Adventurer Character (Non-Competition Character)

julSan
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julSan null
Hello everyone. I am a freelance artist working with Reallusion for the Character Creator 1.5 launch.  I'm not going to be competing, but I'm going to post alongside all the other artists here to give a demonstration on the custom clothing workflow that is new to Character Creator 1.5. Good luck everyone!

Here is the character that I'm working on:

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  • julSan
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    julSan null
    I started off using Character Creator's morph sliders to get as close as I could to the design. I turned off the skin textures first since I like starting off my characters with a plain shader. The most important part is getting the the proportions correct.
    I then exported an OBJ to edit in Zbrush. The great thing is, Character Creator now exports in quads so it's easy to sculpt it in Zbrush.



    Then it's time to edit in Zbrush.




    And here's the high-res sculpt. I only worked on her head since that's the only part of her that's exposed.


    And now back to Character Creator by creating a custom morph slider.


    Up next: clothes.

  • julSan
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    julSan null
    To start off with the clothes, I imported the provided female base model .obj file.

    Edit: The body template files can be downloaded here:
    http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/character-creator/custom-outfit.html



    I then built the high-res clothes and the hair strips on top of it.





    Once all the high-res models are done, it's time to start retopologizing.

  • douglassoares
    Nice one!  I like the ear and the face touch which you did.
    Why you will not participate?
  • AdventDestiny
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    AdventDestiny polycounter lvl 2
    This is a great demonstration, this is exactly what I want to do with my character in this challenge! Oh please Reallusion hurry up and get that special trial version of iClone 6 running!
  • julSan
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    julSan null
    Thanks!

    douglassoares, I'm not competing because I'm working for Reallusion on this launch as a demo artist.

    Now for the next few steps. I'm using Blender as my main DCC for this project, but most major 3D programs with the ability to export FBX files would work. Here is the low resolution topology.



    At this point it would be prudent to check if the clothes you made look good with your custom morphs, so I'm going to do a test export to Character Creator. Character Creator needs a mesh with UVs, so you could do a temporary unwrap just so that Character Creator will accept your meshes.

     To bring your clothes into Character Creator, you need to bind the clothes to one of the provided fbx body templates. In my case, it's the "Female.fbx" file. I bind the clothes to the armature and and do a basic skin weights transfer using Blender's transfer weights. To do this, first select the body then shift-select the clothes and the go into weight paint mode. You can access the transfer weights from there as shown below. It also shows the transfer weights settings that I used.




    One more thing to note for Blender users is that you need to remove the vertex groups with "Nub" at the end or the import in Character Creator will fail. I just use a script I found online to remove vertex groups with zero weights.



    Now to export the FBX. Reallusion recommends exporting to FBX 2012, but Blender users could use the default FBX 7.4 binary. I've had no problems with it. You just need to uncheck the "Add Leaf Bones" option in the Armatures portion of the options.



    Once the FBX in exported, you can bring it into Character Creator through the Create>Cloth, Hair, Acc... menu button. Select your FBX file and in the next menu that pops up, select the fbxkey file of the body template that you used. In my case it's the Female.fbxkey file.



    Then this window pops up. You just need to adjust the layer numbers that determine the collision order of the meshes.


    If the import fails without warning, you could try exporting separate FBX files for your various clothes or hair meshes. If you do it this way, you just need to save  out custom templates of the meshes you saved out separately. I had to export the hair and the bandana separately because they were both being read as hair meshes. If everything goes right, you'll end up with something like this:




    You can then test out your clothes with the custom morph slider you created. For this example, I had to recreate the morph slider using the current morph as the source morph since I originally created it with the default morph. This is what she looks like at this stage. I turned off the textures again so that it isn't too distracting.



    Once everything looks good, you could start working on your proper UV layouts, map baking, and texturing.




  • chancellor
    Thank you for providing these examples for us. Hope you don't mind a few questions....

    Why did you create your clothing using the default female mesh and then apply your custom character morph to everything, versus exporting your custom character and creating the clothes directly on that?

