Reallusion returned to SIGGRAPH in 2017 with new barrier breaking motion capture technology.
As most of you already know this company has long empowered the hobbyist/home user and in recent years has made concerted efforts to bring its cost-effective tools to indie developers and studios.
Segments of the gaming and video entertainment industries have embraced these tools as much more than time and money savers as their animation capabilities have increased to a point they really can't be ignored.
For a little history, Reallusion's iClone has been breaking mocap barriers since its introduction of Kinect mocap technology years ago. This was the just the first step in better animation tools and iClone 5, 6 and 7 have further matured these tools and added much more to the toolbox.
With the introduction of Faceware there is a camera based facial animation solution that runs in real time! That's right... real time.
You watch it as it happens just as we have been doing with body mocap. Feedback is immediate. Revisions can be done in the same session as the original motion capture. This saves time, frustration, and money. This opens body and facial mocap to a much larger audience at a more affordable price point.
iClone 7 is a total production studio and it does it all without coding.
Not a modeler? No problem as there are plenty of assets like props, sets, and characters in the Reallusion Marketplace.
There is certified content from Reallusion and user content from a wide base of vendors. There is also Character Creator that allows a user to create unique characters both inside and outside of the product depending on the version you purchase.
About the only thing lacking was the ability to create smooth motion without hand animated keyframing and motion capture now provides that.
Faceware Realtime for iClone, release scheduled for September, is the result of Faceware providing their software in an iClone locked configuration that reduces the cost of ownership.
According to Reallusion the Faceware Realtime for iClone version will be able to capture one face (duo face version is coming) directly via Faceware. PC cams, GoPros or ProHD cameras are compatible with the plug-in. It will also include custom character support via FBX using 3DXchange 7 (their all in one, swiss army knife conversion app).
For Character Creator to work with Faceware it was updated to 60 facial morphs, which can enhance the detail of expression. Till now... subtlety was not a virtue of iClone animation.
Xsens is also collaborating with Reallusion to make their tools more accessible by providing a plug-in for mocap suits and software.
This might not be in the budget of the average hobby user but it's a great improvement for indie studios and small teams. A top quality mocap suit is a must for some productions and this opens the door to indie users getting their hands on what was thought to be a pipe dream for most indies not that long ago.
As mentioned earlier the gaming industry has also taken notice from studios to home based productions as the tools provide an easier method of creating and animating game characters.
This was once a major drawback to creating a game. Now you can not only create unique characters but you can see your characters in action before you ever import it into your game engine or do any coding. The stress level of production is reduced and anytime you reduce stress there is a chance of an increase in creativity.
We are really just scratching the surface of what the iClone/Character Creator pipeline can do.
No longer confined to previz its motion capture capabilities have pushed this tool further into the realm of the professional while still making it easy for the animation newbie to get started.
Affordability and real-time feedback are a great combination for any software and Reallusion just keeps on raising bar on affordable animation tools.