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new at this, what do I need to start?

Posted By bpkantor 2 Years Ago
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bpkantor
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Hi all,

I am new here, wanting to get into iClone, but I need to get a PC first (I have a Mac without enough power to run it on Parallels). Basically my only experience with animation is using GoAnimate.com, so I am pretty green. I posted a couple questions within the past week. I am an ancient language teacher (teach Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew as if they were spoken languages) and want to be able to make short videos to illustrate little narratives and dialogues from the biblical text. Forgive me for being so ignorant of all this stuff, but I would definitely appreciate any help and answers you all can give me. I will outline what I want to be able to do, and then my question is what do I need to start working towards my goal.

What I want to do:
- make 1-5 minute short films of biblical stories
- want to be able to take pre-made stuff and not have to make it myself, I can pay if I need to (ancient Greece, ancient Israel, etc.)
- most of the films will involve simple actions like talking, walking to and from places, sitting, etc.

What do I need?
- Software: iClone 6 standard or pro or more?
- 3DXChange, is this helpful/necessary to get?
- I understand how to compare Macs, but I am quite ignorant when it comes to PCs. To get me started, could somebody please link me to the cheapest desktop PC that I can use iCloud one without getting a headache? At least that will help me to start searching...
- Tutorials, where should I go for tutorials to start learning how to run iClone?

Thank you all so much for your help. Just beginning to get into something like this can be kind of intimidating without knowing much about it so I really appreciate everyone's help.

Ben
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2 Years Ago by bpkantor
animagic
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It's iClone not iCloud...Wink

iClone 7 is coming, which only has a Pro version, so that's what you would get. The Standard version was always kind of limited.

As to Biblical figures, check the RL marketplace (http://city.reallusion.com/market/iclone) and search for "cc biblical". Quite a number of characters come up. If you need something special you can always approach the developer whose work you like.

I added "cc" to my search, which stands for Character Creator, because these are the new high-quality characters for iClone. Character Creator comes with iClone and allows all kinds of customizations. You do not want to get the older (G5) type characters, except for background roles (extras) in case you need crowds.

iClone has lip-synching built-in, and iClone 7 will have improvements for adding facial expressions. I believe the motion system will be improved as well. There are various motions packs available, and since your needs are basic at this point that should be sufficient for now. You can also customize and create your own motions with keyframing.

The RL marketplace can also be a resource to find props for your sets. I tried searching for "Middle East" and "Egypt" and various results came up.

3DXchange is a separate program to import assets into iClone (there is a lot more than can be done with it, but I'll keep it simple). So if the marketplace doesn't have what you want, you could check out 3D Warehouse (https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/), which has a large number of free models created by people using Sketchup. Not all models are of good quality, but many are. I use it frequently. It would be an extra expense, so if the marketplace provides what you need you can dispense with that.

The PC. This requires some thought, because over the years iClone has become more demanding. There is a new shader system that supports Global Illumination. (Shaders determine how things look.) In the real world, lighting consist of direct and indirect lighting. GI allows you to simulate the indirect lighting contribution. It gives improved results but also requires a fairly powerful system. For starters, you could still use the same lighting system as in iClone 6, which is less demanding and can still give very good results.

I have to get going now, so the PC specs will have to wait till later. Number one is the graphics card, which needs at least 4GB to avoid disappointment. It would be good to know your budget. (You are used to Mac prices...Tongue )



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JimmyB7
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Just to add one footnote to animagic’s super list of helpful tips, if you need free music and sound effects for your projects try YouTube’s Audio and Music Library.  It requires a login but the collection is amazing.  Good luck.  LINK

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dante1st
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I'll touch on the part about tutorials, because I can speak from a complete noob perspective..


There's a ton of organized tutorials on Youtube. That's literally how I learned to use iClone. I literally had ZERO animating experience, I was just a random nobody, but wanted to try out 3D animation.

I watched a TON of tutorials over the span of a week or so, to learn how to use the program. You have to understand, I had no idea where to start. Where do I click on? What am I even supposed to be looking for? What are these buttons and how do they relate to each other? Trust me, those tutorials help. Here am I a few years later, about 1,000+ subscribers on Youtube (small compared to some, but big for me), and have my own little fan base on there (not too many or viewers of my material here on this website, but on Youtube I managed to get an audience).


I guess the point is, if I learned how to use it, anyone can.


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My iClone short films: https://www.youtube.com/iClone316

