Using CC3 characters in Unity

Apr 30, 2021 at 07:30 am by nemirc

During all this time, I have been using CC3 characters in Unreal Engine. However, for a small side project we are developing in Unity, I found the need to bring my CC3 characters into that engine. This is my experience using CC3 characters in Unity.

Character Creator 3 offers an auto-setup tool for Unity. You import your character into Unity by dragging into Unity the folder containing all exported data from C3 (character model, JSON file, textures). The auto-setup runs in the background and creates your materials (it uses Unity’s standard material, even for the skin), with all the different maps, and applies them to the character. It also creates an Animation Controller that you can use to drive your character’s animations using whatever method you plan to use.

Overall, the import works fine. Animations play as expected, and the character looks as good as you would expect it to look using Unity’s Standard shader (meaning the outfits look very good, but the character’s skin looks like a hard surface, not skin). Keep in mind Unity requires more work for anything to look nice (this has improved with the HDRP, but the Standard RP still has the “Unity look” by default).

One thing I noticed is that transparency was not imported correctly for my outfit. For the skirt, I had made a transparency map that ran across the frontal left part, as you can see in the image below.

However, the imported character’s skirt looks like this.  

Fixing it is easy, though. All you have to do is check the “Alpha is transparency” box in the texture import settings. After you do it,the texture looks the way it’s supposed to.

While I was testing animations, I noticed Unity doesn’t seem to like animations to be imported separately. When tried to import an animation, and then link the new animation to the character previously imported (using the “Avatar” functionality), it doesn’t work, and breaks the imported animation, the animation broke. To fix this, I had to import animations with the character. To do this, the CC3 FBX exported must be set to “mesh and motion” and, in the box, you add all the motions you want to be exported with your character.

If, on the other hand, when I tried to change the character’s import settings so the animations use the Legacy or Generic method, the imported character broke.

The Unity auto-setup is only available on some versions of Unity right now, but if you want to use your CC3 characters in a currently-unsupported version, you can import your characters manually. If you check the auto-setup documentation, you know what steps to do on your own. First, you can set your project to Linear color space, and then you can manually import your character, create materials and setup your rig. Unfortunately, from my experience, I still need to import all the animations with the character.

Using characters from CC3 in Unity is very easy and straight forward, although it can be tricky depending on your current setup. I’ll continue sharing more tips for using CC3 characters in Unity as I progress with this project.

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