For a period of 6 weeks, I’ll be learning and creating with Reallusion’s Character Creator 3 Pipeline. I’ll be starting out fresh, learning the basics and working on a few creative projects that I hope will expand my skills in CC3. I will share my discoveries and mistakes along the way. Note that I’ll be using the most current version of the program (as of May 30, 2019). Reallusion has kindly made the program available to me for this series. Direct download of the CC3 demo is at Reallusion.com.
Character Creator 3 Roadmap
Before I get into my first project coverage, I wanted to share with you some discoveries I made about the future of CC3. The Reallusion forums are very active and usually quite informative. I discovered an announcement in the CC3 that made me stop and think. Reallusion has a plan for 2019 which includes (after the initial launch of CC3 in late 2018).
Serving up functions that add variety to characters and optimizing 3rd party engine pipelines have always been our goal as a universal character creation platform. 2019 will feature four major updates: Full Game Pipeline, HD Skin Generator, HD Film Base, Face Creation Plugin. I don’t want to go into too much detail here. You can access the full announcement here: https://forum.reallusion.com/403226/Character-Creator-2019-Roadmap
Suffice to say that Reallusion has got some great ideas for adding on and improving CC3. They want to be the “go to program for creating content for Unity and Unreal”. And that’s just for 2019!
First Project: A Realistic Portrait
I wanted to do a portrait for my first project because it’s not too complex. Doing a portrait also allows me to focus on just facial morphs and details. After a little research, I chose to re-create a portrait from a book that I found interesting. The book is That Old Ace in the Hole by Any Proulx published by Simon and Schuster. The book features small town anecdotes and country stories. It was very well received. I really liked the photo on the cover of the first edition.
I liked the simple, open look of the character in the photo along with the hat. Having grown up in Arizona I’m familiar with this kind of cowboy look and wanted to recreate it.
Not finding a good hat in the base props of CC3 Pipeline, I went to their marketplace and found a nice assortment of hats that included on that I thought would work. I ordered it for $10 and the process went seamlessly. Now that I had the right hat and reasonable clothing, I started in on the figure and the face model.
I stumbled around a bit, but finally managed to get a plane for the background. Found a good wood paneling at pixabay.comand just dropped in onto the material/diffuse channel where it appeared immediately. After resizing it looked perfect. Next, I add an additional light (point light) which I placed above and close to the face so I could get the slight burn look that overhead lighting adds. Now it was time for facial morphs.
I spent several hours working on this. Several ways to do it: you can choose the sliders route where you pick your body part and then adjust the sliders that appear, you can choose basic facial morphing where you can choose an existing expression or adjust eyes, nose, etc., and finally, you can sculpt the actual mesh of the character. In experimenting, I used all three methods.
Everything went smoothly until I discovered I couldn’t adjust the mouth as much as I wanted to. Just couldn’t get the smile off of the models face. There’s no slider for “vacuous” so I kept puttering away. Finally, I had something close and wanted to age the character. Unfortunately, I’m working with a C3 model (newest) and it’s not set up for aging yet. You can only do that with the C1 model. I wasn’t going to start over so I decided to create a more original looking character and drop the effort to re-create from a photo. I had some sticky problems in rendering, but they were all the result of my own mistakes. Once I sorted them out I got a great Iray render that I’m proud of. I call the character “Clint the cowboy”. It's not the look I set out to recreate, but I improvised and came up with my own character. A few problems in the outside of the eyes, but I'll fix it for next time.
Overall, I liked doing this first project, but a tiny bit frustrated with CC3. It looks like you can start the project with CC1 character then after you are finished adjusting materials convert it to CC3. There's a video, I think. I'll let you know more next week
Note that Reallusion offers a generous 30 day demo of CC3 Pipeline. It has few limitations and is quite robust even for a demo. I recommend you follow the download link and work with the program with me over the next 6 weeks.