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Thread: Still Looking at - Reallusion

  1. #1
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    Still Looking at - Reallusion

    So I'm still checking out Reallusion iClone / Character Creator / Skingen and thought I would share this video.

    Director/Cinematographer Does Batman Fan Film with iClone Character Creator & Unreal Engine Pipeline

    It would be a while before I can make the investment in this software that I want to make... but just watching some of their tutorials in the Pipeline section, it seems very worth the investment if you want to rapidly generate rigged, realistic, and unique characters for use in Unreal or other applications.

    Between Skingen, InstaLOD, and their Unreal pipeline, I'm still kinda sold on the software.

    Here's a link to their Character Creator 3 tutorial page if anyone wants to take a deeper dive. I definitely recommend the Pipeline section for information on getting CC3 characters into other software and game engines.

    Tutorials

    *Sorry - forgot the text for the Tutorials link, so it didn't show up
    Last edited by RPSchmidt; 08-18-2020 at 09:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    I got a license of Character Creator 3 Pipeline (instaLOD included) and Headshot last month. I am still on the fence about the skingen. The project that I am working on requires a lot of different characters, and I just do not have the time, nor the want or motiviation, to manually create them.

    While I like the software (Headshot is a hoot!), I very much dislike how Reallusion milks their users. I paid around $300, and now they want an extra $149, or so, for features which I feel should be part of the software.

    Don't misunderstand me: I think it works really well. I created a Bowie-lookalike Goblin King character within 30 minutes of first opening the software, which would have taken me at least a few days to get right by hand. Exporting the character to Blender was faultless. It just works, and the LOD controls work great.

    Just be prepared to drop a wad of $ bills into an ever-expanding and confusing list of modules, assets, and extensions. Want aged bodies for your characters? $$$ POW! But you will also require skingen! $$$ kAPOW! Need some makeup textures? $$$ KABLOOIE!

    Their selling strategy is bundling up modules and selling those at always-reduced prices (like those carpet dealers). Point in case: iClone animators have to pay extra to get their hands on a graph editor! That is just plain crazy.

    So to get "the ULTIMATE DIGITAL HUMAN CREATION BUNDLE" will cost ya a healthy $449 smackaroos.

    Not saying it might not be worth it, but that pricing doesn't even include a decent library of clothing - which Reallusion sells separately on their market place. And if your project requires younger characters? $$$ BAM! Throw more money at it!

    I like the software, but I very much hate the company for their business practices. Their site keeps opening links in new windows which is also typical for their selling approach. They are REALLY good at promoting their tools through those indie projects, though forget to mention those indies paid Reallusion at least $2000 to get there.

    With the pipeline extension it is possible to export the characters and textures to any 3d software. I intend to do custom texturing in Armor Paint, and clothing in an external tool.

    I would like those extra body morphs and the realistic Skingen, though. But, yeah: cough up an extra $150 first, mate. Which means I spent almost $500 on Character Creator alone. For semi-naked hairless characters. But hey, at least the women have makeup on their faces, and the guys tattoos. Great if your project is some kind of weird digital porn...

    Oh wait, did I mention all the characters in Character Creator are like Ken and Barbie in their private parts? Porn is out!
    Last edited by Rayek; 08-18-2020 at 04:53 PM.
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    Does this mean Character Creator/Skingen/Headshot characters come into Lightwave without the use of 3DXchange (and might there be a workflow to have the facial expressions as endomorphs) ?
    Last edited by TheLexx; 08-18-2020 at 08:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Correct. If you get the Pipeline version, it allows for FBX export with dedicated FBX settings for Max, Maya, Blender, Cinema4d, Motion Builder, Unity, and Unreal. The current pose or calibration pose can be exported (animation too, but there is no animation in CC of course, although it exports a pose test animation).

    You also get the level of detail option (remesher), with which the exported mesh resolution can be controlled. Multiple versions can be exported simultaneously. The texture size can also be controlled: 512, 1024, 2048 and 4096 square px. Maps exported are diffuse, normal, metallic, glow, ao, roughness. When exporting the original model maps are exported in separate folders for different body parts (body, arms, legs, nails, head, etc), with additional maps (SSS for example).

    This is what convinced me to purchase CC Pipeline + headshot, because the import is flawless. Blender takes a minute or two for the import to finish. The character is imported with bones, and can be posed (no control rig, however).

    It is even possible to re-import an exported character into Character creator if the mesh is not changed. I still have to test this, and see if moved vertices are problematic or not - if not, it should be possible to sculpt a character's body and re-import into Character Creator for other edits.



    Result in Blender:


    And I tested it in Layout as well for you (the import axis was wrong, but this can be fixed in the export properties - see first screenshot). Importing took less time than Blender, but still about a minute.

    PS I now realize import took so long because the pose and test animation was part of the character export. If only the current pose is exported, both apps load the model quickly.

    Last edited by Rayek; 08-18-2020 at 09:09 PM.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Addendum to answer whether morphs are imported or not:

    With the LOD version the morphs are lost. The regular (original) model export retains the morphs for the face. No body morphs.

    Here is a screenshot of Morph Mixer. Word of warning: performance of these morphs is much worse in Layout compared to Blender. On my machine layout updates a morph slider perhaps once a second, while in Blender it is a pretty smooth experience. I have no idea why Layout is so much slower, but it definitely degrades the enjoyment of posing the face.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayek View Post
    Just be prepared to drop a wad of $ bills into an ever-expanding and confusing list of modules, assets, and extensions. Want aged bodies for your characters? $$$ POW! But you will also require skingen! $$$ kAPOW! Need some makeup textures? $$$ KABLOOIE!

