Archive Page 2

08
Oct
09

Facial Animation Part 3: Face Key Creation in iClone 4.0

Unlock the power of the Face Key Tool

Unlock the power of the Face Key Tool

Hey hey, iCloners out there, if your like me and can’t get enough of the new Facial Animation functions in iClone 4.0 then today’s tip is for you. This tutorial focuses on Face Key creation, Facial Bone Animation, Face Feature Posing and other lip-sync fine-tuning techniques. But first, let’s talk about what the new Face Key feature, it’s a new menu that allows users to create facial morphing animation that is…get ready for it…able to be keyframed. Not only that but it can also be used in the same manner as The Puppeteering Panel (See Part 2) to create facial expressions. That is the difference between Facial Bone Animation and Face Feature Posing, Facial Bone Animation is used to manipulate the Facial Bones and create the facial morphing animation itself, check out how I make the Jimmy Toon’s nose grow in the video below to see an example of this aspect. Face Feature Posing is also a standard function inside the Face Key menu that allows users to quickly and easily create facial expression using keyframe creation. All these keyframes will be viewable on the Timeline in the Facial Layer Track. It’s a fun and easy to use new addition to your iClone Facial Animation abilities, so give it a try by following the steps below or watch the free training resource provided at the bottom of the post.

  • Add an Actor into the scene
  • Click the Animation Tab
  • Select the Facial Animation button
  • Create a Basic Script (See Part 1) for your character
  • NOTE: In this example I use my real voice for the voice of my actor by Recording my own voice directly
  • After applying Facial Animation to your Actor, Open the Face Key Tool
  • Select the FACE KEY button in the Modify Panel to open the menu
  • Begin creating Facial Layer keyframes using the Face Key Tool
  • NOTE: To view the keyframes you are about to create open the Timeline using HOTKEY: (F3) and then click the FACE tab to view the Viseme, Expression, and Facial Layer Track
  • Notice the 2 sections of the Face Key menu, Muscle and Detail, select Detail
  • Notice the Right Face, Front Face, and Left Face tabs at the top in Detail mode
  • Edit the Face Bones by clicking and dragging the Node you want to change in either Right Face, Front Face, or Left Face modes
  • Move forward in time in your project and then make another Edit to the Face Bonesto create keyframed facial morphing animation
  • To create Face Feature Posing you need to select the Muscle mode now in the Face Key menu
  • NOTE: This will allow you to select Solo-Features of the face and edit them to create Expression
  • Again move forward in time in your project and then make an Edit to the Face Feature Poseto create keyframed facial Expression animation
  • Begin selecting Solo-Feature areas such as the Eyes (as seen in the video below)
  • Select the Rotate or Orbit tool from the bottom left of the Face Key interface and then Click and Drag to make edits to the features position
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps until you are pleased with the Face Feature Pose you have created

Face Key creation in iClone 4.0 is a long-overdue addition to the Facial Animation and editing tool set. I remember my first question when Head morphing edit capabilities were introduced in iClone 3.0 was…”Can I keyframe that?” And now that answer is YES in iClone 4.0. Combine the skills you will learn from Facial Animation Parts:1, 2 and 3 in the new real-time production environment and you are now fully equiped to take on even the most complex of scripts and performances. The Face Key Tool opens up tons of options to choose from in the categories of face shapes, poses and expressions while offering the ability to create and edit the keyframe date you develop, I mean honestly, why wouldn’t you want to learn this new tool? To do just that please feel free to check out the free training resource video below and start making faces! Enjoy!

08
Oct
09

Facial Animation Part 2: The Puppeteering Panel in iClone 4.0

Become a real-time PuppetMaster!

Become a real-time PuppetMaster!

