Archive for February, 2009

25
Feb
09

Total Materials Vol. 1 General Textures Part 2 (Wood) in iClone3.2

Get perfect Wood in iClone with Total Materials vol. 1

Get perfect Wood in iClone with Total Materials vol. 1

Hello iCloners out there. Today’s tip is Part 2 in a 4 part series on Total Materials pack vol. 1 General Textures. This tip however focuses specifically on the rich Wood textures included in this content release by Reallusion. There are over 180 Material Balls included in the pack and 33 Wood textures to choose from each containing a Diffuse, Bump and Specular map that may be further edited to better suit your needs. In this tip I will show users how I take relatively well textured Google Sketchup models that contain  no noticeable flaws and are of sound design, then bring them into iClone  for the purpose of adding high-detail Material Balls. This will greatly enhance the overall look of an otherwise sub-par model before implementing it into your production. A higher level of detail for all objects in your scene will provide a higher quality to your entire production I assure you. Follow the steps below to apply Wood textures from the Total Materials pack vol. 1 General Textures to an assortment of objects or watch the high-speed video build at the bottom of this post to get both a first hand look at the application and the end result.

  • Load a Custom Prop into the scene you wish to edit with  Wood Materials
  • Scroll down in the Modify Panel and locate the Materials and Texture settings portion of the menu
  • Click the Pick tool represented by an Eyedropper icon
  • In the view port, click directly on the area of the model you want to edit
  • Click the Load Material button
  • Locate the General Textures folder
  • Select the View Menu button
  • Choose the Thumbnails option to view the Material Balls directly
  • Scroll down until you see the Wood material selections
  • Double-click a Wood Material to apply it to the selected area
  • Adjust the individual channels by using the Strength slider (this is a good way to vary your amount of detail you wish to include in the Material)
  • Scroll down in the Modify Panel and locate the UV Settings portion of the menu
  • Adjust the UV settings by selecting the Planar, Box, Spherical, Cylindrical, Cylindrical Capped (this will rearrange the UV settings in accordance with what works best for your model)
  • Click the Add button under the Content Manager to save the newly edited custom prop after you are pleased with the Wood Materials applied to the model.

Total Materials pack vol. 1 General Textures includes an array of options from the very first moment you install this aweseom content pack. You can choose to only use 1 set of Materials such as the Wood Materials used in this example, or you can combine multiple Materials to the same object for a more detailed and dramatic look to your props, characters and much more. Once again you find yourself with endless options in iClone. For more information regarding Modifying Texture Settings please be sure to visit the Online Beta Index provided by Reallusion. Below you can check out the high-speed video build of how I apply Wood Materials to SketchUp models and a bit of output showing just rich your Wood can be. Enjoy!

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21
Feb
09

Total Materials Pack Vol.1 General Textures Part 1 (Stone) in iClone3.2

Create photo-realistic, multi-channel, seamless Stone textures with Total Materials

Create photo-realistic, multi-channel, seamless Stone textures with Total Materials

Hello iCloners, today’s tip is the first of a 4 part series focusing on Total Materials Pack vol.1 General Textures Pt.1 (Stone) These new material packs are incredible for production for a few reasons. Total Materials texture packs from Reallusion include a wide range of Material styles for users to choose from. Vol.1 General Textures includes 187 Walls, Metals, Wood and Ground materials along with varieties in each category. For example in the  Wall category you may have Stone, Brick and  Concrete materials, plus more to choose from. Each material ball comes complete with a Diffuse, Bump and Specular channel map that is, of course 100% completely customizable. For today’s example I took a well modeled, but poorly textured 3D Stonehenge Google 3D Warehouse model and used only the Total Materials Pack vol.1 General Textures Stone presets to edit the model and was able to take an otherwise unusable 3D object and flip it into a beautifully textured representation of the world-famous landmark. Get your Right-click finger ready all of you iClone Druids out there, and follow the steps presented below to use the Picker Tool to select “dropped or bad” texture areas on a model and apply multiple Stone materials to the 3D object in order to salvage well built assets such as my Stonehenge.

