Archive for the 'iClone Tip of the Day' Category


Converging G3 Heads with G2 Bodies

This valuable tip will allow you to have the best of both worlds, G2 body styles with Head Morphing capabilites

This valuable tip will allow you to have the best of both worlds, G2 body styles with Head Morphing capabilites

Hello iCloners of the world, today’s tip reveals a character combination tip that most of you out there probably haven’t stumbled upon yet. If your like me, when you are playing around with characters in iClone 3.0 you are more than likely using a new G3 avatar to do so. But, did you know that you can replace a G2 character head with a G3 head and then something very cool happens, you now have an G2 body style that has a head that is open to the new Head Morphing features, where G2 heads are not. So, if you want to use a G2 Natural Human Base but also wish to use the new Head Morphing options, simply switch out the head for any G3 template. To do this follow the simple steps below…

  • Click the Actor tab
  • Select the Avatar button
  • Load a G2 avatar into the scene (G2 Xor Natural Human Base is used in this example, notice that the “Head” option in the Facial Feature section is grayed out and not currently functional)
  • Go to the Head tab
  • Click the Faces button
  • Load a G3 template head (G3 Trey face is used in this example, notice that the Head Morphing options are now available to the character)
  • Choose a new Head style for your character
  • Use the Weight slider to adjust the style
  • Again click the Actor tab
  • Begin using the Bone Scaling options to customize the G2 body proportion

This is the kind of tip you won’t hear anywhere else because it is a little known fact regarding the character creation process in iClone 3.0. But, by executing this process you gain the best of both the G3 and G2 worlds. Being able to customize the character from head to toe regardless of avatar generation is great because it extends your iClone 3.0 content dramatically and opens up countless avenues for character stylization. And if you want the texture from your G2 head models simply load it using the fitting tools in iClone 3.0, it’s that easy. Below is a high-speed video showcasing this technique to make a new “Strong-Man” type avatar. Hope this helps you out next time you are developing actors for your iClone animations.


Drag and Drop Forests in iClone 3.0

Did you know that creating a Forest in iClone is as easy as Dragging and Dropping it into the scene?

Did you know that creating a Forest in iClone is as easy as Dragging and Dropping it into the scene?

Today’s tip is one that the Arbor Day Foundation could really wrap their arms around, get it…tree-huggers! It focuses on using the Drag and Drop features to create a Forest in super fast fashion. There were trees you could access in previous versions of iClone, sure, but the new trees offered can be animated and edited but they can also be placed in your scene simply based on where you Drag and Drop them from your folder. It’s a innovative and new way to populate your scenes with the speed that every 3D animator / Machinimator wants when in the throws of production. To begin to the Drag and Drop Forests process follow the quick-guide below…

  • Go to the Set tab
  • Click the Terrain button
  • Load the Hill or Field terrain model
  • Click the Tree tab
  • Select the Template folder
  • Begin to Drag and Drop trees into the scene
  • Place the trees at different points in the project
  • Adjust the Wind Strength slider to customize the tree animation
  • Choose different tree models to create variety in your forest
  • Click the Grass button
  • Paint in grass for added detail
  • Click the Sky button
  • Double click a Sky template to round off the scene
  • Click Play to review your forest

For most 3D animation software trees can be the largest resource hogs in the world, bogging down machines with insane poly-counts to the point that it becomes a bad idea to even attempt to shoot forest scenes or deep wood shots. But this is a thing of the past for iClone 3.0 trees can be placed and edited fast and easy and best of all they won’t kill your machine in the process. Not to mention that creating an entire forest terrain has never been faster or easier to accomplish. Below is a high-speed video showing just how fast you too can find yourself lost in the wild. Enjoy.


Customizing UV iProp Bases

Use images to customize UV iProp Bases and create a variety of animated surface assets

Use images to customize UV iProp Bases and create a variety of animated surface assets

Today’s tip will make you want to break out the polyester, buff out the platforms and crank up the Bee Gees. What would make me bust out the Bee Gees, you ask? Customizing UV iProp Bases in iClone 3.0, that’s what. There are a number of cool effects that you can create using the new UV iProp Base templates, but one of my personal favorites is an animated disco floor that would even make Travolta twinkle his toes! This is basically a texture editing process with tons of power on the animation end of things and to edit these UV iProp Bases follow the steps below…or watch the Super Funky High Speed video version below.