I hope everyone is enjoying the new version upgrade to iClone 4.0. This tip is a continuation of the Facial Animation series, today’s tip focuses on The Puppeteering Panel in iClone 4.0. This is something that CrazyTalk 6.0 users will be fimiliar with from the word “Go” but if you are new to the wonders of The Puppeteering Panel then allow me to explain how this super powerful tool is going to revolutionize the way you both create and fine-tune your Facial Animation in iClone. First, what is The Puppeteering Panel anyway? It’s a tool that allows users to select and manipulate Solo-Feature areas, for the purpose of detailing Facial Animation or creating Expression and Emotion for your character. Sounds pretty good right, well, it is and the best part is the user has the ability to create multiple “Passes” by recording Solo-Feature areas individually, then recording additional areas to layer each over the last. Imagine your first “Pass” only focusing on the Eyes, then your second “Pass” may only focus on the Eyebrows, but the second will contain the animation data you created on the first “Pass” also. This is the method of fine-tuning that you will become acustom to once you have mastered The Puppeteering Panel. Follow the steps below to Create a Basic Script (See Part 1) and then add Expression to the Actor in the scene using the tools found in The Puppeteering Panel. And don’t forget to check out the step-by-step free instuctional video tutorial at the botom of this post.

  • Add an Actor into the scene
  • Create a Basic Script by Importing a WAV file
  • Select the Animation Tab
  • Click the Facial Animation button
  • Click Open in the Modify Panel
  • Navigate to your WAV file
  • NOTE: This animation data will be automatically applied in the Viseme Track on the Timeline
  • Open the Timeline to view this date using HOTKEY: (F3)
  • Click the FACE tab to view the Viseme, Expression, and Facial Layer Tracks
  • To open The Puppeteering Panel click the Puppet button in the Modify Panel
  • Notice there are 8 Puppet Profile categories each containing 6 Full Face Controls
  • Notice the Solo Feature Puppet Profile as well
  • Select a Puppet Profile
  • Then click a Face Control by clicking the thumbnail or use the corresponding HOTKEYS
  • To Preview click the Preview button and then strike Spacebar to Start and to Stop the Preview
  • After striking Spacebar to Start the Preview, click and drag your mouse to begin Puppeteering with the chosen Full Face Control
  • Strike Spacebar to Stop
  • NOTE: The same Full Face Control for one Puppet Profile will differ from the same Full Face Control for another Puppet Profile, for example, The Man ANGRY combination will not give you the same result as the Woman ANGRY combination.
  • Select the Solo Feature Puppet Profile
  • Notice that the Full Face Controls will now effect Blinking, Eye Movement, Head Orientation, Head Tilting, Jaw Movement and Muscle Movement
  • Click Head Tilting or use HOTKEY: (R) to edit the HEAD movement itself
  • NOTE: In previous versions of iClone you would have needed to use a Dummy object to achieve this level of HEAD movement, now with The Puppeteering Panel you no longer have that worry
  • Make multiple “Passes” of your Facial Animation by recording movement using The Puppeteering Panel
  • To record, select the Puppet Profile and Full Face Control you wish to use and then click Record
  • Strike Spacebar to Start the Recording
  • Click and Drag your mouse to begin Puppeteering with the chosen Full Face Control
  • Strike Spacebar again to Stop the Recording, this creates a single “Pass”
  • Repeat this process and choose different Puppet Profiles and Full Face Controls to focus on areas individually until you are pleased with the over-all look of your Facial Animation
  • Notice that when you are finished recording with The Puppeteering Panel your new Expression data will be visible on the Expression Track in the Timeline

The Puppeteering Panel can produce amazing results in only a few “Passes” to any Facial Animation clip, no matter how long or short, stylized or straight forward. It benefits everyone from iClone film-makers who have a lot of Facial animation to work through in their movies to the businesses out there using iClone as a part of what they offer to possible clients, bringing out the realistic qualities we all are used to seeing in everyday life the in faces of the people we meet and converse with. But wait, there’s more, no really, believe it or not The Puppeteering Panel and the endless Expression options that are available to you can be further enhanced by The Face Key Tool and Face Bones. These new tools are also covered in the upcoming Facial Animation Part 3: Face Key creation where you now can actually change and keyframe the shape of a characters Head and Face. That’s right, and The Face Key Tool and Face Bones make it all possible. Put these three tutorials together and you too will have a firm grasp on Facial Animation creation in the new iClone. But before you do that be sure to get a good look at the video below to help get you on your way to becoming a real-time PuppetMaster. Enjoy! 