  • Go to the Set tab
  • Select the Props button
  • Choose the Custom folder
  • Load a custom prop with “dropped or bad” texture areas you wish to add STONE material balls to (for this example I use a 3D Stonehenge Google Sketchup model)
  • Scroll down in the Modify Panel and locate the Materials and Texture settings portion of the menu
  • Click the Pick tool represented by an Eyedropper icon
  • In the view port, click directly on one of the “dropped or bad” texture areas
  • Click the Load Material button
  • Locate the General Textures folder
  • Select the View Menu button
  • Choose the Thumbnails option to view the Material Balls directly
  • Scroll down until you see the Stone material selections
  • Double-click a Stone Material to apply it to the “dropped or bad” texture area
  • Notice that a Diffuse, Bump and Specular texture map will be applied to the proper channels
  • Again select the Pick tool represented by the Eyedropper icon and Repeat material application for all “dropped or bad” texture areas
  • Add a Terrain and Sky asset to the scene
  • Then, turn on Pixel Shader to review the Stone Materials full effects

The options are truly endless with Total Materials Pack vol. 1 General textures. Everything from Brick walls, to Stone pillars, to Wood Panels, Precious Metals and more. Not to mention the refined look in the end outcome you can achieve when combining some Material Balls with one-another. Other interesting effects can be achieved as well by simply adjusting some of the individual channel map settings for the Diffuse, Bump and Specular textures. For more information regarding Multiple Channel Texture Mapping please visit the Online Beta Index provided by Reallusion. Below you will find a rendered example of both a poorly textured version of Stonehenge with a highly detailed version of the same model after Total Materials Pack vol. 1 General textures was used to create seamless and beautiful Stones, along with a step-by-step visual guide on how to fix “dropped or bad” texture areas for yourself. Enjoy!

11
Feb
09

Digital Dagobah – Part 2 (Yoda) Advanced Character Customization in iClone3.2

Create Master Yoda from CloneCloth for Stout Man vol.1

Create Master Yoda from CloneCloth for Stout Man vol.1

Yoda, you seek Yoda iCloners and I commend your efforts. Today’s tip is not for iClone Patawans, this is for the true Jedi Cloners out there because it is Advanced Character Customization utilizing custom facial image application and texture editing, head morphing and feature adjustment with CloneCloth creation techniques using Diffuse and Opacity maps for one single character design. Combining all these aspects will allow you to create Master Yoda using the Moe,  CloneCloth for Stout Man vol.1 content pack from Reallusion. Editing textures for both the face of Master Yoda and the cloak will require that you have a relatively well versed knowledge of the Force…I mean, Photoshop…Photoshop or another external image editor. Why? Because, the face of Master Yoda requires that head morphing shapes work and fit properly with the custom facial texture, especially around Master Yoda’s trademark ears. Also, in order to manipulate the dual-layered 3D mesh of the Moe Overcoat CloneCloth avatar you will need the graphic skills necessary to create the proper character wardrobe to match the look from the movie itself. But not to worry, Darth Martin is here to help you along your path! Follow the steps below to create Master Yoda for your iClone Star Wars cast or watch the high-speed video build provided at the bottom of the post.

