When the folks at Reallusion released their Character Creator awhile back it was noted to be a very powerful morph slider style custom character creator with a simple interface. It also used custom morphs from both inside and outside of Character Creator. It was well received by the iClone community and that was the only real problem.
It was for iClone only but, as they say, that was then, and this is now!
Fast forward to end of September and the release of the latest incarnation of Character Creator 3. This, now standalone, tool has broken free of iClone’s grip and is an even more powerful tool with loads of new features including remeshing, levels of detail (LOD) for the game engine minded, GoZ for ZBrush users plus the Iray render engine, polycount reduction and more.
Like all Reallusion product updates, Character Creator 3 is loaded with new feature and tools.
We are going to take a quick look at several new features then I will follow up with articles regarding these features in more detail.
Even just touching on a few highlights there is still a lot to go over so let’s get started.
This is a big one. Used to be we used 3DXchange to bring DAZ characters into iClone but they lost a lot of functionality in terms of manipulation in iClone. Now with the new Transformer tool, DAZ characters can become fully functional Character Creator characters allowing for massive customizations and morph slider creations.
I’m not a big user of DAZ characters since I make my own but I was privy to some power users in the beta tests and while the transformer works one needs to remember that it is in its initial release and will probably suffer from some growing pains. What one expects the Transformer to do the other expects it to do something else.
Here is what it does according to Reallusion:
“With Character Creator 3's "Transformer" feature, users are able to convert Daz (G3, G8, Michael 4, Victoria 4) and Hivewire characters into the standard CC3 characters and then take advantage of all the power features of Character Creator.”
Here is it what it does for me:
I exported a DAZ Genesis 8 Male character from DAZ Studio following the export rules provided by Reallusion. Once in Character Creator 3 I imported by the Transformer button and was greeted with an easy to read dialog that bakes textures, locates ini files and sets the layer order. The mesh is then imported into Character Creator 3 for further tweaking, morphing and other general editing.
One noted DAZ/iClone beta tester stated he had so many custom morph sliders now he might not have to ever buy new DAZ content.
A long-awaited feature for ZBrush users. The direct link between CC3 and ZBrush that can not only bring in the character mesh but also the clothing for tweaks for re-sculpting. Seamlessly interchange between CC3 and ZBrush until you are satisfied with the results. No more exporting/importing and so on. Just press the button and jump into ZBrush with the same for the return trip to iClone.
Mesh Polygon Reduction & Remeshing FBX Export
InstaLOD gives us Level of Detail and polycount reduction that has always been needed since iClone is a real-time engine. Its use couldn’t be simpler. The interface is easy to follow. You can reduce by object, element or wearable content (hair, accessories, clothing and so forth).
There is also a new Remeshing feature on FBX export that constructs a new mesh from scratch using input mesh data. According to Reallusion, this involves the generation of maps to reproduce the original mesh resulting in full control of the target face count from millions to thousands.
You can set Level of Detail up to five different levels from Lowest to Highest settings or specify a maximum face count. This is very handy for game characters that use an extremely low LOD in the distance while uses a high poly LOD up close to save system resources.
This reduces the need to jump through hoops in programs like ZBrush or use third-party apps to optimize your characters and accessories as it can be done directly in CC3.
Game Character Conversion
CC3 provides a way to convert your poly heavy characters into game-ready characters. According to Reallusion, CC3’s game character base is a 10k polygon base suitable for massive amounts of NPCs with true to life body and facial animations.
There was so much to test I didn’t have time to look at this as much as I would have liked but I had to set priorities just to get through all the new features. It seemed to work fine as far as reducing a basic CC3 character. I’ll look into this in future installments to nail down more details on how it works.
I did have a blast creating Anima crowds with the game characters.
The goal here is photorealistic images. This can be subjective, but this reviewer found it to be superior to Indigo in both setup, execution and production. With Indigo, there always seemed to material swaps and tweaks but with Iray you can just push the button and get a decent render! Like all renderers, it will take time to learn it but in testing… it was almost as easy as the native renderer with photo-like results.
One of these days we will be asking… “is it real or is it Reallusion?”
While I would dearly love to continue with things we haven’t discussed like the Morph Slider Editor, Skin Weight Editing, better mesh editing we simply haven’t space. Those topics and others will be covered more in depth along with the features mentioned above as our coverage of Reallusion’s new Character Creator 3 continues and… let’s not forget the upcoming update to iClone to make it all play nice together.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.