For a period of 6 weeks, I’ll be learning and creating with Reallusion’s Character Creator 3 Pipeline. I’ll be starting out fresh, learning the basics and working on a few creative projects that I hope will expand my skills in CC3. I will share my discoveries and mistakes along the way. Note that I’ll be using the most current version of the program (as of May 30, 2019). Reallusion has kindly made the program available to me for this series. Direct download of the CC3 demo is at Reallusion.com.
Last week I completed my first project in CC3 Pipeline: a unique character face based on a book cover photograph. I went through the excellent morph capabilities of CC3 and showed how you could take one of the base male characters that come with CC3 and through adjusting practically every aspect of their face (including the original mesh) create your own unique character. In my case it was cowboy “Clint”. I also learned that CC3 can only age characters if they are based on CC1 or CC2 models. They haven’t quite got this into CC3 yet. Frustrating, but it turned out fine for me.
Second Project: Importing “Clint” into Unity
For my second project, I wanted to import the “Clint” character I created into Unity, a very popular (and free) game engine. This would involve exporting from CC3 Pipeline then importing into a Unity project. Since CC3 is designed as a program that plays well with other applications (especially Unity and Unreal game engines) the process is fairly straightforward.
First, I’ll have to put some clothes on our Clint character as I was only rendering his face in my previous project. Also, I had to change the hair since I had used a ponytail from one of the female figures to get the look I wanted. Since you only saw Clint face front, you didn’t see the silly ponytail out the back. Easy peasy as there are several good hair styles for my CC3 figure. I did have to do some adjusting so that the hair didn’t stick out of the hat, but it worked out just fine.
Next, I had to put Clint in a t-pose and get him ready to export as an .fbx file. Reallusion chose the .fbx file format because it’s a good format for models and materials. They recently added the .obj format to CC3, but we aren’t covering that here.
What’s really cool is that I have a choice about the quality of the .fbx export for Clint. I can choose to do a straight up export using original polycount. I can also export as a game-based character after converting the figure inside of CC3 to lower the polycount (very desirable in a game engine) and I can export in HDRP (high-definition render pipeline).
Rather than write down the process here, I’ll share an excellent tutorial that Reallusion provides for importing your CC3 character into Unity.
Following this tutorial, I was successfully able to import my character into Unity. However, the hat didn’t show up. I realized that I had not attached the hat to the head in CC3 (duh). What’s cool about the import process is that Reallusion provides a script you can import into your Unity project that sets your character up completely in Unity. The script is free. You can download it here.
I did realize doing this project that unless your programs have the same code base (like in-house applications say at Pixar) you are always going to have to do some adjustments to make your imported character work correctly. It’s not a one-click kind of process. Reallusion has done a tremendous job of making this process relatively easy and painless.
You do have to spend time working on each detail of the export/import process, but it’s really not that hard. I do wish that the tutorials at Reallusion were updated to 2019 as some fixes the instructor covers in the video have already been taken care of in the current version of CC3 Pipeline (i.e. putting a zero in front of the t-pose file so that it shows up first when you export). But these are minor issues.
I’m very happy with how the export turned out and plan on continuing with creating a small scene in Unity (with his hat!) for next week.
Note that Reallusion offers a generous 30 day demo of CC3 Pipeline. It has few limitations and is quite robust even for a demo. I recommend you follow the download link and work with the program with me over the next 6 weeks.