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Character Creator - 2018 Roadmap

Posted By Miranda (RL) Last Year
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Miranda (RL)
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*Update: Work in Progress 1 has been revealed on May 22nd

Character Creator 3 - Universal Character Platform


https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/b7346a6c-d28d-48d4-88b7-e2cb.jpg

The Decision to Make CC a Standalone Product

CC, at its inception, was a plug-in for iClone to fulfill the needs of the animation industry. In order to export characters from CC to 3rd party tools, users were required to purchase 3DXchange Pro / Pipeline edition. CC quickly became a market leader in the field of 3D character creation with its ability to morph the human body in boundless ways, dress and conform a variety of garments, supple implementation of facial expressions, support for body motions and much much more.

Over the last two plus years, we have received a lot of demand of the character generation features in CC from non-iClone users, spanning the field of 3D game development, AR/VR and other interactive applications. In response, we have decided to make CC a standalone application which can chart its own path and destiny. This has big implications in the way CC will take shape to support all of the necessary character import and export features, minimize its barriers to entry, and lower its dependency to outside 3D tools.

What to Expect for Character Creator 3

As a result of more research and development allocated to CC3, this year saw the rise of significant technological breakthroughs. They include optimization techniques relevant to game characters, deployment of physically accurate fine rendering, and marked enhancements to data exchange with 3rd party solutions. Using mesh optimization and remeshing technology, CC3 can satisfy the requirements of different gaming environments including first and third person perspective, non-player characters and crowd simulation among others. In addition, the full integration of NVIDIA Iray fine render technology allows CC3 to deliver photorealistic imagery.  

All this comes with the benefit of working with one of the world's most interoperable and user friendly content creation pipeline. This ease of operation extends to the integration of ZBrush with GoZ - the dynamic bridge that allows for the sculpting of CC's quad based meshes for the body and other tangibles. The asset creation pipeline has also been expedited with the ability to directly import any sort of OBJ file and using CC3 auto-skin and skin weight editing, create content that is 100% compatible with CC3.

Users who continue to use CC for iClone will also benefit from the new generation of character bases that will be released with CC3. Assets and garments already owned can be applied to this new generation base body, as it is completely backwards compatible.

We wish to use the following post to share the roadmap ahead along with relevant technical breakthroughs. For sales related inquiries please wait further still for notices from Reallusion.

The following feature peeks are split into four sections:
  1. Next Generation Character Base
  2. Content Creation Pipeline Optimization
  3. Level of Detail (LOD)
  4. Fine Rendering

1. Next Generation Character Base

The new generation base mesh preserves quad face data making it convenient to modify in a 3rd party software.
It has also solved a number of issues from the previous generation base, including the following: 
  • Unsatisfactory stomach deformation when twisting.
  • Optimization for the structures of the eyelashes and the eyes.
  • Optimization for the edge-loops on the head and body.
  • Strange shoulder shape when the arms are raised or lowered to the sides of the body.
  • Strange hand and fingers shape when gripping or open.
  • Oddly shaped feet.
  • Strange buttocks shape when the thighs are bent.
  • Deformed joint shapes around the elbows and knees while in motion.
  • Fine-tuned the original skeleton with the addition of share-bones.



2. Content Creation Pipeline Optimization

GoZ

When one wishes to modify the shape of the character or content, just use the hassle-free GoZ function inside CC3 to launch the item of interest into ZBrush, modify it in quad face mode, and send the result back to CC3.

Character Body sample:


Cloth sample:


OBJ import + Auto Skin + Skin Weight Editing

Import any sort of OBJ file, use CC3 auto-skin and skin weight editing to create content that is 100% compatible with CC.
Applicable to shirts, pants, shoes, gloves, etc.



Partial Conforming

If a prop, for example, a helmet has both hard and soft surfaces (helmet cap and helmet strap), then one can utilize the partial conform function to freely designate areas that can deform and areas that stay hard. This is so that the prop maintains a proper shape when it is applied to different characters of all shapes and sizes.

https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/b05e41f6-13c6-40c4-bb53-69e9.png

https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/29b0f31b-f778-48dd-a3f4-c9fa.png


3. Level of Detail (LOD)

In a lot of cases, you might have highly detailed source mesh for the outfit, accessory or hair, but the polygon count is too high for real-time animation. Polygon Optimization can help to reduce the polygon count while retaining its original shape and UV data to maintain its original look while gaining significant performance improvements.

On the other hand, rendering performance and minimal memory usage are key factors to take into account for game developers, especially when there are a lot of characters in the scene or when several LODs (levels of detail) are required for a few characters. Remeshing helps by merging all of the geometry and UV maps to ensure minimal draw call with no noticeable loss in visual quality.

Polygon Optimization

Polygon optimization preserves the surface attributes which allows it to render and shade true to the original look. Optimization can be applied to the current character including its clothing and accessories or can be applied to individual objects and entities.  Along with random reduction as a result of polygon optimization, one can also utilize the Mesh Modifier to hide unwanted faces set to be culled upon export.

An example of extreme 90% polygon reduction:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/8de7164d-af0c-4402-8727-6b4e.jpg

An example of 60% polygon reduction:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/d7f628e3-b4e3-4117-9176-9ef9.jpg


Remeshing

The Remeshing process derives a completely new topology and remaps the existing texture data to its surface -including normal map information. Remeshed skinned characters and objects retains the original rigging data to the same skeleton, so the existing animation is preserved.  This solution is ideal for those who are dealing with scenes with large amount of people far away. Remeshing is a destructive process, so once a character is remeshed and exported, it can not return into CC3 for additional editing. 