  • Go to Set
  • Click the Props button
  • Choose the Template folder
  • Open the UV iProp Bases folder
  • Choose the UV 03 template
  • Click Play to review the template animation
  • In the Modify panel click on the Diffuse map
  • Click the Open icon to import an image to the UV iProp Base
  • Select a Custom Image and open
  • Scroll down in the Modify panel and slide the Self Illumination slider to 100%
  • Scroll up and click the Glow map
  • Click the Open icon to import a Glow image to the UV iProp Base
  • Select the same Custom Image and open
  • Locate the Strength slider and slide it down until the desired effect is achieved
  • Save your new custom UV iProp Base

These new UV iProp Bases make many cool effects possible, from this supa-fly disco floor, to repeating road or street images that allow users to fake ground movement. Get creative….get Funky….these bases can turn into all kinds of things that can take your scene from flat to fresh. Below, as always, is the high speed method video, however, today I suggest you warm up the lava lamp for the example of this technique in action at the end of the clip. You hardcore Tekken fans out there may recognize this little attempt at a Machinima-Mini. Get down with the boogie…try to shake it around!


Deep Water Effects in iClone 3.0

Use Particles, Fog and Flex Props to create awsome deep water effects

Use Particles, Fog and Flex Props to create awsome deep water effects

Avast Ye iCloners, today ye be sinkin down to the crushing deep of Davie Jones locker to unlock the wonders at the bottom of the world. Which is to say, today’s tip focuses on Deep Water Effects, using Particles and Fog. iClone has had impressive image based particles since version 2.5, however, there are now new particles that are meant to be used with the new Water templates or used like I do in this case with a solid blue skydome. This gives that really submersive effect and ensures your camera always appears to be in deep, deep water. To create these Deep Water Effects follow the simple steps below…

  • Place a solid Blue Skydome into your scene
  • Click the Set tab
  • Select the Particle button
  • Locate and open the Water Ripple folder
  • Scroll down and double click Deep Water 01 or 02 (your choice)
  • Click Play to review
  • Scroll up and double click the Bubbles 01template
  • Set the X,Y and Z emit values to 500 each in the Modify panel
  • Set the Random Direction to 200 to scatter the particle bubbles
  • Click Play to review
  • Select the Stage tab
  • Click the Fog button
  • Double click the Mid Blue fog, check the checkbox and be sure to turn on Pixel Shader
  • Add in Flex Props to populate the sea floor from the Props-Template-Flex Props folder

When these effects are combined with Lighting, Custom Lens values and Depth of Field, a truly remarkable deep water shot can be achieved. Add a camera to your scene and then play around with the angles, Lens and DOF settings. To showcase this beautiful bundle of effects you can go walk the plank…or watch the high speed video below to see the method in action. Now back to animatin’ ye swabs or it’s 43 lashes before ye bedtime. Yarrr!


Creating Anime Characters with iClone 3.0

Kane to Anime style character using Head Morphing and Bone Scaling

Kane to Anime style character using Head Morphing and Bone Scaling

Today’s tip is for the Manga fans out there, those of us who still search for that copy of Fist of the North Star, or watch Ninja Scroll to go to sleep sometimes, now iClone 3.0 can fulfill your Anime ambitions. With iClone 3.0, there are two new main features that make Creating Anime Characters possible, the first is the new Head Morph options for designing new head styles and the avatar Bone Scale abilities. When used together, these features make Dragonball Z type characters quick and easy to create complete with that traditional “large eyes, big muscles, even bigger hair” look totally possible. To create this type of chacracter use the Kane G3 default model and follow these steps

(high-speed Video of these steps below)

  • Go to the Actor tab
  • Click the Avatar button
  • Select the Kane default actor from the Template folder
  • Go to the Head tab
  • Click the Faces button
  • Select the Trey head from the Template folder
  • Go to the Actor tab again
  • Click the Hair button
  • Locate and click Remove from the Modify Panel
  • Again click the Head tab
  • Again in the Faces menu, locate and click the Head option in the Facial Feature portion of the Modify panel
  • Choose the Anime option
  • Adjust the Weight slider to suit the character
  • Click the Eyes button
  • Choose and Edit an eye template to suit your character
  • Click the Teeth button
  • Choose and Edit a teeth template for your character
  • Again click the Faces button and edit each Facial Feature
  • Add a Hair Style
  • Edit the Bone Scale to fit the character
  • Edit the upper and lower body texture to change the overall look of the clothes

Editing the Bone Scale in the Avatar menu, Modify panel will allow users to create any different proportion for each and every character. Go from huge, muscle-bound to skinny and frail with this feature. Access each area with the avatar dummy and use the sliders for Width, Length and Depth to edit these areas. Below is a super fast video showing this entire process in a little over one minute. This is a bit of a longer process, so the video has been speed up to show it from beginning to end, if there are any questions please feel free to let me know. Thanks and enjoy!


Digital Dentistry in iClone 3.0

Today’s tip focuses on something that most people try to avoid like the plague, the dentist, but not to worry, this is Digital Dentistry with iClone 3.0. Most iCloners know very well the default teeth templates provided for avatars in previous versions of iClone. There were many to choose from, but if you weren’t looking for a perfect or missing, or gold, or nasty, or braced set of teeth…then you were out of luck. But no more, now a feature new to iClone 3.0 is the ability to launch and edit the teeth Diffuse and Opacity Maps. So, now you can create whatever you like and then even further edit the Width, Height and placement. Not to mention Brightness, Contrast, Hue and Saturation levels as well. To edit a character teeth template follow these steps.

  • Add an avatar to the scene
  • Click on the Head tab
  • Select the Teeth button
  • Choose a teeth template to edit
  • Locate and click on the Diffuse map image to edit
  • Click the Launch button
  • Edit the .jpg image
  • Save the .jpg over the default temporary file
  • Return to iClone and click the Update button
  • Repeat process for Opacity map

For creating custom teeth this is the fastest and easiest way to go about it, no modeling involved, only image editing. If you can paint in Photoshop, then you can edit teeth in iClone. I have provided a video example below showing one of my favorite comic characters, the Goon created by Eric Powel, this character has a very distinctive set of teeth fans would recognize, and I create a perfect match inside of 2 minutes quickly and painlessly with iClone 3.0. Congratulations, you just got a new dental plan! Enjoy!


Animating with Vehicle Helpers in Director Mode

Did you know that iClone 3.0 has helper tools that will allow you to link any car, plane, or even helicopter model and then animate its movement in Director Mode. Today’s tip focuses on just that, using Vehicle Helpers to quickly set up vehicle models for fast and easy animation. Using Director Mode also gives iClone 3.0 users the ability to Play-to-Create, meaning you will be able to use the arrow keys to fly or move your models forward, backward, left and right, all this animation is recorded for further editing or for going straight to output. This is a dream for Machinimators that love the game play aspect of film-making and story-telling, because you can set up your shot and then really fly or drive from one point in the scene to the other. To accomplish this with a jet or plane prop for example follow these steps.

  • Click the Set tab
  • Select the Props button
  • Locate and click the Vehicle Helper folder
  • Drag and Drop the Plane helper into the scene
  • Choose a plane model to animate (Google 3D Warehouse has tons for free, convert with 3DX)
  • Right Click the plane model and select Link
  • Click Link To
  • Click the Plane helper in the scene (A bounding box should flash indicating the link)
  • Locate and select the Link to Sub Node box (indicated by a [...] icon)
  • Check on Align Position to Parent
  • Select the Plane helper again and hide it by clicking Visibility Off
  • Click Director Mode switch out of Editor Mode
  • Place your camera angle
  • Strike space bar to begin recording
  • Use the Arrows to begin flying your model

Director Mode is a very deep and complex part of iClone 3.0 and this is only scratching the surface of what is capable of being produced using this new feature mode. However, this is a quick and easy way to begin becoming familiar with the new tool and animate vehicles with ease. Once you try it you will see just how much fun it can be. Below is a video showing this method using a Jet model from 3D Warehouse and a simple sky-dome. Enjoy.


