Flex Props demystified in iClone 3.O

Flex Props added as a tassel and Shogun banner to enhance Samurai Avatar

Flex Props added as a tassel and Shogun banner to enhance Samurai Avatar

Hello iCloners, as hurricane season in South Florida gets into full swing, I sit here and watch the palm leaves and and Gator flags blow around in the wind and can’t help but to think of Flex Props. Today’s tip involves the new Flex Props offered in iClone 3.0 and the benefits of utilizing them into your next production. Here’s the deal, Flex Bases and Flex Props are one in the same, the default props that you have in your iClone folders have only 3 things different about them, 1) they are already textured with a Diffuse Map 2) they already have an Opacity map defining the shape of the prop, and 3) they have Flex Settings already edited to fit the way they should react based on Wind, Gravity, Frequency, Velocity and Stiffness settings. But the biggest benefit outside of the obvious customization of the Bases themselves, is that they also react to a characters or linked objects motion animation. So, they can be made into a deep variety of things, for example, a wind sock that blows in the wind according to exactly how you would like it to, or in my case how any number of tropical storms I would like it to. Or a tail of a monkey that needs to swing and display secondary animation, a tassel attached to a graduation cap thrown in the air, whatever you like, chances are Flex Bases and Flex Props are going accompany the object animation very well. To apply, edit and link a Flex Base follow the steps below or check out the high speed video example.

  • Go to the Set Tab
  • Click the Props button
  • Select the Template folder
  • Choose the Flex Base folder to load a editable Flex Base model into the scene
  • Double Click the Flex Base you wish to edit (for this example I use a FlagUDLine and Tube Base)
  • In the Modify panel activate the Diffuse Map
  • Click the Open button
  • Load a Custom Image
  • Right Click the Flex Prop and choose Link – Link To
  • Select the area you wish to link the Flex Prop to (notice the bounding box flash to indicate the link was successful)
  • Locate and click the Link to Sub Node icon
  • Select the Node you wish to link to
  • Check on Align Position to parent
  • Use the Rotate and Move tools to position the Flex Prop properly in relation to the parent object
  • Click the Flex Settings button in the Modify panel
  • Edit the setting values until you are happy with the desired effect
  • Click the Close button to remove the menu
  • Animate the character or object
  • Notice that the Flex Prop will animate and react to the motion creating secondary animation

Flex Props and Flex Bases are great additional objects to place in a scene to enhance the realistic factors of your animation. Don’t believe me? Well, take a look around and you’ll notice flex props everywhere, the curtains on your windows, the towel on the towel rack that just barely sways when the shower is on. Outside in the world you will find even more, clothes on a clothesline, or event banners on street lights, they are everywhere and should be everywhere in your next production. Plus, the fact that you can now create secondary animation for objects by adding Flex Props to everything from pink tentacles to ponytails is crazy cool. They can be added to characters or elements to create a more effective overall look to your future Machinima features, plain and simple. Below is a video example of how to edit Flex Bases and a showcase displaying 2 different examples of these props in action. Enjoy!


2 Responses to “Flex Props demystified in iClone 3.O”

  1. September 7, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Great tutorial, James. Quick question: can you apply flexi-props to an object you’ve imported from the Google warehouse, make the flexi-prop invisible and still get the animation?

  2. September 7, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Hey Ricky,

    That’s a very interesting question, but I think the answer would be no. I hope to see Reallusion expand the Flex Base choices to say the size of the 3D Block library, if it were to grow to that size I think pretty much all shapes and options would be covered. Which, in turn would open the door to countless design choices and may eliminate the need for a work around such as you are inquiring about. But you bring up an interesting concept that I will pass on to the ears of the engineers for sure. Kudos Mr. Grove, way to stay outside the box my friend! And always nice to hear from the land of fruits and nuts.

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