iClone Character Creation
By David Hague
As we have mentioned previously, iClone6 has a companion application called the iClone Character Creator. As the name suggests, this program allows you to create lifeline animated characters for inclusion in your iClone movies, or indeed your own by using green screen techniques.
Unlike 3D programs such as Cinema 4D or Lightwave, iClone Character Creator comes with basic models you can start with, tweak all facets of the physical attributes, add clothing to and animate so the process is quite painless without having to learn the art of modelling, texturing, inverse kinematics and other complex things other programs need.
Here is a starting introduction to iClone Character Creation (iCC). We'll do this by actually creating a basic character.
When you first start iCC, a blank canvas appears with a default character and panels on either side. On the left hand side is the Content Manager showing all of the types of content available, and on the right hand side is the Modify Panel where individual attributes and parameters of content can be changed and tweaked.
In the Content Manager, as you run the mouse over the icons along the top, you are shown a tooltip as to what each signifies and some sub sections - for example, head, torso, eyes, teeth and so on. There are also folders that can contain items that can you can purchase separately to add to the free iCC library.
When looking at a library of content, if you want to see a different view such as small icons, large icons or a list, press CTRL+1. F4 will hide the content window and F6 the Modify panel. Pressing again returns them of course.
Let's start by adding a blank body to the work canvas. Simply double click the character of choice to load it to the work area. Once loaded, as you mouse over the body, you can see the various parts making up the body getting highlighted in yellow. These areas are called "morphs". You can also change the "full body" morph. This will not change any of the skin features but will for example change the basic "strong male" character to a heavy male character while still retaining the same hair style, body hair and so on.
You can also change the overall head morph as shown and right down to teeth, eyes etc as you see here.
We'll now go back to those yellow areas - the morphs I mentioned earlier. By clicking and dragging, you can change the size of an area such as the neck. The best way to see how this works is to experiment with different areas and see how they change.
You'll notice as you click on an item, it is automatically selected in the modify panel on the right. As you drag to increase or decrease the size, a corresponding slider shows the new value. You can also simply click the slider and drag it to perform the same action. When a slider is active ie you have selected its morph, it has a white circle inside it. To return a value to it default, just double click the slider's text label.
In the content manager, the skin section lets you modify the skin type of the character; the body itself will not change in proportion, just the skin. To go into even more detail and apply such things as tone, age, skin blemishes or even tattoos in the Modify Panel, select the Appearance Editor where these parameters are available to you. You'll need to activate it before use.
In the next part, we'll go into more detail and also clothe our character.
To get the free version of iClone Character Creator, go to www.reallusion.com.