  • Load the Moe Overcoat avatar into the scene ( be sure you have the CloneCloth for Stout Man vol.1 content  installed first )
  • Click the Head tab from the top
  • Select the Load Image button to place a previously saved custom .JPG image of Master Yoda found here
  • Crop the Bounding Box
  • Choose Male from the Face-list menu
  • Click Next
  • Use the Rotate, Orbit and Scale tools to fit the Bounding Box
  • Click Next
  • Align the Feature Points to the Eyes, Nose and Mouth, use the Scale and Move tools greatly here to get a proper fit
  • Click OK to apply the changes and create a custom Master Yoda face
  • Name and Save the new head as Yoda
  • In the Modify Panel, under the Facial Feature portion of the menu select the Head option
  • From the different Head Morph options choose Devil
  • Adjust the Strength slider to edit the size and amount of morph that Master Yoda requires
  • Select the Mouth button to customize the teeth position
  • Use the Move values and the Height and Width sliders to properly fit the Mouth inside the head
  • Choose a Teeth Template to place a custom set of teeth in the avatar ( for this example I use the Sharp template )
  • Select the Eyes button to customize the characters Eyes
  • Choose an Eye Template to place a custom set of Eyes in the avatar ( for this example I use the Dark template )
  • Use the Scale values and the Narrow/Wide slider to re-size the eyes
  • Use the Move values to properly fit the Eyes inside the head
  • Select the Faces button
  • Edit each Facial Feature individually until you achieve the proper shape for Master Yoda’s head
  • Click the Actor tab from the top once again
  • Select the Skin button
  • In the Modify Panel, under the Material and Texture settings portion of the menu
  • Use the fly-out menu and select Face to activate the face texture channels
  • With the Diffuse Map selected for the Face, click the Launch button to open the image for editing in an external editor ( for this example I use Photoshop, but any image editor you are comfortable with )
  • Edit the Facial image paying close attention to the Ears ( for this example I use the Liquify and Clone Stamp tools to stretch the Ear textures and even out the skin problem areas )
  • Save Over the existing .JPG image
  • Return to iClone
  • Click the Update button to apply the edits to the Face texture ( it may take a few tries to get the Ear texture fitting just right with the Head Morphed shape of the mesh, so all you need to do is re-edit and re-save and repeat )
  • Select the Avatar button
  • In the Modify Panel, use the Adjust Proportion sliders for each part of the both you wish to scale ( for Master Yoda I suggest you adjust the Head, Neck, Shoulders, Biceps, Forearms, Upper and Lower Torso, Thighs, Feet, Hands and Fingers…pretty much everything! )
  • Click the Upper Body button to begin editing the CloneCloth template
  • In the Modify Panel, with the Diffuse Map selected for the Upper Body, click the Launch button to open the CloneCloth template for editing in an external editor ( again for this example I use Photoshop )
  • Open a previously saved custom .JPG image of Master Yoda’s Robe found here
  • Copy the image over to the CloneCloth template image, this will create it as its own layer on the template file
  • Create a custom CloneCloth design using the copied .JPG Yoda Robe image by Cutting, Copying and Pasting the Chest and the Arms as their own layers
  • Use Transform tools to fit the Chest and Arms to the template for the Front and Back
  • Merge all Layers then Save over the existing Upper Body .JPG image ( be sure you can step back in History to retrieve the Front and Back layer for later development of the Opacity Map )
  • Return to iClone
  • Click the Update button to apply the edits to the Upper Body texture ( it may take a few tries to get the Robe texture fitting just right with the UV CloneCloth Template, so all you need to do is re-edit and re-save and repeat until your pleased )
  • Return to your external image editor and make a selection of the Robe layer you created
  • Fill the entire selection with Solid White this is to make this area 100% visible when applied to the avatar
  • Invert your selection and fill the outside background area with Solid Black to make this area 100% invisible when applied to the avatar
  • Use a Solid Black Paint Brush tool to create frayed edges on the ends of the sleeves and the bottom of the cloak
  • Go to File Save As
  • Save the file in the .JPG format
  • Name the file Yoda Robe OPACITY
  • Return to iClone
  • Select the Opacity Channel for the Upper Body
  • Click the Open button to import the new Yoda Robe OPACITY
  • Navigate to the file and double click to apply (notice the change to the hard edges of the CloneCloth mesh to a much softer look and feel )
  • Repeat the process for the Lower Body making it a Solid Brown texture to match the inside of the cloak
  • Click the Add button under the Scene Manager
  • Name the avatar Master Yoda

Advanced Character Customization in iClone3.2 covers a light-year in ground as far as the combined areas and features it takes to really get that perfect character match. Creating Master Yoda could not be as well done without the Devil head morphing option that was new to iClone version 3, or the Moe, CloneCloth for Stout Man vol. 1. As new features, functions and content becomes available to users, it opens new creative doors that allow artists to explore characters and creations that they may not have been able to before due to one small aspect or another. Body and Head modification make the Master Yoda avatar not only possible but completely believable to even the most hard-core of Star Wars fans, so use these features to their fullest potiental in relation to cool and ineresting characters and content as well. For more information regarding Character Sub Node Proportion Adjustment be sure to check out the Online Beta Index. Below you will find an accurate Machinima recreation of the famous “X-Wing emerges from the swamp” scene from Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back created in 9 hours, with the Advanced Character Creation of Master Yoda. Enjoy!

