Using CC3 characters in Unity: Animation tips

Sep 19, 2021 at 04:15 am by nemirc

For one of our current projects, Killer Dolls Battle Arena, the characters (protagonists and enemies) are created in CC3, although rigs come from Mixamo or CC3 depending on the need.

The gameplay models are rigged and animated in Mixamo, for two reasons: first, I found it a lot faster to just have the rigged character in Mixamo and use the animations downloaded from the website without any additional work (you can use Mixamo animations in iClone, but you need to convert it to Motion files using  3DXchange); and second, the characters appear tiny on the screen so I don’t need all the micro-details from the animations (unlike Just Let Me Go, where the character is prominently featured on the screen).

However, there are times when the character is shown up close. First, the game features a model gallery where you can see the protagonists in full view. In this case, I created “idle animations” in iClone, and then used those directly in Unity.

And second, during gameplay you can perform a special attack and, when you do, characters perform a short animation before actually launching the attack. These animations are also created in iClone.

Previously, I wrote about using CC3 characters in Unity, importing character animations and configuring the biped character for Mecanim. When working on this game, I discovered I didn’t need to do all that, and that I could actually import animations separately, and apply them to the character I had already imported into Unity.

What I did was use the Exporter in CC3 with the Unity 3D preset, Mesh and Motion as the options, and then adding my iClone animations (I did two exports, one with the super-move animations, and another one with the model gallery animations). Optionally you can decide whether or not you bake all the textures into LOD textures or not (using InstaLOD Merge Material UV). However, if you want to keep facial animations do not use InstaLOD Remesher during export (on a side note, for the gameplay characters in the top-down view, I did use Remesher).

Then, I just grabbed the exported FBX into Unity. The animations are seen there. You can safely rename the animations in the Animation section of the Inspector. However, do not modify anything in the Model or Rig sections.

I also exported a character with no animations, and I manually setup the materials and textures for this character (I am using Unity 2021 and the auto-setup is not available here, but that is not an issue at all in Unity). This is the character I will use for all the different instances where the full quality character needs to be used (model gallery, super moves, and any other situation that may come down the line). I left the character with the default import settings, and that includes leaving it as “generic” for the animation type, and no Avatar definition.

It turns out, you don’t need to set it up as Humanoid to use the Animator. I created an Animator where I included the three super moves, and I call any of them from programming as I need them.

Of course, this method has its downsides. Using the “Generic” rig means you don’t have access to the fancier Mecanim features, like animation layers, since they need an Avatar definition. In the end, you need to decide what features from Mecanim you need (if any), or if using the Generic rig works for you. Of course, you can also use a hybrid setup, like what I did, and use a Mixamo character setup for gameplay, and use the CC3 rig + iClone animations for things like cinematics.

Remember the important part is know what you can get away with. If your game is more action oriented, maybe you can use a Mixamo rig, since things happen so fast players may not pay attention to micro-details like facial animation, and this would let you work with a Mecanim rig. However, if your game is more “cinematic” (like Until Dawn) you will definitely need to use the iClone animations to get all those nice details in the animation.

And this is it. I hope you found this useful.

Sections: Tips + Tutorials

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