Haunted House elements, Re-animated Skeletons created with CloneBones in iClone3

Skeleton CloneBones Character created with Google 3D Warehouse assetsq

Skeleton CloneBones Character created with Google 3D Warehouse assets

Salutations iCloners, today we raise the dead and re-animate the only thing we leave behind in this terrible ol’ world when we go, you got it, today’s tip focuses on animating Skeleton characters using CloneBones. That’s right, now dancing Skeletons aren’t just for the Grateful Dead, you too can make them dance, or fight, or just plain act like possessed beings from beyond the grave. It’s up to you using the power of CloneBones. How would this tip help to make your Halloween ani-movies better? Simple, imagine wanting to include a skeleton in your project that has all the animation abilities that a normal iClone avatar would, but not wanting to go through the tedious process that iCloners used to of having to create Opacity Maps from the head down for every body part to create things like the rib-cage. I get tired just typing it out, that’s why CloneBones are so cool, and so helpful when you get the bright idea to create what would seem to be such a simple character. Now it truly is simple to create these kinds of avatars, but wait…there’s more, you can also utilize the Jaw node or (bone) to attach a Jawbone in this case, so that your avatar can also have facial animation. So now you can have a singing and dancing skeleton in minutes inisde of iClone3. Eat your heart out Tim Burton. To harness the awesome power of CloneBones in order to create a Skeleton, you must also have a full set of human bones just laying around, so unless you are a serial killer or a grave robber, chances are your going to need to find a full body human skeleton. Well, don’t fret, your pal JimmyJames and the guys at Google 3D Warehouse have got you covered, just don’s ask any questions…got it. Follow the steps below to collect your assets and apply them to the CloneBones template or watch the high speed video build.

  • Open 3DXchange
  • Click the G icon to launch Google 3D Warehouse
  • Type in keyword Skeleton
  • Search until you find one you like, also you may have to try a couple of different ones to find a model that is broken up into the right sections, CloneBones can have objects attached all the way down to each finger tip, so having a SketchUp skeleton model that has all the pieces you need is essential.
  • Click Download Model
  • For a highly detailed CloneBone character animation, isolate the Head, Jaw, Neck, Upper Torso, Lower Torso, Pelvis, R n L Shoulders, R n L Upper Arms, R n L Lower Arms, R n L Palms, All Finger and Thumb sections, R n L Upper Leg, R n L Lower Leg, R n L Feet one at a time
  • Uncheck all areas that are not the focus of the Export, for example, when exporting the Skull, make sure all other bones are checked off, only the Skull node checked ON.
  • Click the Align to Center button for each bone everytime before you Export to iClone
  • Use HotKey: Ctrl + E to Export your Skeleton pieces one at a time
  • Name each body part specifically to keep the character assets organized
  • Select the Props bullet
  • Choose a folder destination, I recommend that you create a New folder for each CloneBone avatar, and export all assets pertaining to that avatar into that folder only to help maintain organization
  • Click OK to successfully Export
  • Enter iClone
  • Go to the Actor tab
  • Select the Avatar button
  • Load a Clonebones template
  • Go to the Set tab
  • Click the Props button
  • Load a prop into the scene you with to link to the actor (start with the 3D Skull and Jaw models)
  • Right Click each bone prop
  • Choose Link – Link to
  • Click the desired CloneBones node (such as the Skull to link the Head)
  • Locate and click the Link to Sub Node icon
  • Check Align Position to Parent
  • Position the prop directly on the node using the Move tool
  • Repeat for each body part
  • Make sure you have attached the Jaw Bone to the Jaw Node so that you can apply facial animation to your Skeleton
  • Select the CloneBones avatar in the Scene Manager
  • Go to the Animation tab
  • Click the Facial Animation tab
  • Choose or import a CTS file to review the Jaw animaiton
  • Then click the Add button under the Content Manager
  • Name and Save the CloneBone avatar

Haunted House elements such as animated Skeletons created with CloneBones are not just for your Halloween projects, no sir. They are custom characters that can be edited to become other character designs. Like, maybe this Halloween you have a brand spanking new skeleton avatar to animate with, but with a little more editing and a particle system, then you have Marvel’s Ghost Rider, or throw a Trojan helmet on top and give him a sword and shield and you have a mythological skeleton warrior guarding the gates of Medusa’s palace. Again, Reallusion has provided a powerful feature that opens up endless character creation options to users worldwide. Below is a high speed build of exactly how to isolate the bones and add them to the CloneBones template along with a rendered example of some character animation on our undead friend. Enjoy!


5 Responses to “Haunted House elements, Re-animated Skeletons created with CloneBones in iClone3”

  1. October 14, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    These Halloween-themed tutorials are great! I especially like the skeleton one since you can take the “clone bone” idea and apply it to just about any 3d character you find in the Google Warehouse. And, again, the combination of written and video info is excellent. Thank you!


  2. October 14, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    What’s up my man,

    You know, I think it was high time someone began to produce seasonal tutorials that may actually help more than just a couple of users out there. Let’s face it, everyone loves to do holiday based animations from time to time, they are the best to send home to Mom, or to the kids for a laugh. So, after some discussion with the other older, bigger Martin Brother, I decided to release these tips before Halloween so that the productions that are in full swing out there where the buffalo roam can benefit from the techniques showcased and release before the 31st. Huh imagine that? Thanks again as always dude, and looking forward to the 1st in NYC, if I survive the 31st in SFL. Talk to ya soon.


  3. October 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Good thinkin! Yep, I’m looking forward to hanging out with you as well. Phil and I are rooming together, so he’ll be there too.

  4. December 26, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Dear James: Your tutorials are EXCELLENT, concise and effective!
    Could you work something on how to Export Non-Human Characters from MAX? I’ve tried all said in the RL document and still can’t get any NHC into iClone 3.1.
    Thanks for your great teaching work!

    • December 30, 2008 at 1:39 am

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the great compliment, I try to open up the eyes of users who may have missed features or may not know that certain aspects of some functions even exist in iClone. I think there are limitless doors to be opened in the real-time production arena of film making and I hope to help others use iClone to create some cracks in the foundations of DIY animation and Machinima in general. I will totally work on some NHC tips for the near future and aim to knock out some more advanced tips and techniques in the upcoming couple of months. Thanks again and be on the look out for a quick and easy way to import Non Human Characters in the future here at iCT.

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