Dis­cover The iclone studio Mo­cap se­ries

Real­lu­sion’s se­ries of mo­tion-cap­tured an­i­ma­tions are ideal for de­liv­er­ing timely and pro­fes­sional re­sults with iclone; graph­ics artist M.D. Mccal­lum de­tails how to use the dy­namic As­sas­sin Moves se­ries in a scene

3D World - - CONTENTS -

a ni­ma­tion is a com­pet­i­tive field plagued with bat­tling bud­gets and short dead­lines. Throw in the com­plex­ity of most an­i­ma­tion pro­grams or worse, lose con­trol with the lim­i­ta­tions of pro­grams that try to sim­plify an­i­ma­tion, and the frus­tra­tion lev­els and costs are am­pli­fied.

Real­lu­sion’s iclone is a re­al­time an­i­ma­tion en­vi­ron­ment that pro­vides ease of use to new users, while giv­ing seasoned pro­fes­sion­als the tools that they need to de­liver timely and qual­ity re­sults.

Drag-and-drop mo­tions are a main­stay of iclone, and are only the tip of the ice­berg in terms of the tools it pro­vides to an­i­ma­tors. Keyfram­ing along with the Curve Editor give the an­i­ma­tor more choices to help them com­plete the job pro­fes­sion­ally, and more im­por­tantly to slice, dice and oth­er­wise bend pre-packed mo­tions to the needs at hand.

As you can see iclone is not short on handy an­i­ma­tion tools, and Real­lu­sion has now de­vel­oped its own in-house mo­tion cap­ture studio with skilled ac­tors to pro­vide high-qual­ity and easy-to-use mo­tions, such as the As­sas­sin Moves Studio Mo­cap Se­ries. Th­ese pro mo­tion se­ries en­able users to se­lect from a base mo­tion and then branch out into other re­lated an­i­ma­tions with just a sim­ple dou­ble-click or a quick drag and drop.

The ad­van­tage of us­ing Real­lu­sion mo­cap an­i­ma­tions is that they have a spe­cially de­signed mo­tion graph sys­tem that en­sures seam­less tran­si­tions be­tween pri­mary and sec­ondary stance modes. This of­fers high flex­i­bil­ity for pro­fes­sional an­i­ma­tion pro­duc­tion and in­ter­ac­tive character con­trols.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Real­lu­sion’s vast li­brary of mo­tions in­clude the Ri­fle Com­bat se­ries which con­tain Pa­trol, Guard, As­sault and Prone mo­tions. There is also a Pis­tol Moves (Search, Guard, Take Cover, Shoot) and Pis­tol Stunts (Per­form, Ex­e­cu­tion, Melee, Hit) from their Pis­tol Fight se­ries.

Th­ese high-qual­ity mo­tions also work on cus­tom char­ac­ters that have been rigged to the iclone sys­tem, mak­ing this grow­ing li­brary of mo­tions avail­able for your favourite char­ac­ters and projects. Now con­tin­u­ing de­vel­op­ment with es­tab­lished story and game char­ac­ters is a snap, and easy on the pro­duc­tion bud­get.

For this tu­to­rial we will be us­ing mo­tions from the As­sas­sin Moves pro­fes­sional pack, which fea­tures around 75 pro­fes­sion­ally cap­tured performances.

01 Clear the workspace of Visual Clut­ter

First, clear the en­vi­ron­ment of any items that are not di­rectly needed to ac­com­plish the an­i­ma­tion. If the scene is al­ready laid out, then mass se­lect all the props and turn off the vis­i­bil­ity, leav­ing only the char­ac­ters for us to fo­cus on. This also en­ables us to clearly see what is go­ing on as we an­i­mate.

02 An­i­mate the GUARD Character

This scene in­volves a Guard and a As­sas­sin character, so we’ll start by us­ing the Mo­tion Pup­pet to an­i­mate the Guard in a neu­tral mo­tion, while looking around as if keep­ing an eye on things. Of course, we all know that most screen­play guards are very bad at their jobs, and will most likely end up a corpse. This poor fel­low is no ex­cep­tion.

With the Guard character se­lected, open the Mo­tion Pup­pet. Un­der Idle se­lect Male 01_Nat­u­ral. Move the Ex­ag­ger­a­tion slider back to 78 and the Speed back to 49. Mask out the arms and hands. Run the mo­tion all the way to the end of the time­line.

