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The Yarnhub Team Talks Using Reallusion's iClone & Character Creator to Set Up Historic Animations

Yarnhub Animation Studios has told us about the advantages of Reallusion's iClone and Character Creator, shared their character art workflow, and discussed the animation pipeline.


Yarnhub Animation Studios Inc. is a rapidly growing animation studio founded in May 2019. We create films dedicated to outstanding people and exciting stories from their lives, set against significant historical events. Our main YouTube channel, Yarnhub, was founded in June 2019.

Each video is produced from scratch, including idea generation, scriptwriting, character and object creation, animation, voice acting, and sound design. The head of the company is also the voiceover artist.

Producing a new film each week is a challenging process involving multiple stages, such as storyboarding, character design, animation, sound design, and post-production. Time management is a significant challenge, requiring us to balance creative demands with production schedules. Consistency and quality across projects are also crucial, maintaining a consistent style and tone. Staying updated with new technologies and industry trends is essential for our competitiveness.

Discovering Reallusion's Tools

When we decided to produce 3D animation, we researched software and found Reallusion's iClone and Character Creator. In early 2020, we created our first 3D movie using these tools.

iClone and Character Creator offer a highly functional combination with built-in rigging and flexible character editing. They provide advantages like easy switching between FK and IK, intuitive controllers and bindings, presets, and the ability to add animation from mocap recordings.

Overall, iClone and Character Creator are powerful tools that enhance 3D character creation and animation. They offer a smooth workflow and allow for complex animations with ease, saving time compared to other software. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced animator, these tools help create high-quality character animations efficiently.

Character Creation Pipeline

At our production studio, we use a standard model as the base for our characters. However, we use morphs to customize their faces and create unique looks. To achieve greater detail, we often utilize GoZ, which enables us to work with greater precision.

When it comes to clothing, we use third-party programs to create the apparel, and then we incorporate it onto the character using the Character Creator. To make the characters more expressive, we've been utilizing the Dynamic Wrinkles feature extensively.

The process of creating a character for an episode typically takes anywhere from 4 to 10 days, depending on the complexity of the task at hand. Despite the time and effort involved, we find that the result is always worth it.

Motion Capture

We record our mocap sessions using the Rokoko Smartsuit Pro II and Smartgloves in Rokoko Studio or directly in iClone 8 using the Rokoko Profile for Motion LIVE plug-in. Once the animation is captured, it’s cleaned up in iClone 8 with the Smooth Motion Clip tool and the keys are manually adjusted in the Curve Editor.

The cleaning process can take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day, depending on the complexity of the scene and the number of animations. However, this process is crucial in ensuring the final animation looks as realistic and seamless as possible.

Using the Smooth Motion Clip tool in iClone 8 helps to automatically remove any unwanted noise or jitter from the captured animation, resulting in a smoother motion. However, manual adjustments are still required in the Curve Editor to fine-tune the animation and ensure it looks natural.

Overall, the combination of the Rokoko mocap suit and iClone 8 allows to capture and clean up complex animations with relative ease, saving time and effort while producing high-quality results.

The Animation Workflow

Our production process involves collaboration between the character artist and animator. The Character Artist uses Character Creator and ZBrush to create a model, which is then passed on to the animator. The animator takes the model and builds a scene that includes interactions between objects, characters, or a single animation.

The animation process begins with the creation of key poses. Once the key poses are in place, intermediate and auxiliary poses are added to bring the animation to life. To ensure that the movements appear organic, the animator creates offsets for different body parts.

After the basic animation is complete, we use advanced tools such as the Curve Editor, Expression, and Viseme to add more detail and refinement. The Curve Editor is particularly useful, as it allows to edit nearly any bone along any axis with a variety of interpolation options.

By utilizing these tools and techniques, we are able to create animations that are not only visually stunning but also highly expressive and detailed.

Recording multi-character animations in Unreal Sequencer involves a number of steps, and the Time Code Sync feature is a key tool that is used to ensure that everything stays synchronized.

First, we set up the scene with all of the characters and objects that will be included in the animation. Once the scene is set up, we can use the Sequencer to record the animation in real-time.

During the recording process, the Time Code Sync feature enables us to keep track of the exact timing and positioning of each character and object. This ensures that all of the movements and interactions are perfectly synchronized, even when dealing with multiple characters.

The advantage of using Time Code Sync is that it eliminates the need for manual adjustments to be made later in the process, which can be time-consuming and lead to errors. Instead, the feature automatically handles the synchronization of all elements, freeing us up to focus on creating the best possible animation.

Additionally, we also utilize Data Link to transfer mesh data from Unreal Engine into iClone 8 for setting up keyframe animations and interactions between the character and the environment.

Overall, Time Code Sync is an incredibly valuable tool that helps us to create complex, multi-character animations with precision and efficiency.

Utilizing the Live Link Plug-in

We use Live Link to facilitate the animation of character interactions with objects or other characters, while ensuring that all relationships are maintained within the Unreal Engine. This tool allows streaming real-time animation data directly from third-party software, such as Maya or MotionBuilder, into Unreal Engine.

With Live Link, we can preview and edit our animations in real-time, enabling us to make adjustments on the fly and ultimately saving a significant amount of time during the production process. We can easily make changes to the animation and immediately see how it affects the scene as a whole.

Live Link is an incredibly useful tool that helps to create animations with precision and efficiency. By utilizing this technology, we are able to achieve high-quality character interactions that are seamlessly integrated into our projects.

The Yarnhub Team

Interview conducted by Theodore McKenzie

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