06
Oct
09

Facial Animation Part 1: Creating Basic Scripts in iClone 4.0

Back to Basics with iCT4

Back to Basics with iCT4

Well iCloners the wait is over, by now the truly hardcore have downloaded, installed, updated, resource packed and cracked open iClone 4.0, the hottest new tool in the real-time universe. If you haven’t yet, then what are you waiting for go download it now and get started, however, if you have then you will be interested in today’s tip, Creating Basic Scripts in iClone 4.0. What is a Basic Script anyway? Well, a Script file is what iClone will use to create the Facial Animation algorithm, and there are 4 basic ways of creating this Script. The 1st is to use the TTS or Text-To-Speech editor in iClone which allows you to directly type in the text or dialog you want your character to say. Fun and easy to master this is the most basic of ways to create Facial Animation. Let me go on record right now though by saying , I encourage the use of TTS for robot avatars, and maybe a couple of other character designs, but if your really looking to impress with your Facial Animation I say stick to the next 3 options. The 2nd option is to Import a WAV file directly into iClone and apply it to your character. This is an appealing option to the advanced user and beginner for sure, but to those of you out there who record your audio in an audio editing external program anyway to achieve a higher level of control over your audio, you will find that this is a life saver and you will enjoy the same results, if not better, than if you would have recorded directly into iClone 4.0. The 3rd mode of creating a Basic Script is by Recording your own voice directly inside of iClone, you’ll need to dust off the old microphone and clear your throat to match the performance level you will instantly get by recording your Facial Animation in this way, I promise, and for you old iClone-Pros out there (you know who you are) I strongly suggest you give this a try, never before have I seen a more perfect live-record playback in the actual Facial Animation itself in iClone, this is going to blow you away I assure you. And for the people that are new to iClone, I recommend you use this technique as well almost everytime.  The 4th and final option is by Importing a CTS file from CrazyTalk 6.0, btw don’t forget that iClone 4.0 only interfaces with CrazyTalk 6.0 so if you haven’t upgraded your version of CrazyTalk from 5.1 then you should go and download that now.   To begin Creating Basic Scripts in iClone 4.0 choose your method of script creation and follow the steps below or check out the new and improved iCT4 training video at the bottom of this post.

  • Add an Avatar into the scene
  • Click the Animation Tab from the top
  • Select the Facial Animation button
  • Notice in the Modify Panel on the right all 4 Basic Script creation options are available to you
  • To create Facial Animation using TTS click the TYPE button to open the Text-To-Speech Editor
  • Type your desired dialog into the Text field
  • Click OK to apply it to your Character
  • To create Facial Animation by Importing a WAV file click the OPEN button in the Modify Panel
  • Navigate to your file destination
  • Select your WAV file and then click OK to apply the audio to your character
  • NOTE: this will apply Facial Animation data to the Viseme Track in the Timeline
  • To create Facial Animation by Recording your own voice click the RECORD button to open the Record WAV menu
  • Click the RECORD button once again in the editor and then speak into your microphone
  • Click the PLAY button to review
  • Select the OK button to apply your voice to the character
  • To create Facial Animation using a CTS file click the IMPORT CTS button
  • NOTE: this will apply Facial Animation data to the Viseme Track in the Timeline
  • Navigate to your CTS file destination
  • Select the OK button to apply the CTS file to the character
  • NOTE: this will only import the Viseme and Expression Track data to the Timeline and CrazyTalk motion clips will be viewed as an Expression clip, and no head movement data will carry over from CrazyTalk