    In some of the tutorials I've been looking at, the 3DXchange tool is used for import/export when going between iClone/CC and other tools. However, both iClone and CC seem to import/export both obj and fbx files. What is the purpose of using 3DXchange instead of just importing/exporting into and out of iClone/CC?

    For this contest, I'd like to use CC to create a rigged base mesh for my character, sculpt and texture the character in Zbrush and Substance, adjust the skinning of my CC-rigged character in Maya, use iClone for it's animation abilities, and then render my animated character in Maya. Would 3DXchange be necessary for any of those steps? Will your examples here demonstrate some of this workflow? I would like to avoid doing any rigging or animation on my own, and I think iClone/CC will help with that but I am a little unsure of the overall iClone/CC workflow for something like this.

    Is it possible to create a custom morph in Character Creator and then bring this morph slider with your character into iClone as an animatable slider?

    Thanks, again, for your demos and thanks in advance for any information you can give me here. Sorry if this is the wrong place for these type of questions.

    Cheers!
  • julSan
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    julSan null
    @chancellor: As far as I know, 3DXchange is required for iClone and Character Creator to export to other formats. For example, if you don't have 3DXchange Pipeline then Character Creator will not be able to export FBX files which is required to edit clothes on custom characters and to export rigged and animated characters. I'm using this workflow for this demonstration since not everyone will have access to 3DXchange Pipeline.  As for creating an animatable slider in iClone, I'm actually not that familiar with iClone so I don't have an answer for you. Sorry about that.


    Here are some more updates.

    The next thing I did was texture everything. I used Blender for UV mapping and Substance painter for texturing the clothes. I painted the custom skin textures in Blender because the Substance painter version I'm  using can't paint across multiple texture sets (can it do that now?).








    Back in Character Creator, this is what she looks like. I just loaded the diffuse and the normal maps since I still have to convert the PBR maps into something usable by Character Creator.





    To bring textures into Character Creator, you simply have to click on your object and go the the Material tab.



  • julSan
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    julSan null
    Up next is applying proper skin weights to your bind. To help us out with this process, Reallusion has provided animated FBX files to help check if the skin weighting is correct. In the provided body templates folder, these are the FBX files marked with _calibration. Now here's where it can get a little tricky. I've never been able to import clothes bound to the animated _calibration files. I'm not sure if this is a Blender only problem or if this will happen with other programs as well, but for me this required a work around where I transfer the properly skin weighted clothes onto the standard body template. I will discuss this in more detail in a while. First, I do the skin weights on the calibration file. Transfering weights is fine for skin-tight clothing with similar topology to the body mesh, but meshes like the clothes I made require some manual skin weight painting.


    You can use the calibration files to check for any errors in the weighting.




    Now to transfer to the standard body template. On the first frame, I remove all the armature modifiers from the clothes. This makes it so that they are no longer bound to the armature while retaining all their vertex weights. 



    I then delete all the objects that came with the Female_Calibration.fbx file (armature, body, teeth, eyes, etc.) and then import the the standard Female.fbx file. When parenting the clothes to the new armature, select Armature Deform. This will bind the geometry to the armature using the existing vertex groups as weights instead of creating new ones.


    For users of other 3D programs, check to see if they have any methods of transfering skin weights. Maya, for instance, can import and export skin weights by exporting multiple image files which can be read back as weights.

    Lastly, it's time to bind the accessories. Accessories need only to be parented to bones for Character Creator to recognize them. In Blender, select the object and then shift-select the bone (in pose mode) that you want to parent to and then parent to bone. In this case, I'm parenting her earrings to the CC_Base_Head bone.



    From here on out you can bring the clothes into Character Creator as explained in my previous post.

    Once you're back in Character Creator, you can make further edits to your character's morphs or even edit the items you imported. In my case, I had to reposition her earrings by moving them slightly and fixed some interpenetration of the clothes using the Edit Mesh Mode.



