DIGITAL PUPPETS UK
On the planet of animation and digital avatars, creating lifelike and stylized characters is an important ability. I’m Antony Evans, the co-founder of Digital Puppets, an animation studio within the UK specializing in character design, animation, and digital avatars. I’ve labored as character designer for a few years for studios equivalent to Disney, Warner Bros, and the BBC.
In the present day we’ll take you thru the method of making “Lil Lewis Capaldi“ for TikTok social media content material. In Half 1, we’ll exhibit how one can construct the character utilizing Character Creator 4, and in Half 2, we’ll delve into the animation workflow we employed in iClone 8.
Half 1 – Creating the rigged Lewis Capaldi 3D mannequin
On this video, we’ll information you thru the levels of remodeling the character right into a extra cartoony fashion by adjusting proportions and options. Utilizing the instruments out there in Character Creator 4 (CC4) , we are able to simply remodel the bottom mesh right into a customized design, and nonetheless retain the facial features and animation rig.
Headshot AI plugin for Character Creator 4
To start, we utilized an internet picture of Lewis Capaldi and imported it into Headshot, the ai face creation plugin for Character Creator 4. When working with Headshot, it’s important to make use of a high-resolution picture with even lighting. Often, changes could also be vital for the picture, and you need to use Photoshop to handle points, as we did on this case (involving the removing of the perimeter).
Headshot is a good way to create a likeness from a photograph, it does a great job of matching the proportions and provides an awesome base for creating your character. We’re wanting ahead to working with Headshot in our upcoming tasks and being able to work with scanned 3D heads, particularly now that there are some nice apps you need to use in your cellphone to get spectacular scans.
ZBrush and GoZ
We’ve discovered that the Character Creator GoZ characteristic is especially useful for quickly making mesh adjustments and sending the mannequin forwards and backwards. This permits us to check out the general look of the character earlier than entering into the finer particulars. The identical consequence may be achieved utilizing the edit mesh and morph instruments in Character Creator 4, so it does come all the way down to personally desire. We now have been working with ZBrush for a few years now, so this workflow works greatest for us, however that’s one of many issues we love about Character Creator is that it could match right into a workflow that works greatest for you.
Hair and Clothes
We wished to maintain this video brief so we didn’t go into SkinGen and including clothes as there are already detailed movies on the market on how this works and can be very simple to make use of. However SkinGen is one other highly effective pores and skin texture plugin for Character Creator 4, it’s a useful gizmo we use on a regular basis so as to add these last refined particulars, including components like pores and blemishes to the pores and skin actually assist to offer your character extra life. Additionally, with the hair and clothes we labored with the default objects from the Reallusion content material library so as to add a easy t-shirt and denims to the mannequin. For the hair and eyebrows we used Luis Duarte’s La Familia Content pack.
On this 1st tutorial, we’ll conclude by loading the unique mannequin we created. The mannequin within the video will ultimately match the earlier one however requires repeating the steps beforehand proven within the video, tweaking proportions in ZBrush, and utilizing the Edit Expressions sliders till it exactly resembles the unique. We didn’t wish to undergo all of the steps in attending to that unique design as it’s only a case of repeating the forwards and backwards to ZBrush.
Half 2 – Animating Face and Physique of Lewis Capaldi 3D Mannequin with iClone
In Half 2, we’ll break down how we animated the unique video. We’ve arrange the scene as a template, permitting us to create new movies swiftly. As soon as the character is rigged and configured, we are able to effortlessly insert a brand new track and matching animation—very best for producing content material for platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts.
For facial expressions and lip sync, we select to make the most of the iPhone and LIVE FACE plugin for iClone. Whereas AccuLIPs can be utilized with an audio observe with solely vocals, we’ve discovered it faster to sync the lip actions in actual time with the track. Should you’re aware of your complete track, it makes the method even simpler. Nonetheless, we work line by line, recording every line individually after which merging them collectively. This methodology works exceptionally nicely for syncing with rap music.
The animation’s movement is comparatively easy, because it primarily entails the character singing in a single spot. We work lots with the preset animations and motions we discover on the ActorCore web site. On this video we simply wished so as to add an idle animation to deliver some life to the character, so he was simply stood nonetheless on the spot, so we used the breath animation that comes included in iClone. We then present how we added attain targets to connect the arms to the microphone, which allowed us to animate the arms and arms transferring by transferring the microphone round. The attain instrument is a really highly effective instrument when working with characters interacting with objects.
When establishing lighting in iClone we at all times begin out by attempting all of the preset lights, as soon as now we have one that appears good or near what we’re after we are able to then teak by including or eradicating the lights till we get what we’re after. We additionally like so as to add in some volumetric lighting, as this actually provides to the environment of the scene.
On this video now we have saved the digital camera work fairly easy, you will get some nice outcomes with simply a few cameras and nicely timed digital camera cuts. When working with a music observe we attempt to time the digital camera cuts to the adjustments within the track. You possibly can add tons or cameras and attention-grabbing pictures, however with this explicit video we wished to maintain the give attention to the character and hold a slower tempo.
The video hopefully exhibits a workflow that demonstrates how shortly you possibly can create a customized character and animated content material. With platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts demanding fast content material creation, this methodology has confirmed efficient for us.
As soon as the template is ready up, you possibly can allocate time every day to create a brand new video or spend a day crafting a number of movies for scheduled releases. Character Creator and iClone options, equivalent to Goz, LIVE FACE and preset animation content material can actually pace up your manufacturing, which permits you extra time to make extra content material.
Be part of our Discord channel at https://discord.gg/28DNM9A94P should you’re an iClone, Unreal Engine, Character Animator, LIVE2D consumer, in search of recommendation, or desirous to share your work. We hope to construct an lively group and welcome animators of all types to hitch us, share your most well-liked applications, and foster a studying surroundings for everybody.