iClone7, 3DExchange Pipeline, and Character Creator 2
Long Post but may help others. Also have some nice pics to show differences. I have done searches for good detailed reviews of iClone# and Character Creator 2. The pickings are slim. Also to do a good compare to DAZ is solid since it is obvious that RL made CC2 with A LOT of DAZ familiarity with morph sliders and such. Even the models are really close…but just slightly different.
I will start off by stating that i am looking for solid fidelity in both animation and characters. The game is leading edge right now but with a ‘Solid’ computer I am easily running 60fps so the tech is here.
For visual fidelity…this is what the character/player will run around in. Trees not shown since this is a landscape render test…but everything on this ‘Fits’
The only one I was able to get to work. No clue how to do the male. lol
So now that I was able to get the Hair in I had a look and it was ‘Ok’. Need to set up the textures in a different way so that they will render properly in the sbsar that iClone uses. I set to both PBR and Traditional (??…the other one =) ) which looked better in my opinion. Ok…so now to bring in the clothing that is shown on Brighid in the first pic up. That will be a comparative test. Well…I got it in but it needed work. Meaning there was a number of textures I left out of the mix that iClone7 needs to do things. Meaning xNormal magic and Photoshop painting. Really? What? How? Why o Why? The clothing when I bring it from DAZ into UE4 requires ‘a little work’ to resize to 2k/1k square then also to make a good normal map. If various colors are needed…make layers and chop chop and sandwich in Photoshop. Easy Peasy. Easy to switch the textures at runtime as well. Yes…I know the texture can be changed in CC2…but when you click on the button it very often does not remember what folder the previous texture selected was from. Software bug likely (I do not install in Program Files folders and RL allows a custom install)…but how does this get past QC? So the work around is to copy the desired textures to the folder iClone7 and CC2 choose….and continue testing and playing.
The substance layering takes some getting used to but has some really nifty features. Then simply bake them out in a texture. This makes for A LOT of textures for changeable clothing style system in an RPG/Survival type game. The result looks great and the layering of the normal maps work really well. Plus here!
Also…iClone7 and especially Character Creator 2 like to ‘Phone Home’ when they are executed. iClone7 is simply much more quiet about it but Character Creator 2 is simply in your face reminder! I despise Phone home software. I bought this version with Pipeline for a solid chunk of money. I have license numbers and plugged them in while enabling the software. I do not want or need to be ‘connected’ to ‘use’ the software. If it works…it works…if not…I complain and/or grab a patch to make it function. Then pull the plug on RL. This kind of practice leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I do OWN iKinema Web Animate standalone and it is happily running without being connected. And works as good as iClone7/3DXChange for converting animations to a skeleton.
iClone7 and 3DExchange Pipeline is really the must buy unless you will be very specifically NOT doing any exporting. Eventually you are going to want to export and try things out. Or better yet when you show off your nifty ‘stuff’ someone says hey…would you mind doing work for us…we use C4D for our other work…can you mesh with it? Ummm…nope. So if going the iClone7 route for some serious development or even the future development projects….have to buy Pipeline. You can see the RL ploy here as well. They also charge a hefty premium for the Export version…ok…I get it but it is a steep increase (DAZ just changed to the ‘Interactive License’ on products which in the same line of thinking). I don’t blame them though. They are a business and need to make money. Ok I get it…but it is a bit deceiving. My opinion.
I am convinced now that I will be using iClone7 and 3DExchange Pipeline for the UE4 workflow fully. iKinema Web Animate does the animation solving/conversion but iClone7 just has sooooo many more features and is really easy to use. Which allows me to do 3D Art and Game Coding. I am not an animator…I tried but it is simply just ‘different’. So why not let a tool do the heavy lifting for me? iClone7 has done that very well. 3DExchange is the connection (DRM Party) powerhouse that converts the iClone7 proprietary formats to FBX/OBJ Real World usables. It works really well. No issues at all.
Character Creator 2 is just a play toy wanting to be a dutiful character creator in a ‘True Design’ workflow. The sliders work identical to DAZ and they do exactly what you would expect them to. When opening CC2 the window layout is loaded into an setup that requires adjusting of the Side Panes….every time. I have hit Save Layout many times but it simply does not ‘Remember’ the saves….or perhaps it never saves them in the first place. CC2 does not state it is a Beta…but with the new CC3 being released soon-enough…it sure still seems like it is a Beta. It does function and making custom avatars works. There is simply too much clicking to make this a fluid workflow. After some time (I did an 8hr character creation assembly test with coffee and lunch breaks…so 10hrs total time) it chews on the wrist. I find that I am really mashing the mouse buttons to keep from having to Z/X/C while making adjustments. What i ended up doing to help ‘Soften’ this is to purchase the really good RL Heads Pack (again…Export Version) along with Essential Skins (Export) along with some Hair Packs (Export) along with…..anyhow!..moving along.
CC2 is just not there. The quality is good enough but the workflow process is just not fluid. So I am simply sticking with DAZ Studio Pro and Blender since the fluid workflows already set in place for character development. iClone7 and 3DExchange are becoming integrated in the animation workflows now. I have someone that wants to do this stuff as long as they have a process to follow in place…I can do that for them. Which also allows me to do some animations that I have ideas for and lets me play.
Don Anderson (aka Olander)
Stand Sure Studio