Key-framing the Camera Lens in iClone 3.0

Today’s tip focuses on the new Camera Lens Animation abilities enabled for every custom camera in iClone 3.0. In previous versions of iClone, you may have noticed the 6 default camera lens MM settings and the slider that allowed you to change between the defaults, in iClone 3.0 you have the same menu options. However, now the software will place key-frames each and every time you make a lens change to a custom camera. These key-frames can of course, then be edited via the timeline. This is awesome for the Machinimators and more traditional 3D filmmakers out there because now when used along with camera animation, the Camera Lens Animation now makes real-time rack focus shot possible. To create a Camera Lens key-frame follow these steps.

  • Click the Stage tab
  • Select the Camera button
  • Locate and click the Add button form the Modify panel
  • Place your camera angle
  • Choose a default Camera Lens MM (for a more dramatic effect choose a high or low setting)
  • Move forward in time in your project
  • Use the Zoom, Orbit and Pan tools to place the camera in a new position
  • Choose a different default Camera Lens
  • Click Play to review the Camera Lens Animation

Below is a quick video example of this technique, this method is simple to execute and visually epic when used properly. It really is as simple as choosing a camera angle and lens for any given shot. This works best for animated cameras or follow cameras that are attached to a moving object. Use a bit of discipline with this tip and your sure to improve the overall professional look of your cameras.


Quick-guide to Animating Spotlights

Hello iCloners out there in the dark, today’s tip sheds light on the new Spotlights included in iClone 3.0. Activating and editing these spotlights can take a mediocre scene to a work of art with the proper lighting situation. As always there are directional lights included in your scene, but now Spotlights can be turned on and animated to make 100% sure you have the area of the project you want to shoot lit from the proper angles. To activate and animate Spotlights follow the following steps.

  • Place an Actor or Object into the scene
  • Click the Stage tab
  • Select the Light button
  • In the Modify panel locate and check on the Spotlight bullet
  • Use the Move tool to position the light on the subject
  • Edit the Range, Angle and Fall Off sliders to customize the light settings
  • Place the light where you wish its animation to begin using the Move tool again
  • Move forward in time in your project and then again position the Spotlight on the subject
  • Click Play to review your new Spotlight animation

After animating your Spotlight you can adjust the key-frame settings via the timeline. Whether it’s to match a pre-lit 2D background images shadows or simply to perfect a shot, you will be thoroughly impressed by this new feature. You can direct light up-stairs, through windows, down from above, anywhere you wish with the brand new lighting system in iClone 3.0. Now let there be light, animated light. Below is a video example of this method, please feel free to check it out for reference.


Linking Props in light-speed with iClone 3.0

Today’s tip shows how fast users can select and link props to any actor or object in iClone 3.0. The new linking system is so fast in fact you can attach a prop to a specific node of an avatar in under 30 seconds. The process is super easy to do with very little placement cleaning required once you’ve chosen where your prop will reside. To do this just follow these simple steps to place an actor in scene and then attach a prop from the library to it.

  • Go to the Actor tab
  • Click the Avatar button
  • Choose a character
  • Select the Set tab
  • Click the Props button
  • Drag and drop a prop into the scene you wish to link
  • Right Click the prop to activate the shader menu
  • Click the Link option
  • Select Link To
  • Click the area of the avatar you wish to link the prop to (e.g. apple to hand)
  • Locate and click the Link to Sub Node button (indicated by a [...] icon)
  • Check on the Align Position to Parent check box
  • Refine placement if needed

I know that seems like a lot of steps for a quick and easy solution which is why I have provided a video below showcasing a quick example of this process where I link an apple prop to the Violet avatar, then apply motion animation to show how the prop retains its placement. This is very easy and a very cool way to quickly give your avatars the assets they need to animate.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.