Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Kai DeNeve, Developer Marketing Manager of Reallusion, spoke with us at SIGGRAPH about Reallusion’s products and real-time animation tool iClone. He also gives us insight into his view of the evolution of motion capture.
Essentially we have real-time 2D and 3D animation tools. On the 2D side we have CrazyTalk and CrazyTalk Animator, which are facial and full-body 2D animation tools respectively. On the 3D side, which we are demoing here, we have iClone.
iClone is a real-time animation tool that has a ton of intuitive and useful motion tools for people on a budget. It’s much cheaper than alternatives out there. For example, our basic version of iClone sells for $99. It’s a universal motion creation tool where you can also create your own scenes.
We automatic lip-sync, and facial expression puppeteering that allows you to use simple mouse movements to puppet and blend together different expressions in real-time. We also have more advanced keyframe animation tools as well.
When you buy iClone you get a library of 600 royalty-free motions, including all the motion tools as well. So it’s a huge plus for game designers.
Our product was created for indie studios or studios on a lower budget. It’s kind of an anomaly but we recently found out that one of the previz artists for Game of Thrones uses our software for scene creation, for quick and dirty animation.
The key thing for an indie game developer is that you can import and export all of your content into our software really easily. For example, many people create motions in iClone using the motion capture as well as our variety of motion tools, which are really quick and easy to use.
Also, a lot of indie game designers are using iClone for Kickstarter trailers. You can create high-quality trailers in a short period of time. That’s what a lot of people are using them for, pitching their games and creating in-game cutscenes including loopable animations for the characters and objects in your game as well.
Also, for photorealistic rendering if you’re doing architecture or something like that or you want some nice visuals for a Kickstarter to advertise your games, we have Indigo Render Plug-in, that’s for photorealistic ray tracing.
Our price point is a lot lower than other software such as 3ds Max or Maya, you can easily get into the thousands there. Our software is priced at $99 for the standard version, $199 for the iClone Pro Animation Suite which is really all you need for the animation.
3DXchange is our conversion software. It really depends what you want to do as far as importing and exporting. It’s mostly for game designers or movie producers who wish to export their animations and scenes to external software.
We have large film studios using iClone, but it’s mostly for previsualization before they send in the troop of hardcore artists to do all the animation. Also for pitching a movie, you get the animation done quickly beforehand. It’s about efficiency, speed, and price points.
There was one movie called Plato’s Reality Machine, it’s a feature film that combines the use of real video footage with iClone animations. iClone was also used for rendering as well.
SpeedTree is implemented into iClone 6. There’s a content pack that we’re selling that has somewhere around 2,000 trees in it. I’ve downloaded it into my computer and I haven’t even been able to look at half of them because there’s just so many trees [laughs]. It has anything from a cactus to a big huge broadleaf and we have wind physics as well.
We’re launching a character creator at the end of this month. It’s similar to Mixamo’s Fuse, where you’re creating your own characters and modify each individual body part. It uses Substance Designer for the character’s skin and clothing. Normal Maps to create wrinkles and things like that. You can literally customize every part of the character’s body.
We also have our own marketplace, where you can buy and sell your own motions and character models. We’ve opened it about four years now and it’s become quite large. We have a very significant developer base, a lot of them are from Unity.
Motion Capture Technology
It’s insane how much it advanced. I think my first SIGGRAPH was in 2011 and just in the last four or five years how motion capture has become more affordable and accessible for everyone is amazing.
It’s all going into real-time obviously. Everyone’s doing it. You can interact with physics objects and record it. Using your motion capture suits you can kick a soccer ball, bounce it off your head, and it’s being recorded in real-time.
There’s a lot of old school traditional animators that want to get the certain effect they want. I mean even with the best motion capture sometimes you want to modify it so you use keyframe animation to do that. But yeah, motion capture is the future.