Creating Basic Scripts in iClone 4.0 is fun and easy to acomplish, but to then take that Facial Animation to the next level of detail you need to apply the use of the Puppeteering Panel and the Face Key tool. Facial Animation Part 2: The Puppeteering Panel cover how you can now take full advantage of live Puppeteering abilities, which to CrazyTalk 6.0 users should be a breeze, in iClone. That’s right, be sure to check out Part 2 for more on that here at the blog. And following that, you guessed it, Facial Animation Part 3: Face Key creation is also coming your way with a new function explination you’ve all been waiting for…Animated Facial Morphing abilities with Face Bones and the Facial Layer. Create keyframes for the shape and morph of a characters head, using Front and Profile key selection tools. You don’t want to miss this, but first check out the video for Part 1 below and say “Hello” to your new site host iCT4. Here we go again!

18
May
09

Flying Machines of War pt. 1 Standard Fighter Controls in iClone 3.2

Combat or Non-Combat...that is the question.

Combat or Non-Combat...that is the question.

What’s up iCloners, so I am back with lots of new content in my sights. Today’s tip focuses on the Machines of War content pack for iClone. This pack is chalked full of assets that are of course iProps and iAnimation ready for your War-time productions. The pack includes 5 Interactive Tanks – 3 Interactive Vehicles – 8 Interactive Fighter Planes – 2 Characters – 7 Accessories – 12 Motions – 31 Props – 4 Effects – 4 BONUS Terrains and some of the best iProps interaction I have ever seen in iClone. We are going to take a test flight with the AIR FORCE folder in particular, I’ll be showing users the difference between the standard Fighter Plane iProps provided and those marked as COMBAT ONLY content. Sound’s pretty straight forward right? One’s for combat animation and the other is not, but wait there’s more to it than that you see. These iProps are equipped with preset Perform and Move clips that make the animation you want to create as simple as right clicking the prop and choosing the action that fits the scene your working on. Did I lose you? Ok, here it is in a nutshell…let’s say you want to include and controls the rotation of the propeller, Gear Up/Down, opening or closing of the cockpit and open fire. With this packs iProp design , users can arrange and compose the animations anyway they want to fully enjoy the play to create experience. Follow the steps below to animate the  standard Fighter Plane using the Right-Click menu and Terrain click options, or watch the video provided at the bottom of the post with the new and improved iClone Certified Training format to receive first-hand virtual tutoring for the Machines of War content pack.

  • Open iClone
  • Select the Set tab
  • Click the Props button
  • Locate the Template tab
  • Choose the Machines of War folder
  • Expand the list until you see the Air Force folder
  • Double-Click a Fighter Plane to place it in your scene (note: select any plane that does not have COMBAT ONLY in the file name. For this example I use the Spitfire Fighter)
  • Right-Click the body of the Fighter Plane to activate the iProp interactive menu options
  • Scroll to and Click the Perform option
  • Select the “Toggle Engine On” iAnimation (note: This will apply a rotation animation automatically to the Spitfire Fighter)
  • Move forward in time in your project then Right-Click the body of the Fighter Plane once again
  • Scroll to and Click the Move option
  • Select the “Taxi” iAnimation (note: This will only apply a movement animation automatically to the Spitfire Fighter if you have a Terrain model in the scene as well. Place one in the scene if you do not have one already by going to the Terrain tab and Double-Click one from the Template tab)
  • Click the point on the Terrain model in the scene you wish the Fighter Plane to move to
  • Return to and Click the Perform option and Repeat the application of iAnimations as they apply to your project
  • Apply additional iAnimations such as Gear Up, Fly, Gear down, Land plus more

The Machines of War Fighter Planes are the BF109 and FW190 from Luftwaffe, Spitfire from Royal Air Force and P51 Mustang from USAAF and they come production-ready to take on your most fersome of flights. From Take off to Taxi to the landing strip, you can use iAnimation clips to create endless combinations of aviation oriented animation without all the hassle. If you can move props in iClone you can create convincing flying animations utilizing the highly effective built-in tools found in the Machines of War Fighter Planes. Part 1 of this 2 part tip covers the insertion and application of the Machines of War NON-COMBAT Fighter Planes iAnimation clips, but revisit iClone Certified Training again tomorrow for the follow up, Part 2 Machines of War COMBAT ONLY Fighter Planes tip. The video below shows you step-by-step how you can add these awesome assets to your scene and quickly create War-time animation with the best real-time content pack War-bonds can buy. Enjoy!

