13
Sep
08

The Image Layer and why you’re not using it yet in iClone 3.0

Tie Fighter cockpit created using the new Image Layer option in iClone 3.0

Tie Fighter cockpit created using the new Image Layer option in iClone 3.0

Hello iCloners, today’s tip unveils the true power of the new Image Layer feature in iClone 3.0. This is exactly what it sounds like it is, it’s a Image Layer that is now available to users who wish to add something in front of the camera to create a 1st person feel to their shot. For example, Reallusion provides 4 preset Image Layers that can be applied by default, they include the dashboard of a car, the cockpit of a jet, the scope of a gun, and a TV set. These are a good variety of examples of what the Image Layer can provide to your shot, however, with the right Image Layer you can unlock the door to a whole scene that otherwise just would not be as visually effective. For this example I have revised Reallusions cockpit idea to one that is a little more my speed, that is the cockpit of a Tie Fighter from Star Wars. Image Layers are super easy to create and take almost no time to set up the two image files needed to customize and save your own layer. A Diffuse Map and an Opacity Map are all you need and this can be the make-or-break effect that pushes your audiences sense of disbelief exactly where you want it to go. To master this technique follow the steps below or watch the high speed showcase video.

  • Go to the Stage Tab
  • Click the Camera button
  • In the Modify Panel locate and click the Add button
  • Click the Image Layer button
  • Open Photoshop (or other image editor of your choice)
  • Open an image you want to convert to an Image Layer, for this example I am using a screen shot of a Tie Fighter cockpit
  • Name and Save in the JPG format for use as the Diffuse Map
  • Use the same image and create a Opacity Map based on where you would like the image to be transparent
  • Name and Save in the JPG format for use as the Opacity Map
  • Return to iClone
  • Click the Diffuse Map to make it active in the Modify Panel
  • Click the Open button
  • Navigate to the Diffuse image
  • Click the Opacity Map to make it active in the Modify Panel
  • Click the Open button
  • Navigate to the Opacity image
  • Select the Add button under the Content Manager
  • Name and Save the new Image Layer

The Image Layer is a very simple feature with powerful 1st person implications and lots of creative options when used with a bit of imagination. Why your probably not using it yet is because just that, it seems to be such a simple little solution, so simple it gets passed over a bit, but you should not let this one go by the wayside, it can really come in handy. I can’t help but to think of that famous scene where a certain Jedi sinks that faithful “whomp-rat” shot to devastate a certain galactic death machine. Remember how the camera would switch back and forth between Vader and the angle of the X-Wings back end, well there’s a great example of the cockpit 1st person shot when used properly. It worked for George, why not you? In the example below you can see a high-speed showcase of an Image Layer being customized, saved and used to chase some Rebel scum. Enjoy!

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1 Response to “The Image Layer and why you’re not using it yet in iClone 3.0”


  1. January 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

    The problem here for most people is not applying the image, but creating it. “create a Opacity Map”, which sounds so simple, is going to be an insurmountable hurdle for most iClone users.


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