10
Feb
09

Digital Dagobah – Part 1 (Luke) Basic Character Customization in iClone3.2

Luke on Dagobah created with 2nd Ranger Sergeant

Luke on Dagobah created with 2nd Ranger Sergeant

Greetings iCloners, today’s tip is Basic Character Customization – Part 1 which is going to show users how to take the 2nd Ranger Sergeant avatar from the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht content pack and apply some simple customization techniques to turn that character into Luke Skywalker on Dagobah. Users will be instructed to carry out a basic face fitting with a custom photograph and then ask to edit the Upper, Lower, and Shoe textures to complete the transformation.  Advanced Character Customization will be covered in Part 2 of this tip showing users how to apply advanced techniques to create Master Yoda inside iClone. But first, we need a Luke on Dagobah for our iClone Star Wars project. If you review the scenes on Dagobah in Star Wars ( Empire Strikes Back ) you will notice that Luke’s outfit is very similar to the design of the 2nd Ranger Sergeant, this is typical George Lucas because ol’ George loved to “borrow” designs and concepts from old WWII footage. This carried over into everything from Tie Fighter battles to the costume design for certain aspects of characters. This is a prime example of one such design used to outfit Luke Skywalker during his Jedi training on Dagobah. Follow the steps below to take your G.I. vs. Wehrmacht 2nd Ranger Sergeant from soldier to Jedi by adding a custom facial image and a few body texture editing techniques.

  • Go to the Actor Tab
  • With the Avatar button and the Template tab selected locate the WWII folder ( G.I. vs. Wehrmacht content must be installed first )
  • Double Click the 2nd Ranger Sergeant avatar to place it in the scene for the purpose of becoming Luke on Dagobah
  • In the Scene Manager select the Helmet prop under the 2nd Ranger Sergeant
  • Strike Delete to remove the Helmet
  • Click the Head tab from the top
  • Select the Load Image button to place a previously saved custom .JPG image of actor Mark Hamil found here
  • Fit the Bounding Box
  • Choose Male from the Face-list menu
  • Click Next
  • Use the Rotate, Orbit and Scale tools to fit the Bounding Box
  • Click Next
  • Align the Feature Points to the Eyes, Nose and Mouth
  • Click OK to apply the changes and create a custom Luke Skywalker face
  • Click the Actor tab once again
  • Select the Hair button
  • Place a custom Hair Model on the avatar  from the Template folders, for this example I use the Emo hairstyle
  • In the Modify Panel, under the Adjust portion of the menu use Move and the Z Scale values to customize the shape and position of the Hair model
  • Under the Adjust Color portion of the menu, use the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation sliders to edit the Hair color
  • Click the Upper Body button to edit the Upper body texture
  • In the Modify Panel, under the Adjust Color portion of the menu, use the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation sliders to edit the  color of the 2nd Ranger Sergeant default upper texture to appear more like the film character
  • Click the Lower Body button to edit the Lower body texture
  • Under the Adjust Color portion of the menu, use the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation sliders to edit the  color of the 2nd Ranger Sergeant default lower texture to appear more like the film character
  • Click the Shoes button to edit the Shoe textures
  • Finally, in the Adjust Color portion of the menu, use the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation sliders to edit the  color of the 2nd Ranger Sergeant default Shoe textures to appear more like Luke on Dagobah
  • Save your new Luke Skywalker custom avatar by clicking Add in the Content Manager

Basic Character Customization in iClone3.2 can be as simple as adjusting the default parameters of a character and placing a custom facial image in order for a specific actor or look to be recognized. The trick is to really pay close attention to what content is available to you right now either in your own libraries or in the Reallusion content store and considering what matches there are for other productions you wish to film. In this case the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht and the Moe CloneCloth content packs allowed me to cast both Luke Skywalker and Master Yoda with a bit of both basic and advanced character customization techniques. In part 2 of this tip you will go on in your training to a more in-depth look at how to create the Master Yoda avatar with Head Morphing and texture editing techniques along side CloneCloth creation and application. Only true iClone Jedi need to attempt that real-time path to the force. Below you will find an accurate Machinima recreation of the famous “X-Wing emerges from the swamp” scene from Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back created in 9 hours, with the Basic Character Creation of Luke Skywalker. Enjoy!

