In today's busy world, some of the answers to our questions are right in front of us, but we don't see it. Such a case is InstaLOD and iClone 7.
Ever since Reallusion added InstaLOD to Character Creator 3 I've been drawn into conversations that usually led to someone saying… "I wish InstaLOD was in iClone too."
When I first heard this, I thought they were joking but as the conversation moved on, I realized this was a serious statement. Not only that… this person wasn't alone in the conversation in wishing InstaLOD was in iClone 7.
Finally, utilizing the grace of a gazelle with three broken legs I jumped in and asked if they were serious. InstaLOD IS in iClone 7. At least in the pipeline.
No… that wasn't what they meant. Not characters or accessories… they wanted to crunch props down to more workable polycounts, but Character Creator 3 doesn't work with props.
Now I know what some of you are thinking right about now… accessories are props and props are accessories.
Absolutely and that is the solution.
The practical difference in props and accessories is whether they are attached or not. Once you attach a prop it becomes an accessory and the opposite holds true as well.
Original Polycount: 379K, First Reduction: 189K, Final Reducation: 94K
Attach the prop to a Character Creator 3 character then jump over into CHARACTER CREATOR 3 to use InstaLOD on the prop turned accessory. After crunching, baking or both then jump back to iClone 7, separate the prop and you have an InstaLOD optimized prop using their sweet little algorithm that crunches polys so nicely while retaining form.
No, it doesn't matter which Character Creator 3 character you use as you won't need it when you get back into iClone 7 on the return trip. Yes, I've attached full-scale buildings, spaceships and other objects to a Character Creator 3 avatar just to get it over to InstaLOD.
Are there limits? Don't know at this point. Under 1 million polys I've never run into a prop I couldn't attach and send over to Character Creator 3 to crunch and return to iClone. So far it has always worked but I haven't done it enough to say it works on everything.
I have tried to drag and drop an FBX model directly onto CC3 but it requires an FBX Key to continue. Dragging and dropping an OBJ file did not work as the workspace rejected the file and didn't even attempt to load it.
In the Temple example, you can drag and drop FBX, OBJ files directly into the iClone 7 interface if you have the latest update and 3DXchange installed. This direct method has a few drawbacks but that is for another article as it is still a welcome addition eliminating the need to open and use 3DXchange (which, again, is REQUIRED open or not).
The Render using the InstaLOD reduced Temple Mesh Freebie From TurboSquid
So, in summary, attach the prop you need to optimize to a Character Creator 3 character which makes the button available to jump over to CC3 and beat it into submission with InstaLOD then bring it back to iClone.
Don't try to drag over a million polys or more unless you know your system can handle it or you know how to firehose your machine into submission as it will eat every available clock cycle until your computer is crawling along gasping for you to euthanize it. Pulling the plug may be all you can do if you don't have the patience or time to wait it out.
Again, I'm no expert on this and others have discovered this too. There may be better ways to do this but InstaLOD is a far superior mesh optimizer for my needs and hitching a ride to a CC character gets the meshes were they need to be and back into iClone.
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.