03 ADD ini­tial Mo­tion to As­sas­sin Character

Next, se­lect the As­sas­sin character and we will start adding mo­tions from the mo­cap sys­tem. We’ll fin­ish the Guard after we move the As­sas­sin character to the Guard’s lo­ca­tion. Use the search tool to find SNEAK_IDLE_TO_CROUCH_IDLE in the Mo­tions tab. Make sure that ‘Auto-play mo­tion clip after ap­ply’ is checked in Pref­er­ences. Then with the As­sas­sin character se­lected, dou­ble-click on the mo­tion or sim­ply drag and drop the mo­tion onto the character.

04 Ap­ply time­line Mo­tion to As­sas­sin

After the pre­vi­ous mo­tion has fin­ished play­ing to com­ple­tion and with­out mov­ing the time­line scrub­ber (if you did move it then go back to the end of the mo­tion), you are now ready to search for and ap­ply the CROUCH_WALK_ SLOW_START move to the As­sas­sin character.

05 ADD ini­tial Crouch Mo­tion to As­sas­sin

As be­fore, do not move the time­line scrub­ber. Search for CROUCH_ WALK_SLOW_LOOP. Ap­ply this to the character with a dou­ble-click, or a drag and drop.

06 Ap­ply Crouch to sneak tran­si­tion

Now search for CROUCH_TO_ SNEAK_WALK, and ap­ply it to the character.

07 set up the As­sas­sin At­tack Mo­tion

Search for DAGGER_ATK_ COMBO_A and ap­ply it to the As­sas­sin character. NOTE: Some mo­tions will have un­needed move­ments. We will trim them out later. For now, just let each mo­tion run to its com­ple­tion.

08 ADD fi­nal Mo­tion to As­sas­sin

Now let’s search for our fi­nal as­sas­sin mo­tion, SNEAK_IDLE_TO_ STAND_IDLE. Ap­ply this mo­tion to the character.

09 load the Dy­ing Mo­tion for the GUARD

Time to go back to the guard. Search for ARROW_HIT_DIE_02. On the time­line add the mo­tion some­where after the As­sas­sin plunges the knife in, as his hand is com­ing back out. In the video ex­am­ple that was around frame 1,015. Ap­ply the mo­tion to the Guard character and let it play out.

10 trim un­wanted pose from GUARD Mo­tion

The new mo­tion will make the Guard tran­si­tion to an­other pose that we don’t want, so lo­cate a place along the time­line to break the mo­tion start­ing from the be­gin­ning of the mo­tion clip. In the video ex­am­ple that was around frame 1,033. Right-click on the mo­tion and se­lect Break, then dis­card the small por­tion from the be­gin­ning of the clip and move the clip up to match the knife plunge. In the ex­am­ple video that was around frame 1,010.

11 edit un­wanted Mo­tion

Now we edit the As­sas­sin for un­wanted mo­tions. Se­lect a place on the time­line to break the mo­tion after the knife plunge. In the video ex­am­ple that was frame 1,054. Right-click on the mo­tion and se­lect Break. Se­lect and delete the rest of the clip after the break.

ease the load Be­ing a real-time en­gine, it’s ad­vised that you use ba­sic char­ac­ters in­stead of more re­source-in­ten­sive or com­pli­cated ones when an­i­mat­ing. This will make for less dropped frames while work­ing, along with less sur­prises in the fi­nal ren­der. The ad­van­tage is that with iclone you can swap out the char­ac­ters at any time with­out los­ing any work.

12 Move the or­phaned idle Mo­tion

The next step is to move the or­phaned idle mo­tion up the time­line. While this could be part of step 11 it de­serves its own step due to tim­ing con­sid­er­a­tions. This is where we put it all to­gether. This or­phans the SNEAK_IDLE_TO_ STAND_IDLE down the time­line, so we want to pull it up to the end of the pro­ceed­ing clip. Ad­just the tran­si­tion handle to your lik­ing.

NOTE: You can also set the As­sas­sin character to ‘Look At’ the Guard at any point in the scene. This would re­sult in the As­sas­sin’s head fol­low­ing the Guard’s body down to the ground as they fall for a more con­vinc­ing visual. •

elim­i­nate clut­ter and dis­trac­tions When an­i­mat­ing a com­pli­cated or busy scene, turn off the vis­i­bil­ity of other props and items in the scene so that you can fo­cus on the im­me­di­ate an­i­ma­tion task.

M.D. Mccal­lum An award-win­ning graph­ics artist, 3D mod­eller/an­i­ma­tor and pub­lished au­thor with a free­lance ca­reer that spans over 20 years. www.mdm­c­cal­lum.com

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