05
Feb
09

Warlord’s – The Sniper. A new Machinima War-time classic made with iClone3.2

The Sniper by M D McCallum

The Sniper by M D McCallum

The Sniper is a new Machinima film by M D McCallum that was produced with both iClone and video game output proves to be a real 5 star film. A true Machinima mash-up movie with a deeply moving original storyline that has a masters touch to the animation. Featuring the wonderful works from the G.I. vs Wehrmacht, Medieval Village and Classic Horror Movies and other content packs. This is a spitfire example of an industry leading iCloner and some of his best work to date. Warlord is a long time member of the iClone community and someone I personally have watched grow into his real-time skin over the last couple of years and M. D. never seems to dissapoint where iClone is concerned. A founding member of www.iCloneRevolution.com and a long time CoolCloner has placed his sights and fired a shot true into the Machinima body with this film. To those out there who may have had some question before wither iClone IS or IS NOT Machinima, I say to you, take a look at The Sniper and witness the seamless mesh of video game footage with iClone output that Warlord displays in his latest piece. Look to iClone as your film-making stage and video game footage as almost “on-location” shoots and in the end you can create a mesh of Machinima that is visually stunning. That’s what I feel M.D. McCallum has accomplished with this movie and I recommend the 15 minute viewing time to all my readers. You won’t regret it. Great film. Enjoy!

04
Feb
09

Fire in the Hole! Link and Unlink 3D objects inside iClone3.2

Use Link and UNlink to throw anything in iClone

Use Link and UNlink to throw anything in iClone

Duck and Cover iCloners, because peace-time will have to wait with the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht content pack in your animation arsenal. It’s a fact that there are tons of cool assets that make this pack worth purchasing but after you do you still need to apply some basic techniques and tricks to really get the most from each and every piece of content from props to particles.  Today’s tip focuses on a simple war-time task, throwing a grenade using Link and Unlink functions. Wither it’s a ball or bouquet or bayonet you are throwing inside iClone the process remains the same, for this example my avatar is tossing a grenade into a trench to dispatch a couple of enemy privates. In order to pull this off you will need 3 basic assets, a character, a throwing motion, and a prop to sling. From the beginning of the animation you will Link the prop to the character, at the point in the motion animation where you wish to release the prop you will then Unlink the asset from the avatar, then animate the prop separately. A simple process that if all else fails is good to go through at least once to become familiar with the logistics of how to Link and Unlink properly. Follow the steps below to Link and Unlink a grenade on your own or watch the high-speed video example at the bottom of the post.

  • Load an Avatar into the scene
  • Animate the Character with a throwing motion of some type
  • Click the Set tab
  • Select the Props button
  • Select the Template tab
  • Locate and click the WWII folder ( you must have the G.I. vs Wehrmacht content installed but ANY prop will work )
  • Click the Weapons folder
  • Select the Others folder
  • Double Click the Grenade prop to load it into the scene
  • Right Click the Grenade to activate the shader menu
  • Choose Link – Link To
  • Click the Avatars Right Hand
  • Use the Move and Rotate Tools to properly position the Grenade exactly where you would like it
  • Scrub the Play-head forward to the point you want your character to release the Grenade prop
  • Move the Grenade slightly to create a Transform key-frame and then proceed to the next frame in the project
  • Click the Unlink button in the Modify Panel to release the Grenade from the character Link constrains
  • Scrub the Play-head forward to the point the Grenade prop would be half way through the toss
  • Use the Move and Rotate Tools to position the Grenade at the pinnacle of the throw
  • Scrub the Play-head forward to the point the Grenade prop would be landing or at the end of the toss
  • Use the Move and Rotate Tools to position the Grenade on the ground at the end of the arch
  • Click Start to return to the beginning of the project
  • Click Play to review the Link and Unlink object animation

To Link and Unlink 3D objects in iClone is to become familiar with one of the most fundemental functions you can where character and prop interaction is concerned. Wither it’s a War-time movie, or a Sci-Fi feature, or a Horror flick, or just a quick video blog that you have slated for your next production makes no difference. Chances are there will be some sort of character/prop interaction and you will know exactly how to handle it if you follow through with this process. To learn more regarding Link and Unlink options be sure to check out the Online Beta Index. Below you will find an example of how I use the Link and Unlink to blast some Germans out of their trench and of course followed by a overview on how you too can master Link and Unlink. Enjoy!

02
Feb
09

G.I. vs. Wehrmacht Blood Particles that will Blow Your Mind in iClone3.2

Particles so realistic your head will explode

Particles so realistic your head will explode

Ok iCloners, I admit it, I am addicted to the G.I. vs Wehrmacht content pack. There are just so many features and assets to choose from I can’t seem to get enough. And, maybe it’s too much Call of Duty, or watch Band of Brothers re-runs on the History Channel but I am really getting a thrill out of killing both Germans and G.I.s witch brings me to today’s tip, Blood Particles that will Blow Your Mind…literally! If you have been keeping up here at the blog you will already know some of the more recent render examples I have been including with the WWII tips have had some pretty gruesome short scenes, and the key to these gore shots are Blood Particles and knowing how and where to attach them to your victim and timing the emitter correctly with the motion animation. Don’t go blowing your brains out yet though, it’s no as complicated as it sounds, trust me. So here’s how it works, I am going to use the actual preset Blood Particles from the content pack but note that any particle can be attached and edited in this manner. In other words, if you don’t have the pack yet you can still execute this one…no pun intended. Follow the steps below to access, attach and edit a Blood Particle on your own or watch the high-speed video build provided at the bottom of the post, but be sure your over 17 for this one.

  • Load and Animate an avatar with some sort of “Death” or “Dying” motion
  • Click Play to review the animation and find the point you want to add a Blood Particle
  • Click the Start button from the bottom to return to the beginning of the project
  • Click the Set tab
  • Select the Particle button
  • Choose the Template tab ( note* you will need the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht full content pack installed to access the Blood Particle )
  • Locate the WWII folder
  • Double-click the Blood 01 Particle to add it to the scene
  • In the Modify Panel click the Pick Parent button from the menu
  • Select the Avatars Head or other body part you wish to attach the Blood 01 Particle to
  • Click Play to review the Blood Particles placement, it will not be directly positioned over the Head most likely
  • Select the Start button to return to the beginning of the project
  • In the Attach To: portion of the Modify Menu select the Attach To icon ( … )
  • Check ON Align Position to Parent in the Attach To Sub Menu
  • Click OK
  • To edit the direction of the angle of the spray to correspond with your bullet trajectory find the Rotate portion of the menu
  • Enter a Value into the Initial Angle field that will work for your angle ( for this example I use a Value of 270 )
  • Scroll down and in the Emitter Setting portion of the menu edit the Position Values if you need to fine tune to position further
  • Click Play to review the Blood Particles placement once again
  • Select the Start button to return to the beginning of the project and then in the Modify Panel under the Emit section select OFF
  • Drag the Play-head to enter the exact frame where you want the Blood Particle to begin
  • Select ON in the Emit section to set a frame telling the Blood Particle to become visibly active
  • Select the Start button to return to the beginning of the project
  • Click Play to review the Blood Particles Emit timing
  • Save your project

Blood Particles from the G.I. vs. Wehrmacht content pack are slightly graphic for maybe some younger iCloners but hey…War’s Hell! Right? So buy the pack and use them, a lot. To all of you gore fans out there these are also a stellar accompaniment to the Classic Horror Movies Content pack. Also, to you Pro-Cloners out there, who may not want to buy the pack, I challenge you to get a good look at the design and functionality of these  Blood Particles and create ones of your own that appear and react as well as these do. All-in-all these are some of my favorite particles ever produced by Reallusion and I will totally get milage out of them, but the best part is that there are quite a few more super handy particles that come with the pack that include Explosions, ParaTroopers, Gun Fire plus much more. Aside from the avatars, this particle pack is worth the price you pay alone, and attaching these Blood Particles to those avatars make for a killer combination. For more information regarding Linking and Attaching make sure you check out the Online Beta Index. Below you will find another R-rated example of this brutal Blood Particles in action and a breakdown of how to apply, attach, edit and emit a custom head-shot of your own. Enjoy!