This particular retargeting is one that I have put off and yet looked forward to the most in terms of the apps I’ve been using during this retargeting craze I’m caught up in. The former because I use Max almost daily and used to work with Maya ages ago, so I had confidence I’d get through it with properly working motions. And the latter because I have heard so many good things about Blender over the years.
I never really had time to work with Blender as I was mainly working with Max shops in my career and Blender didn’t fit any pipeline back then, so assets had to be manually converted. An expensive notion when you could make your own in a more production-friendly app. So, I was ready to rock and roll, as it were, with Blender.
Turns out all that excitement was justified but overblown. Not in a negative way though. It was just so simple I didn’t get to spend much time with the app even though I breezed through like I knew what I was doing.
Seriously. It was so easy it was over in less than 10 minutes! Before I even got to retargeting I used Auto-Rig Pro to rig a character really believing it would be a trial and error process but then, as so many Blender users already know, it was a simple and straightforward procedure that produced immediate and usable results.
Retargeting Reallusion ActorCore Motions in Blender
NOTE: This requires the Auto-Rig Pro from the Blender market.
IMPORT ACTORCORE FBX MOTION
The ActorCore motions are downloaded in FBX format so the first task is to import one of the motions files with the usual File, Import method, and be sure to check the ANIMATION checkbox in the import dialog. After importing I moved the FBX skeleton to the side and checked the animation which looked good.
Press N to open the menu and choose ARP (Auto-Rig Pro) to open the Auto-Rig Pro menu. Then choose ReMap from the Auto-Rig Pro Remap section. Choose the FBX motion as the Source Armature and the character as the Target Armature. From here go into the Build Bones List section, under Mapping Presets, import the free preset available on the ActorCore website.
Next, we redefine the Rest Pose by pressing that button then selecting the arm, leg, and hand bones to correct the rotation. To do this, after the bones are selected, press the Copy Selected Bones Rotation button, then click Apply.
Now we are ready to retarget so press the Retarget button, change frame selection if necessary on the popup dialog, and hit OK. The motion should now be retargeted.
That’s it. You can now delete the FBX file and play with your newly retargeted character with motion. The video has more detailed information for those that want to see this in action. It also includes loading multiple motions and pretty much a rehash of Reallusion’s training.
So far it has been a no-brainer to retarget motions from the ActorCore library. While I readily admit my 3D experience makes it easier to learn new things in non-familiar 3D apps, none of the retargeting process is rocket science. A new user might get stumped on navigation or certain feature locations but they should be able to follow either my demos or Reallusion’s tutorials.
The only downside is having to buy a commercial plug-in like Auto-Rig Pro ($40 US). Even so, the price is very reasonable, its operation straightforward and well worth its cost when you consider all the things it opens up in terms of creativity. It doesn’t just do humanoids, so it is a definite advantage to character and 3D asset makers.
ActorCore Homepage: https://bit.ly/2WtF8Vr
iClone Unreal Live Link: http://bit.ly/3nJ4GKx
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.