Silhouettes in Seconds with iClone3.2

Silhouetted Soldiers shot in seconds

Silhouetted Soldiers shot in seconds

Good evening iCloners. Today’s tip is one I have been meaning to get around to because it was a”Reader Request” from one Martin Standard. Martin writes; “I wonder if you might one day make a tutorial that shows how to set up lights and a character in iClone 3 for silhouette/shadow puppetry? As well as “full 3D”, I think iClone 3 must have huge potential for shadow-puppet and silhouette/cut-out animation (a la ‘Jasper Morello’), although I’ve not yet seen it used for such work.

Well, Martin my good man, today is the day! This tip reveals how to create Silhouettes in Seconds in iClone3.2. You will be surprised at what an easy process this one is and how truly effective it will be for you in mere seconds after applying to simple lighting techniques. Here’s the trick and there is nothing to it, first create a scene you intend to produce Silhouettes inside of. Then by setting the only Directional Light in the scenes color to Solid Black, following by setting the Ambient Light color to Solid Black as well will turn everything in the project Solid Black. This creates the Silhouette or Shadow Puppet effect to all objects that are NOT Self Illuminated. In the render example I provide below I again showcase the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht content pack and you will see a Self Illuminated object ( Sky ) combined with Silhouettes for a dramatic shot, Self Illuminated objects and/or 2D Backgrounds can be helpful in the production of this effect in iClone, so keep that in mind. Follow the steps below to create Silhouettes in Seconds or watch the high-speed method video provided at the bottom of the post.

  • Create a scene containing an Avatar, Prop, Terrain and Sky ( include the Sky so that a default Self Illuminated Background object is present )
  • Accessorize and Animate your character for the sake of the composition of the shot ( most important for Shadow Puppets )
  • In the Scene Manager scroll down and locate Directional Light01
  • Click Directional Light01 to activate it in the scene
  • Select the Color swatch in the Modify Panel
  • Use the Slider to set a Solid Black from the Color Picker menu
  • Click Ok
  • Under the Ambient Light portion of the Modify Panel select the Color Swatch
  • Again use the Slider to set a Solid Black from the Color Picker menu for the Ambient Light ( this will create the Silhouette effect for all objects in the scene that are NOT Self Illuminated )
  • Click the Set tab
  • Select the Sky button
  • In the Modify Panel scroll down and locate the Self Illumination slider and adjust the settings if you like

Creating Silhouettes in seconds in iClone3.2 is a rather short process that yields results that go a long way. To further Martin’s ideal for this tip, Shadow Puppets like you are use to seeing people create with only teir hands can be accomplished by simply following these outlined steps and then placing a Custom Camera on the hands of the avatar and animating them using Motion Layers. For that scenario I would also use a 2D Background vs. a Sky or another Self Illuminated object. But do try and play around with adding Self Illumination to certain objects in your scene while using this method and you are sure to create some very interesting and dramatic lighting and Silhouette shots. For more information regarding Custom Lighting and Directional Lights be sure to check out the Online Beta Index. Below you will find a very classic example of a dramatic “War-time” shot where the Silhouette in seconds technique really makes then entire visual effect work in this render output along with the full method breakdown. You’ll see what I mean, now… Fall In Soldier! Enjoy!


3 Responses to “Silhouettes in Seconds with iClone3.2”

  1. 1 Ricky Grove
    January 31, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    This is an excellent tip, James. Thank you!

  2. June 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    WOW! a lot of really cool updates, and you know im a picky cg creator!

  3. January 10, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Many thanks. Followed your tips and made this “proof of workflow” video…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: