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Muvizu Revisted, Silo2 3D Modelling Bat Ears and Bat Storm 2.0

Bat Storm. 
I've reviewed Muvizu before and recommended it to friends as a low cost entry point to 3D, drag'n'drop, animation. It's very much like a simplified version of Reallusion's iClone6 and, at just over AU$50.00 for the full licensed version, which includes commercial use, hard to pass up.

As easy to use as Muvizu is, it can also grow with you as your skills improve. As you get more familiar with the software you'll discover just how customizable everything is.


Making Batman with Muvizu


I recently decided to purchase a Muvizu license and found, among the additional character styles unlocked, some really cool, stylized action superhero characters. Naturally, I decided to make a Batman character... because... Batman!

Turns out you can get pretty close to a good looking, cartoon style Batman with the superhero male character (known as 'Beefy').

A great feature of the 'beefy' character is you can add a cowl of any color just by adjusting a setting in the character properties. Unfortunately the cowl doesn't have bat ears and there's no hat prop featuring ears (or devil horns, which the female hero figure has, that can be colored black to make a good set of bat ears).

Everything else on my Batman figure is stock content, including the spiked gauntlets and cape (no chest bat logo though, which the female figure also has).

Muvizu Community


clayster2012's Bat Cowl.
Muvizu has a thriving community that shares quite a bit of their customizations for free. Not having ears for my Batman I decided to look around to see if anyone had made some.

I didn't find any ears but came up with this amazing custom cowl made by clayster2012. If you want it you can download it for free as part of an entire set of Superheroes clayster has created. Check them out - there's even Hawkman with full wings!

Clayster2012's cowl looks amazing but you'll notice in the image above that, as soon as the character turns his head, part of the cowl's shoulder disappears into the character's actual shoulder.

The cowl also limits the type of jawline you can select for your character. I really wanted the exaggerated dimpled chin, which is too big for this cowl.

Creating 3D Bat Ears in Silo2


Rather than settling on a cowl I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to make my very first 3D model using Silo2 - a program I spent ages trying to learn and have yet to make anything with.

Turns out, I'd forgotten almost everything I learnt about using Silo2 so I had to watch a few videos to get me back up to speed with the basics. My idea was to just create a set of batman ears that could be used on any character. Kind of like those old Mickey Mouse ear hats.

You can see in the image below what I came up with. It's pretty simple but does the job. They're also generic enough that you could use them as devil horns if you wanted too.

Batman ears in Silo2.

File Conversion with 3DXchange


Silo2 cannot export models in the .fbx format required for Muvizu. To bridge the gap I loaded the .obj scene file into Reallusion's 3DXchange software. 3DXchange is generally used to import/export models to or from iClone but it is  also handy as a general conversion tool as well.

Batman ears in 3DXchange.
Once my bat ears were in 3DXchange I could size them, adjust the orientation, coloring and make my surfaces two sided as well (if you don't do that last one your model will look transparent when viewed from behind the exterior faces).

Bringing the Model into Muvizu


The next step is to export the model as a .fbx file and bring it into Muvizu. This involves selecting the character you want to wear the model. Then going into the character edit panel and, in my case, selecting the hat option.

You can see in the image below, the second option in the panel on the left, of a wire frame cube with an arrow, that you select to load your model. Automatically attaching it to the head.

The bat ears in place in Muvizu.
From there you use the model's properties palette (shown on the right in the image above) to properly position and size it, as well as matching it to your color scheme.

As you can see, by using the character's built in cowl, I've been able to give the character the square jawed, dimple chin I wanted and I don't have to deal with those awkward shoulders of the custom cowl.

Bat Storm 2.0


Having been inspired by my success with the bat ears I thought I'd keep going and create the main cast of my old GoAnimate Bat Storm series. Bat Storm is a Batman v Superman parody that I created back in 2010. All it took was a little bit of work in Muvizu's character editors and a few custom chest logo decals - that are a breeze to add simply by importing them as .png files.

You can see the results of Bat Storm 2.0 below. I think Muvizu may just be the ideal platform for a whole new Bat Storm story.

Bat Storm, Bat Flash, Charge Girl and Super Charge.



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