Tech Re­views

Animation Magazine - - Content - Web­site: real­lu­ Price: Pro, $199.95; Stan­dard, $79.95 by Todd Sheri­dan Perry

iClone 5.5, HP’s ZBook 17 and The Foundry’s Mari 2.5. by Todd Sheri­dan Perry

iClone is now in it­er­a­tion 5.5, with hun­dreds of an­i­ma­tors, film­mak­ers and game de­sign­ers not only us­ing the soft­ware, but con­tribut­ing to the Con­tent Store, where you can browse and buy a gag­illion char­ac­ters, scenes and mo­tions.

Ver­sion 5.5 is a big step up, with the ad­vance of Real­lu­sion’s Mo­tionPlus data for­mat, which jams all the an­i­ma­tion data into one file. Fa­cial an­i­ma­tion, body an­i­ma­tion, props and dy­namic spring ef­fects all get mooshed in. Even the new bake con­straint data — things like foot con­tact, pick­ing things up, look-ats and path con­straint — is in­cluded in the Mo­tionPlus data. And all this info can be trans­ferred be­tween mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters. But don’t worry! All you pro­fes­sional Maya, Max and Cine­ma4D users still can use the data through the FBX for­mat. That way, all your work can be ren­dered with higher-end engines like VRay and Men­tal Ray. The fa­cial an­i­ma­tion tool, Create Face, has been en­hanced to make it eas­ier to bring in a video of you talk­ing and map the per­for­mance onto a 3D char­ac­ter. But iClone doesn’t stop with char­ac­ters. It also in­cludes ter­rain-gen­er­a­tion tools with Level-Of-De­tail op­tions; ideal for game de­vel­op­ment in soft­ware like Unity. Ad­di­tion­ally, a bunch of eas­ily swap­pable ma­te­ri­als and skies are there to quickly create new en­vi­ron­ments. You even have a height-map ed­i­tor to ad­just or create cus­tom moun­tain ranges. Do you want tanks driv­ing through? The ter­rain has physics pa­ram­e­ters that work with the iClone plug-in Physics Tool­box to help with ve­hi­cles and tracks (like tank treads).

Lastly, iClone is now avail­able in 64-bit, an oft over­looked bonus. While most of the tar­get de­mo­graphic seems to be real-time games and hob­by­ists, I am very ex­cited about the po­ten­tial for smaller films to be able to use the iClone tech­nol­ogy to de­velop pitch-viz — pre­viz uses to raise film­mak­ing funds — and ac­tual pre­viz to help direc­tors make choices be­fore go­ing on­set with 150 peo­ple wait­ing for a de­ci­sion.

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