An example of 60% polygon reduction:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/409f4118-17de-4491-b837-3321.jpg

*When the remeshed character is brought into iClone, it is considered to be a Non-standard character that can support body motions but can not perform facial expressions.


4. Fine Rendering

Iray

NVIDIA® IRAY® is a highly interactive and intuitive physically based rendering technology that generates photorealistic imagery by simulating the physical behavior of light and materials. By integrating with Iray, you can deliver photorealistic imagery directly in CC3. 

Other than many great Iray features which you can explore from NVIDIA Iray page, Reallusion has made a good progress to ensure the PBR/MDL material compatibility, and give perfect camera alignment. Some features you might expect to have in CC3 and iClone:
  • Extremely fast AI Accelerated GPU rendering for Interactivity and image output
  • Support native Iray MDL (Material Definition Language) for high quality material rendering 
  • Sub-surface Scattering (SSS) and Caustics
  • Light Path and Multi-pass Rendering for compositing pipeline
  • DOF
  • Custom shader design such like Toon Rendering

Rendered in Character Creator & iClone
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/6c9ff35a-3c36-40bb-93d9-b0d7.png

Rendered in Iray
Enhanced with Subsurface Scattering (SSS)
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/ac6b43d0-2a10-4eed-a81f-9169.png

Rendered in Character Creator & iClone

https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/89d8b158-5bc1-469b-a827-ad1c.png

Rendered in Iray
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/c7f9dd78-0fe9-4815-90c2-68a9.png

CC3 and iClone will be integrated with the same Iray rendering. You can tell the Iray render speed and realism from this engineering prototype.


Edited
Last Year by Miranda (RL)
mtakerkart
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WOW AND WOW!!!!   My best is auto-skin weight for clothes , partial conforming and LOD generator!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations Reallusion!!!
Space Rider
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Nice idea but what is it going to cost users as a stand alone program now? $$$$
or FREE for IC7 users.




Iclone 7 Pro,  Curve Editor Plugin, Indigo RT Plugin, 3dXchange 7 Pipeline,  Crazytalk 8 Pipeline, Crazytalk Animator 2 Pipeline, Character Creator 2 /  3,  Popcorn FX, Pop Video 3, Earth Sculptor,  Kinect Mocap Plugin + MS Kinect Xbox one V2,  Substance Painter and Designer 4, Hitfilm 2 Ultimate 
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/b04afb94-57e4-4db0-b118-f53b.jpg 




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Kelleytoons
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Hmmm, sure hope I live long enough to see *any* of this (we saw Python scripting previews over a year ago and it isn't here yet -- I'm guessing we won't see any of this until 2019 at the earliest, and most likely 2020 with the introduction of iClone 8).

Still, for those of you younger, you have amazing times ahead!



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Lots of good news here! And Python is confirmed! Ouf Smile

The only bad news is.. Iray. Aï Aï Aï.. Same mistake as with Indigo.

While I understand the commercial marketing benefits of getting closer to Daz 3D, it should have been the Brigade renderer for movie makers :/ I just hope the door is not closed..

Also, no word about a new 3DXchange version ?

ps: my comments also include what I red in the Roadmap newsletter just received.

--
guy rabiller | citizen guy | 3d technical director | youtube channel
not an animator, "idirector" perhaps - the audience will decide, icloner for sure.

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Kelleytoons
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Guy,

Glad you mentioned the iRay thing -- all I could think of when I watched their "test" of speed was "well, it will be nice for stills".  Which, essentially, is what Daz is good for.

Let's hope that saner minds prevail when it comes to those of us who want to use iClone for what it was designed for (making animations).



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[b]Also, no word about a new 3DXchange version ?

Ahh... 3DXchange 7.2 - Our neglected, somewhat busted product with a UI designed for the blind - The dysfunctional elephant child, still in the room.. waiting for attention like the proverbial red-headed step-child. Looks like their energies are spent elsewhere, as demonstrated by this thread. At least this CC3 product makes 3DX a bit more redundant. Rolleyes ~V~



       Val RogueAnanda
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WOW!!!KissCool

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liebe Grüße vidi
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Kelleytoons (2/14/2018)
Guy,

Glad you mentioned the iRay thing -- all I could think of when I watched their "test" of speed was "well, it will be nice for stills".  Which, essentially, is what Daz is good for.

Let's hope that saner minds prevail when it comes to those of us who want to use iClone for what it was designed for (making animations).

It is very odd. Sometimes it seem Reallusion heads have shifted their vision from "movie making" application to "content creation" application, but then PopcornFX integration that cannot be exported, definitively more interesting for movie makers than content creators for games.

CC3 will be awesome, no doubt about that, skinning ability, LOD, better base meshes etc.. But now standalone so.. at what cost ? I'm already having hardtime to follow (still can't afford Faceware plugin nor Neuron mocap system, PopcornFX hopefully soon.. :/ ) little by little this is becoming as expensive as a Maya standard version lol, but still without a proper rendering engine for movie makers (even so v7.2 is a big move toward that goal). This is the last major issue that need to be addressed one way or another. It is so obvious the Brigade engine is THE solution, I just hope they did not tried already but have been confronted to licencing issues or something and that the door is still open to have it integrated into iClone.

Hey, at least we will have true mirrors in iClone now ^^.

--
guy rabiller | citizen guy | 3d technical director | youtube channel
not an animator, "idirector" perhaps - the audience will decide, icloner for sure.

Edited
Last Year by grabiller
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Personally, I'm getting tired of all the "nice shiny things dangled before us" whilst KEY features (which I have already paid for), like FBX export, are still broken.  As for 3DXchange... where's that roadmap?



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