    Their selling strategy is bundling up modules and selling those at always-reduced prices (like those carpet dealers). Point in case: iClone animators have to pay extra to get their hands on a graph editor! That is just plain crazy.

    So to get "the ULTIMATE DIGITAL HUMAN CREATION BUNDLE" will cost ya a healthy $449 smackaroos.
    Yes... that is why I am both on the fence about the purchase and also not ready to commit... because I actually want the ultimate kit and a few other extras.

    Clothing I'm not too worried about... there are other options for clothing. I mean, it would be faster to purchase ready-made sets, but not necessarily better, and certainly not better on the pocket book.

    But for the pipeline... I mean, just being able to rapidly generate unique characters, rigged and ready for use... that already puts you miles ahead in terms of development hours. Time that can be spent on clothing, accessories, environment, etc.

  7. #7
    Founding member raymondtrace's Avatar
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    The key to buying Reallusion is getting on their marketing mailing list and waiting for a frequent sale.
    LW4, 7.5D, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020 running portably on a USB drive.
    Active LW Development in 2020: DB&W | Deep FX | DPont | LWCAD | TrueArt | ...

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    Oh, also, thanks for the information and feedback, Rayek... I really appreciate it!

  9. #9
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPSchmidt View Post
    But for the pipeline... I mean, just being able to rapidly generate unique characters, rigged and ready for use... that already puts you miles ahead in terms of development hours. Time that can be spent on clothing, accessories, environment, etc.
    Agreed, that is why I invested in it, and with Headshot it is super simple to generate believable unique characters. I combined the faces of two well-known actors in an image editor to create a unique face yet "familiar" face, and it worked really well.

    Today I got an email with a 2-in-1 deal which includes Skingen Premium plus Realistic Skin and Ultimate Morphs. I might just cave in.

    Realistic Skin is really just a skin texturing library with an export license (in order to use the generated textures royalty free in your projects), while UM is a 12 body morph library with the same export license. But with Skingen Premium it becomes a bit more attractive, since it opens up a vast variety of skin texturing combos, and the option to load up your own.

    PS I have been researching 3d paint apps to further edit the textured 3d characters. 3D Coat, Substance Painter were at the top of my list. But yesterday I discovered this little gem called "Layer Painter": a $20 Blender add-on, which adds layered PBR texturing/painting plus masks and other goodies. It works extremely well with the exported CC character.

    Very happy with Layer Painter so far, and this saves me from having to sink in more money and time in a third-party painting tool, and the plugin generates the material nodes on the fly. And I detest rental-only apps (SB Painter).

    Check out this short video on Layer Painter:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu-AOc4M_KU
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    I think I'm going to go ahead and save up a bit, then buy everything I need / want at one time.

    Appreciate the info on Layer Painter... I have 3d Coat, so I think I'm set there, plus most of my work is still in Lightwave. Right now, I primarily use Blender for smoke/fire and water, although strongly considering splurging on Embergen and still considering Deep FX.

  11. #11
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    I have the complete suite of Reallusion iClone 7 Pipeline tools, I just haven't had the time to fully explore it yet. FWIW, I started out using iClone with Pipeline to replace Motion Builder...it's actually not bad for that. I'm using it to edit data from iPi Motion Capture to LightWave. You'll want to get the curve editor add-on...not sure why this isn't native to the program. Of course, iClone offers a lot more than that and I eventually want to use the program for a quickly produced web series I have in mind. But that's not happening for some time yet. For now, I'll keep using iClone as a Motion Builder replacement.

    Much of my personal time lately is being spent in Reallusion's 2D animation program Cartoon Animator 4 Pipeline. It's similar to another 2D animation program we use at work called Moho Pro. I'm finding CA is not nearly as flexible as Moho but it's interesting that CA's rigging and animation concepts share similarities with 3D mocap animation programs like Motion Builder and, not surprisingly, iClone. BTW, like iClone, CA doesn't have a native curve editor but it's not available as an option either. (Not yet, anyway. Ahrg.)

    I recently got a Leap Motion device to record hand and finger motions for 2D characters in CA; this same system is also used in iClone for recording hand and finger motions for 3D characters. I finally set up the Leap Motion the other evening and will play around with it this weekend. (If I have time, I'll try the device out in iClone too.)

    I guess if I have a complaint about Reallusion it's that, yes, they charge you for every specialty feature (lile the aforementioned curve editor, particle effects plugin, mocap plugins and individual device profiles, etc.) Of course, you don't have to buy everything they make to animate with their programs but, for me, I have so far needed or at least intend to use a lot of the specialty tools to use in my personal projects. (Sometimes, I wish I could buy time to actually use all of these tools. Anybody have a coupon for that?)

    Which reminds me, Reallusion does have frequent sales on their products, so if you're interested, you should get on their mailing list.

    I just added the Skin Gen bundle because they have a good introductory promo going on right now. I'm such a sucker.

  12. #12
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPSchmidt View Post
    ...most of my work is still in Lightwave.
    Same here for my 3D work, both at home and at my workplace. ATM, the Reallusion stuff is just something I'm exploring at home for fun. For me, I really don't see iClone replacing LightWave for serious VFX work, but it may open doors for other type of work I have in mind.

    And, in some ways, I think it can be a good helper program in my LightWave work.

  13. #13
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Sigh. I caved, and got the special "3-in-1" deal 1 day before the end of last month. Now the proud owner of the full suite of Character Creator tools, including SkinGen. It just saves so much time, and the characters look very nice, and remain poseable in your 3d app. They can be made to look more customized by simply sculpting a bit as well. Which means I can focus on world building and hard-surface modeling, which I enjoy more.

    The only thing I did not get is the makeup package. I can paint that sort of thing easily myself. Basically just a texture package.
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