For the last 6 weeks, I’ve worked with Reallusion’s Character Creator 3 Pipeline. I’ve shared my discoveries and mistakes along the way. Note that I used 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. I also found myself working with iClone 7, the companion application (although it is indeed a standalone program) to Character Creator.
In last weeks episode, I continued to work on the problem of my character's hat and how to get it attached to his head. I also continued to discuss exporting your character to other programs like Unreal and ZBrush.
IClone 7 Lip-Sync/Facial Puppeteering using CC3 Character
Rather than work with Unity again, I wanted to continue to work with my Clint character. So I decided to send him to IClone 7 and do a quick lip-sync and facial puppet work. I realize it’s outside the focus on CC3, but I was curious and wanted to see how it was done. As I mentioned previously, IClone is really an essential tool to pair with CC3, so I certainly feel the time was well spent.
Lip-sync is easy in IClone 7. Record your piece (either from within IClone 7 or via an outside source as a .wav file). Make sure the timeline is checked in the view menu. Choose “Create Script” from the Modify menu on the right then open your .wav file and IClone will automatically create a default lip sync. You can control the strength of the sync with a slider. After experimenting a bit, I chose to lower the strength a bit. The result is not that bad, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get a realistic lip-sync. Fortunately, IClone makes this easy with direct edit of the phoneme track in the timeline.
I also did some basic facial puppetting which is a lot of fun. There are several different was to create expressive facial movements. You can do it live like I did or you can choose from pre-sets and then edit those. You can even do a combination of both. I did two passes on Clint’s facial expressions and then exported it as a video file (export capabilities are really good). The result is, at best, a place to start. A lot more work has to go into lip sync and more subtle facial expressions. All told it took me about an hour to get this done.
I think it’s pretty neat to create your own original character, give it interesting clothing and then make the character talk and emote in a video. I certainly enjoyed the process using CC3 and IClone 7.
Final Thoughts on CC3 Pipeline
If you have been following along on this 6 weeks project, it must be obvious that I only just touched on what you can do with this excellent character creation program. I didn’t even get into lighting or materials work all that much. During my research, I watched an excellent Reallusion tutorial on using CC3 with ZBrush. I wanted to create a project, but just didn’t have the time. 6 weeks just isn’t enough time to cover all of what CC3 can do.
I really liked working with CC3 Pipeline as the interface and workflow are very intuitive (unlike some other programs I’ve reviewed recently) which makes it so much more fun to create characters. CC3 comes with a good assortment of assets, although you’ll probably have to buy an asset package or two to get up to the level you need to work regularly with the program. I’m also very impressed with how CC3 Pipeline makes game-ready character creation a big part of the program. I didn’t talk much about LOD (level of detail) settings, but you can easily reduce the amount of triangles your model is composed to a much more appropriate level for use in a game. Perhaps I’ll explore this more and share a tutorial or future article.
What I’m saying here is that CC3 Pipeline is now a permanent part of my own personal set of applications. I’m throwing some older programs and putting CC3 Pipeline near the top. I’m already thinking of new characters and scenes to create in CC3 Pipeline (and IClone) for the future. And isn’t that the best compliment you can make about a program - it inspires you to create new things from your imagination.
My thanks to Reallusion for providing CC3 Pipeline, IClone 7 and asset packs for this review. I also want to thank Katharina Boehm who, with the Reallusion tech team, answered my noobie questions and even made a instruction video for me. That’s over and above in my book. BTW, Reallusion support (forums, tutorials, etc.) is very good. I’ve found many answers to questions on the CC3 forum there.
Note that Reallusion offers a generous 30 day demo of CC3 Pipeline. It has few limitations and is quite robust even for a demo.