Animate Non-vehicular objects with Vehicle Helpers in iClone 3.0

R2D2 astromech droid animated with Arrow Helper in iClone 3.0

R2D2 astromech droid animated with Arrow Helper in iClone 3.0

Greetings iCloners, you’ve done well to make it this far…sorry, I guess all the Force Unleashed is starting to get to me a bit. Now go and do my bidding….sorry…sorry. Today’s tip focuses on Animating Non-vehicular objects with Vehicle Helpers in iClone 3.0. I know you are all already familiar with the Vehicle Helpers in iClone 3.0 and how they can quickly and easily benefit your productions, but for those that don’t, let me bring ya up to speed, so check it out. There are 4 basic Vehicle Helpers that you can attach objects to, they are a Plane, Helicopter, Car and Arrow Helpers. The difference between them is how they function according to their animation keys in Director Mode. For example, the Helicopter Helper will bank with the function key to go right or left, the Car Helper will curve as it turns left or right, however today we are focused on the Arrow Helper. Why you ask? Because today I want to point out how Helper objects can help you to animate anything…anything that is that you wish to move and function how the helper functions. The Arrow Helper functions kind of like a Tank, it gives models the ability to move forward and backward and pivot on the objects center access…hmm, which would make it perfect for animating those pesky droids…especially astromech driods. For this example I am going to link a Arrow Helper to an R2D2 3D model and animate it in Director mode. To accomplish this on your own, follow the steps below or watch the high-speed video build.

  • Click the Set tab
  • Select the Props button
  • Choose the Custom tab
  • Load the model you wish to animate
  • Click the Template Tab
  • Locate and click the Vehicle Helper folder
  • Double click the Arrow Helper to bring it into the scene
  • Right Click the model you want to link to the and select Link
  • Click Link To
  • Click the Arrow 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 Arrow 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 moving your model in the scene, notice the pivot function as you turn

Animating Non-Vehicular object with Vehicle Helpers in iClone 3.0 will save you time, and might just be more fun than you think once you get the hang of it. Director Mode allows you to Play-to-Create, and Vehicle Helpers can play a big part in that. You can control the speed of each Vehicle Helper by using the + and – keys, this way the droid or any other object you may wish to animate in this fashion, actually moves at the proper speed. Once you are done messing around while traversing a terrain model, (with Follow or Snap To turned on) you then have a bank of footage you then can render and cut into pieces, creating a nice selection of shots that will convey your character has moved along a long distance when using traditional film-making techniques. Below as always is a high-speed video build of this process in action and a bit of a Star Wars throwback Machinima, oh yeah and by now if you haven’t figured out at this blog that iClone is the ultimate Star Wars Fan film production station, well then, go watch some more Star Trek. Long live the DarkSide and Force Grab those droids everybody. As for me I got some neon Rancors to slay! Enjoy!


1 Response to “Animate Non-vehicular objects with Vehicle Helpers in iClone 3.0”

  1. September 21, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Great tutorial. Thank you!

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