rgreenidge
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In April, I'll be using iClone for 8 years. I don't know everything about it, or have used everything it offers. I spend a minimum about $40 a month for items I need, and created what I would say is about 60% of my props and scenery using sketch it, which that alone you can spend weeks or months doing. The more time you put in it, the better it can look. The first thing I did was to make or buy the locations I will be filming in, and make sure the sizes are in proportion to my main avatar characters. You will find that first thing you really need to know is how to scale things whether you buy on here or get from other places or make it yourself. I always used one avatar as my size reference. Things are going to be too big or small once you bring it to your scene, and sometimes finding it can be a pain. Where is this thing, and you find out it's bigger than your whole set. Once you've got all your sceneries, now you can work with your characters and decide how many. You can purchase a lot of them on here, but I'm using real people that I know to be the stars, and I find out for my self that though CC characters are more versatile, look better, but after spending hours messing with the faces, the heads and faces rarely look like the one I've spent hours with once it transfers to iClone. The faces I made with non-CC characters look exactly to what I made before I finalize it. People recognize my characters right away. As far as power, I wouldn't recommend a laptop, and I can't see spending less $1000 for a desktop if you are serious, especially If you spent Mac money like Animagic said. Not counting monitors, and I would recommend two, just because I need the see timeline and other menus at the same time usually, without blocking my almost full scene view. These are estimates, but you don't want to keep upgrading every payday. Yes you can go cheaper, but.. you don't want to buy something for $40 and find out it's not helping. I'm rounding off these prices, from the lowest price on line sellers using Intel, AMD you can get cheaper, but with a limited max RAM motherboard headroom. Power Supply $80, a good Motherboard $120, Video Card $200, CPU $400, RAM Memory 32 GB (use 2-16GB Modules, in case later you want to buy more) $200. So this is just to start and it's $1000. Minus the monitors, the storage drive(s), and CD or burners? Keep in mind you will need backup drives to be safe, you'll be spending days with iClone, not just hours or minutes. I keep my iClone stuff on it's own drive, and the videos made from it on another, all backed up after each session If I don't forget. Someone starting from scratch, I can easily see $2000 with no computer stuff from a older computer to use. With simple projects I can see folks spending $1000 for everything if you have a AMD based system. I have used both and the only advantage I have with my new Intel system, I went from 32 GB of RAM to 128 GB. And if someone would tell you it's over kill it depends on their projects, I have seen the difference between even 96 GB and 128 GB while I'm watching my projects play. But I have a lot of avatars in some scenes and want to add more. I don't know what everyone's budget is, but it's better to be able to add later, than to buy another motherboard and waste another $100 or so. Why did I switch to Intel for the first time in years? My onboard Ethernet stopped, and I started to buy the same MB, I have the same MB in another machine plus a few other computers I built for others. Then I started seeing the 8 memory slots on Intel, but not with AMD. So I looked and saw that Intel has the fastest CPU's and that the AMD versions weren't even close. I also wondered how 64 GB of RAM would work on iClone would it stop my crashing, could I add more stuff to a scene? Well the extra RAM works better than I imagined and I'm very happy with that. But as I found out with this and my music. If you are not pressed for money or a time schedule, you need to make a schedule to when you will work with iClone and stick to it, or nothing will get done, even if it's just looking and learning with the You Tube tutoring. You're not going to learn everything in a week, nor will you remember everything or where it is. I just save, and try that.  Good luck, and welcome to the club.
            

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dante1st
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I used to always wonder whether it was the video card or ram that would have the biggest performance boost. 


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My iClone short films: https://www.youtube.com/iClone316

bpkantor
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Thank you very much for such a helpful and detailed response. I appreciate it.

It is true I buy Macs, but I usually get them used. I have a Mac Mini, which I upgraded myself, and got a non-Apple monitor, so in the end I don't end up spending too much on Mac stuff.

I fully defer to your experience and trust that what you outlined makes the most sense and would be ideal, if I could spend that much. If I am working on a tighter budget (which I am), is iClone still workable with lesser specs? Say, for example I were to build a PC with the following as the basic elements:

intel i5 6500 Quad Core 3.2 GHz
16 GB Ram
nvidia GTX 1050Ti

Could this run iClone reasonably or will I spend more time waiting for things to happen than actually doing things? I know it exceeds the system requirements that Reallusion posts, but I assume that there is no better judge than experience for what the above would get me. My budget is more like $500 in trying to get into this. In short, the ideal is out of my price range, so is the less-than-ideal still workable (see above specs) or would it not be reasonable to run it with this?

Thanks again for all your help. I've really appreciated this community so far. Everyone has been helpful and encouraging!
Rampa
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bpkantor (2/5/2017)
Thank you very much for such a helpful and detailed response. I appreciate it.

It is true I buy Macs, but I usually get them used. I have a Mac Mini, which I upgraded myself, and got a non-Apple monitor, so in the end I don't end up spending too much on Mac stuff.

I fully defer to your experience and trust that what you outlined makes the most sense and would be ideal, if I could spend that much. If I am working on a tighter budget (which I am), is iClone still workable with lesser specs? Say, for example I were to build a PC with the following as the basic elements:

intel i5 6500 Quad Core 3.2 GHz
16 GB Ram
nvidia GTX 1050Ti

Could this run iClone reasonably or will I spend more time waiting for things to happen than actually doing things? I know it exceeds the system requirements that Reallusion posts, but I assume that there is no better judge than experience for what the above would get me. My budget is more like $500 in trying to get into this. In short, the ideal is out of my price range, so is the less-than-ideal still workable (see above specs) or would it not be reasonable to run it with this?

Thanks again for all your help. I've really appreciated this community so far. Everyone has been helpful and encouraging!


This system would work pretty well, if you make sure to get the 4 gig 1050ti. If you can possibly swing it, get an Nvidia GTX 1060/6gig. That extra power, and especially the extra VRAM on the card, will go a long way.

The graphics card is the most important part of the system for iClone.

Snarp Farkle
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You might look at QVC's site for a good system too, I used their "5 Easy Payment Plan" setup to get my machine.  All Ill need to do in a year or so is upgrade the video card to a 6 or 8gig one, it came with 4gig which is good enough for now.


Dell XPS 8900, Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz, 3408 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s), 16 GB RAM, - 4 GB GeForce GTX 745, NVIDIA compatible.
Acer Aspire V Nitro Laptop,  2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor with 6MB cache,  256GB solid state drive, 16GB Ram,  4 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics.

dante1st
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Snarp Farkle (2/6/2017)
You might look at QVC's site for a good system too, I used their "5 Easy Payment Plan" setup to get my machine.  All Ill need to do in a year or so is upgrade the video card to a 6 or 8gig one, it came with 4gig which is good enough for now.


Out of curiosity, can I ask specifically which video card it is?

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My iClone short films: https://www.youtube.com/iClone316




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