According to an irritating little pop-up I get every time I open my iClone trial version, I have nine days left to figure out how to use it.
Not likely to happen.
But I have made progress. Because the software as a whole completely overwhelmed me, I decided to focus on just one aspect of it at a time. It’s taken the entire month, but I’m confident now about puppet creation and the face mapping technology unique to this platform. I’ve learned to make and import hair, retexture and alpha-edit clothing using iClone’s built-in features (as opposed to using Milkshape and SimPe, as I had to do with Sims 2), and tonight I experimented with motion layers. Saving, recording, and filming a scene is still beyond me, but I did succeed in photographing my little puppet family in some very convincing poses. I’ve uploaded a few for your entertainment—or for use as scarecrows when you plant your garden next spring. :-0
I still have much to learn. Set creation, shadows and lighting. Camera technique. Animation sequences. Soft body and hard body physics. Motion capture. Gaah! Makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
But you know, seems like I remember feeling exactly that way when I downloaded the trial version of Milkshape. And when I opened a SimPe package file for the first time. Two things occur to me: first, just as it is today with those programs, so it will be after I’ve spent a little more time with iClone. And secondly, all those hours I spent meshing and recoloring and pulling my hair out trying to learn 3D modeling for the Stonehaven machinima were NOT wasted. That experience is paying off in spades now.
The iClone process is actually much simpler than anything I’ve done before. Retexturing is done within the software itself—there’s even a “launch” feature that opens my graphics editor from the main panel. But for all this ease of use, if I didn’t already know how to alter a texture file or do a clean alpha edit, I would be even farther behind the eightball. Six months of creating custom content for the Stonehaven video put me ahead of the curve and gave me an excellent foundation to build on.
Now for the pictures.
First, the real deal. This is a group shot of my family taken a few days ago while my son Jay was visiting:
Next are screenshots I made of us as iClone puppets. I made the Scott puppet first, and I see such a difference in quality between it and the others that I’ve decided to remake him. That will be my project for tomorrow. I was fairly satisfied with my own likeness, and Jay’s turned out pretty well, too. (He chose this hair for the puppet while he was here, because it looks like his did before he went stupid and buzzed it all off.) But the Laura puppet (my daughter)—holy cow. It looks more like her than the photo up there. How does that happen, I wonder?