Tutorial: Character development with Reallusion's Character Creator
M.D. McCallum
Issue: November 1, 2015

Tutorial: Character development with Reallusion's Character Creator

Creating compelling characters without the help of a 3D modeling guru has always been a challenge. In the following tutorial, we give animators a hands-on with a new tool from Reallusion that pushes the boundaries for creators of any skill level to rapidly generate animation-ready characters. The tutorial covers concept art, tracking the process step-by-step all the way to a fully realized FBX character that can be exported to any development environment or game engine.

We start by shaping the body and head with the available morphs. We mimic body features and curves as closely as possible. Particular attention is paid to the torso and chest areas to reproduce the prominent hips and breast that define the alien female character, along with shaping the waistline and other features. We take a look at shaping the head from the top all the way down to the jaw. 

Another feature we touch on is the powerful Conforming Cloth system that fits to any body shape designed with Character Creator. The tutorial demonstrates further editing with diffuse and opacity maps to show or hide certain features. After we shape the body, we use opacity to cut out parts of the shirt and pants to match up like a suit of armor, even though the original clothing looks nothing like what we end up with. We use the underlying skin for the skintight bodysuit. Then we go into another very powerful tool, the Appearance Editor where we access the dynamic textures from all the map channels like Ambient Occlusion, Normal, WS Normal, Diffuse and others combine to make great-looking clothing. There is also the Procedural Aging, Dirt, Holes, Tears and other tools to add more realism to the clothing. 

The goal is to empower time- and budget-constrained studios with a flexible solution for character creation and pre-viz. Our benchmark throughout was being able to recreate at least 8 of the 10 features in the original concept art. 


iClone Character Creator is the latest product from Reallusion, a maker of 2D and 3D animation software used by Comedy Central and Jimmy Kimmel Live, along with countless independent studios and animators. The product debuted at SIGGRAPH 2015, where it was named "Best-of-Show" by Post’s sister publication, Computer Graphics World. For more information, visit: www.reallusion.com. 

M.D. McCallum, is an award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, project director and Webmaster with a freelance career that spans 20 years and includes over 100 individual and team-based awards. His “iClone Beginners Guide,” published in October of 2011 through Packt Publishing, has been translated into several languages.