying I could use their image so long as I included a credit and link to their site. So I decided to create a second version of the video with the original background. You can see this below at the end of this post.

Storyboard

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.

Animating

Key framing the pole slide dismount.
As mentioned previously some scenes were key framed and animated from scratch. Mainly the sliding down the pole action. Everything else was a combination of pre-animated motions modified slightly to fit the scene or direct puppeting.

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.
Most of the facial movements were direct puppeted too as ToonMaker characters aren't compatible with the iClone character facial expression system, though fortunately they are compatible with the auto lipsyncing feature. To animate the facial expression on ToonMaker characters you use the Avatar Controller Plug in which animates entire expressions or just single face components.

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Featured Animator: Christian Haynes - 'Zack In Time' An Original, Independent, Animated Series on the Rise

Christian Haynes - Zack In Time.  If you've ever wanted to create an animated TV series staring your own original characters and stories then Los Angeles based writer, director, and animator, Christian Haynes is taking those next steps of putting together a team, developing a pitch/trailer for their series, Zack In Time. Featuring professional studio quality animation, they hope the show will get picked up by an animation studio for an official series. The path he and his team are taking is one you could easily follow as they deal with real life commitments, and building a following on Instagram and Tik-Tok showcasing their work behind the scenes. TET: Tell me a little about yourself. Who you are, and why you started animating? My name is Christian Haynes and I've loved animation ever since I was a kid. I would constantly be drawing cartoon characters from TV shows and movies and making my own little homemade comic strips.  As I got older, I became a lot more interested in st

Reallusion Releases Cartoon Animator 5 - One Version, More Features, Lower Price!

If you're serious about producing 2D animation as quickly as possible, while still achieving professional results, Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 5 makes the most compelling case yet as your animation studio/tool of choice. Cartoon Animator's point of difference has always been its ease of use and accelerated workflow. Creating fast, 2D animation using puppet, bone rigged based characters and props, on a stage with 3D depth for easy scene parallax effects. As it has developed Reallusion has incorporated more advanced features like motion capture for both face and body as well as being able to export scenes to post production tools like After Effects with the addition of plugins. After moving away from Flash based vector image support for a few years, Reallusion is back with full .SVG (scalable vector graphics) support for resolution independent graphics. They've also added Spring Dynamic physics and Full Form Deformation tools, both of which make it ridiculously easy t

Shotcut - Free Open Source Video Editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Shotcut Open Source Video Editor. I've been on the hunt for a while now for the best, free, open source, video editing application out there. In Shotcut , by Meltytech , which has versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux, I think I may have found a real front runner. This won't be a feature filled review, rather it will be my first impressions after having used Shotcut on a few of my YouTube videos so far. One of my key criteria for a video editor is the ability to import any video format directly into the project. This may seem like an odd focus initially but having convert video to something your video editor can use is annoyingly time consuming, and it creates a new generation of footage, potentially with a loss in quality if you don't really know much about video format specs (that's this guy right here!). Shotcut will happily work with my OBS recordings (.FLV), and .MOV, .MP4 files that I get from two different cameras. Not only that but Shotcut doesn't hold me up

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

July 1992 Edition, CU Amiga Featuring Amy the Squirrel. 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,

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Review: Headshot Plugin for Reallusion's Character Creator 3

Headshot for CC3. Quite possibly the best 3D Avatar I've made of myself in any 3D application. Creating a realistic 3D human avatar is a whole lot easier with Reallusion's new Headshot Plugin for Character Creator 3. The plugin is an AI powered extension that can generate 3D digital humans from one photo. Which sounds like an amazing proposition but, in practice, if you're trying to achieve a specific likeness to an actual person, Headshot will give you an excellent base to work from. Headshot has two modes, Auto and Pro. Auto Mode Auto is well worth a try if you have an ideal photo of a front facing person that is properly lit and posed to Headshot's optimum requirements. It's also the only mode that will take a crack at generating a hair model. I grabbed an image of Harrison Ford, dragged it into Headshot without changing any of the default settings (other than specifying 'male' and selecting an 'old male' setting) and this is what I

TimeBolt: Fast Video Editing for Anyone Creating Online Courses, Podcasts, or Vlogs.

I resisted making tutorial videos for a long time because I don't like editing. Specifically I don't like editing me teaching as I step students through a process during a screen record. I have a tendency to insert long pauses not just in the middle of sentences but between multiple words in the middle of sentences as my pace matches what I'm doing onscreen. This makes for very long and very slow paced video tutorials. To counteract this I have to edit out all the pauses. This can take hours, or even days on particularly long tutorials. For example, when I created my main course, The Lazy Animator Beginner's Guide to Cartoon Animator , I literally injured the thumb on my right hand, operating my mouse, as I spent weeks taking out all my pauses (seriously, I had to wear a thumb brace for a few weeks to fix the pain). Recently I came across TimeBolt , a very affordable, fast editing application with the featured purpose of removing all the pauses from your video (and even