Last time I took a quick look at Character Creator's Headshot. For my next step I decided to take a quick look at Character Creator, but I specifically wanted to see how I could send the characters from Character Creator to Unreal Engine.
What drove me to test out Character Creator is the level of quality the software offers. The characters themselves are something I could create, if I spend enough time with them. However, one of my goals as independent game development is to work faster, and save as much time as possible, and I see Character Creator as a good option to create, texture and rig characters for games I work on.
Character Creator is similar to Poser, as it offers a base character and then lets you modify all the different body parts. The base software includes a good number of morphs, but you can purchase add-ons that offer more face and body morphs.
When you export as FBX you have different options and even software presets. I tested the Unreal Engine preset and exported the character as FBX. Another thing you can do is combine the textures as a single texture, which is very useful for game development since it helps save video memory.
I imported the FBX file into Unreal Engine, and it brought in all the textures and also materials for the different elements (in this case, since I exported the woman with the underwear, I had two materials, one for the body and another one for the underwear). One thing I noticed is that the material came in with the wrong settings, because it reads the material from the FBX file and then converts it to a UE4 material. The material's alpha texture was redirected incorrectly and also the transparency mode was wrong (it was set to translucent). That's easily fixed in UE4, though. After fixing the material and the alpha texture, I got what you see below.
I noticed the exported character had no facial bones, but it includes a lot of facial morphs for facial animation. Those also import into Unreal Engine with no issue. I am unsure if Character Creator includes animation tools, because I haven't explored the software enough, but it seems it doesn't, so I think facial and body animation is something that I'd either have to do by hand, inside Maya, or inside iClone.
One thing to keep in mind is that higher texture size equals higher export time. I tried exporting 2K textures and it finished in just a few minutes. However, when I tried exporting 4K textures, it took around 15 minutes to export the file. My computer is not a top of the line computer (it's a 4th generation 3.6GHz Core i7 with 16 Gb of RAM, an SSD drive and a Geforce GTX 970 I acquired back in 2015), and newer computers would export higher resolution characters in less time.
The exported character is fully compatible with the UE4 default rig, and that can save you some time if you are using one of the UE4 templates. For example, if you are using the third person template, you can replace the robot with your Character Creator character, and it will work just fine.
As you know, one of my projects is a horror game inspired by Haunting Ground. Since I really want to put Character Creator to the test, my next step is to use a Character Creator character in that game, to see if it would be feasible to replace Amelia, the protagonist of that game (pictured below).
Now it's time to take a look at iClone and how I can use it for game development. See you next time!
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