iClone 8.1 Two-Way Data Link to Unreal 5

Nov 01, 2022 at 06:30 am by Warlord720

Live Link has been a boon to many users that animate in iClone and render in Unreal Engine. There are definite advantages to using Live Link since it’s been introduced versus the old drag-and-drop FBX method of times past.

This latest iClone update, 8.1, now has a full framed, two-way data link. While Live Link itself has been around for a while now there has still been a lot of export and import to get props or markers placed that mirror both environments. Once you have some time under your belt it was not a problem, but the learning curve could be steep for some users at that initial point, or chokepoint as it were.

Live Link has gotten easier to use as it matures but this latest update cures a lot of ills. It never was bugs in the plugin. It was the amount of extra work necessary to export and move over placeholder props from one environment to the other for proper placement of the animated objects on the return trip to Unreal.

The update brings a much more robust connection that now works both ways.  You can build your scene (map) in Unreal and with a right-click menu choice send any mesh or the entire scene over to iClone for the exact placement of animated characters and props.

Timeline scrubs or movement in iClone are reflected in the Unreal editor. Depending on how much of a load you are working with, things might jump around in Unreal as you move the timeline in iClone. It’s not in exact sync on my RTX 3060 with 12 Gigs but that is just while working with it. It may seem everything is out of sync but the recorded version from the sequencer will be without errors or drops.

Dropped frames were a problem in the earlier version of the plugin. It could make the animation look sloppy depending on where the frames dropped. Movement could jump. Not a lot in most cases but more than enough to notice. As jaded as animation customers are now any little jump is usually noticed.

Like a lot of us, I float back and forth between Omniverse and Unreal Engine. Covering both in cinematic terms used to be a difficult task with Omniverse being the early leader in with its ease of use. Now Unreal has caught up with Omniverse in that area at least for cinematic users. Master the sequencer and a few other tools and you can start pumping out some great cinematic environments in a much shorter time.

It used to be when I would do something in Ureal, I would have to relearn a lot of basics if I didn’t use the engine enough. Every time was almost like starting over but now, I can jump right back into using it as the basics for cinematics aren’t as high a bar as creating a game with the engine.

The new data link just makes me want to use it more. The ability to send assets back and forth is a major difference that cannot be stressed enough. As long as the two apps are linked, everything is ok. When you unlink, an object that was transferred from iClone may jump out of view, but the prop is still there because it did jump, probably back to its root. Just activate the link in iClone and everything pops back into place in Unreal.

It all works well together in the long run with a much smoother video without dropping frames making your animation look like it should, with no compromises.

For more information:

iClone 8.1 Unreal Live Link Two-Way Data Link

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

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