    One more thing you can do in Character Creator before moving further down the pipeline is to hide portions of the body mesh that are covered by clothing. This makes it so that the body mesh won't penetrate the clothes. To do this, select the body and then go in to Edit Mesh Mode. Check Backface Selection so that you can select faces that are not visible to the camera. Select the faces that you want to hide and then press the hide button.


    Here's what she looks like at this point. She can now be posed and animated. I also went and converted the PBR textures to something that Character Creator and iClone can use.



    This character is now ready for body animations, but with a stylized face like this I will still need to fix her facial animation morphs in 3DXchange.
  • julSan
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    julSan null
    To make this character fully animatable, we will need to fix her face morphs in 3DXchange. First, export an iAvatar file of your character and then open it in 3DXchange. 



    In 3DXchange, drag the Modify panel (on the right by default) down until you see Face Setup. This contains the morphs used for facial animation. For stylized faces I found that the eyes tend to have the most problems, so let's fix one of those. Select one of the morphs in the list and press Export to save out an OBJ file for editing. You can see that her eye doesn't close all the way.



    Then import the OBJ into your 3D program. Blender users will have to be particularly careful of their import and export settings since Blender breaks the vertex order in both import and export by default. Make sure to select Keep Vert Order when importing.


    Here is the edit to the face morph


    When exporting back out from blender, remember again to check Keep Vertex Order.



    To bring the morph back into 3DXchange, press the Replace button and select your edited morph. You can just repeat this process for all other morphs that you want to fix.




    After fixing the face morphs, your character should now be fully animatable in iClone. Here's a test pose I did in iClone. I even put in some soft cloth physics for her bandana straps and her hair.





    And if you want, you could bring your character into a game engine. Here she is in Unreal Engine 4.





  • jimklien
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    jimklien vertex
    Whoa... This is awesome 
  • julSan
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    julSan null
    Whoops. I thought the templates came with Character Creator. You can download them from this page: 

    http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/character-creator/custom-outfit.html

    I'll edit my above post with this link.
  • bent_vector
    Thanks for that link! Just got the 90-day trial and CC serial via FTP as well, so all set to...GO!
  • realtimerocker
    julSan said:
    If the import fails without warning, you could try exporting separate FBX files for your various clothes or hair meshes. If you do it this way, you just need to save  out custom templates of the meshes you saved out separately. I had to export the hair and the bandana separately because they were both being read as hair meshes.





    Can you clarify this method? My imports are failing without clues.
    If I export out separate fbx files, do the mesh need to be binded to something?
    Or did you simply export out the hair, bandana as fbx meshes?

    Please advise RL to make tutorials how to use CC with other appz besides maya.
    I can't find docs how to do it specifically with c4d, modo, lightwave.

  • julSan
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    julSan null
    When exporting pieces of clothing separately you still need to bind them to the skeleton and include all the body meshes and the skeleton in the FBX. Character Creator will be looking for the  proper joint and mesh names to load correctly. If it loads, you will see the body and just that individual piece of clothing and you can save a template and use it like any other clothing template in Character Creator.

    Some other common causes of the import failure are meshes with no UVs and the FBX exporter adding additional joints. I don't know how to use the programs that you mentioned, but check your export options to see if there is any option that adds a joint to the skeleton. Blender, for example, adds an additional joint to all end joints by default and this causes import errors.
  • mirandacheng
    julSan said:
    If the import fails without warning, you could try exporting separate FBX files for your various clothes or hair meshes. If you do it this way, you just need to save  out custom templates of the meshes you saved out separately. I had to export the hair and the bandana separately because they were both being read as hair meshes.





    Can you clarify this method? My imports are failing without clues.
    If I export out separate fbx files, do the mesh need to be binded to something?
    Or did you simply export out the hair, bandana as fbx meshes?

    Please advise RL to make tutorials how to use CC with other appz besides maya.
    I can't find docs how to do it specifically with c4d, modo, lightwave.

    Hi realtimerocker, there are some workflows of CC and other 3D tools in the Reallusion Forum, please check HERE for more.
  • realtimerocker
  • julSan
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    julSan null
    Here are some final renders that I made in iClone and some additional production screenshots:









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