08
May
09

Acting Workshop, Natural Facial Performance in both CrazyTalk and iClone 3.2

Your move Einstein

Your move Einstein

Guess who’s back? That’s right, your favorite insane iClone insider is back and with more goodies than ever to share with you, the iCloners of the world. Today’s tip focuses on the new Acting Workshop, Natural Facial Performance content pack by Reallusion. Think of this adding this content pack to your library the same as adding the ability to apply instant emotion to your characters in any project in both iClone and CrazyTalk. Sound good? Well it should because the new Acting Workshop, Natural Facial Performance content pack contains 43 useful common human expressions that according to your performance type and audio, you can insert any facial expression clip that you like during the performance to enable your avatars to perfor and emote accuractely. This pack will let you create high quality CrazyTalk5 movies much easier than before hands down. But in this iClone Tip of the Day I will show you how to use this pack to create high quality Facial Performance in iClone and CrazyTalk. It breaks down like this, first you start with the audio you want to create facial animation with, then you simply apply the expression to match the look and feel you wish for your character to portray using Motion Clips. Follow the steps provided below after purchasing and installing the Acting Workshop, Natural Facial Performance content pack here.

  • Open CrazyTalk
  • Select the Model tab
  • Click the Import Image icon from the top of the left-hand toolbar
  • Fit the Image
  • Refine the Feature Points
  • Select the Script tab
  • Load or Record audio data to the Timeline
  • Click the Motion Clip tab
  • Locate and select the Acting Workshop – Natural Facial Performance folder
  • Choose an Expression folder
  • Click and Drag a Motion Clip to the Timeline where you want that Expression to take place in the facial animation
  • Scrub the Timeline or select Play to review the Natural Facial Performance expression animation
  • Add or Adjust each Motion Clip according to the audio in your project for the best results
  • Click the Add button under the Content Manager
  • Name and Save the custom Natural Facial Performance  CrazyTalk script
  • Open iClone
  • Load an Avatar into the scene
  • Click the Animation Tab from the top
  • Select the Facial Animation button
  • Choose the Custom tab
  • Double-click the Natural Facial Performance  CrazyTalk script
  • Click Play to review the new facial animation and make adjustments if needed in CrazyTalk

Adding the Acting Workshop, Natural Facial Performance content pack to your iClone and CrazyTalk assets is killing two birds with one stone. You get the ability to add this content in countless combinations via Motion Clips in CrazyTalk, instantly giving your actors and avatars the perfect expression line for line, motion for motion. This movement will also carry over to your iClone avatars, actually effecting the mesh and the morphing of the geometry itself, plus the animation data is instantly saved into the iClone library the moment it is saved in CrazyTalk. With over 43 expressions to choose from, the more time you spend on the Timeline in CrazyTalk the more it will pay off in your iClone projects I promise you.

Below is something a bit new to the iClone Certified Training Blog, ME. Well, my iClone identity anyway to give to all my readers a virtual face to attach to both iClone and CrazyTalk training and your overall expirence here at the Blog. The video format is much the same, however there will be a new intro clip with every video from here on out giving a more graphic example of what to expect in and from tip to tip. For today’s tip the video example provided below shows users step by step how to apply the Acting Workshop, Natural Facial Performance content pack to both iClone and CrazyTalk avatars. It’s good to be back! Enjoy!

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!

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!