iClone 5 : release-date, price, pre-release offers

iClone 5, officially announced.

* We have a release date! Sept 2011! (As I always predicted, hem, hem…). There was talk of a big long summer/autumn beta test, but it now seems Reallusion is just going to “go for it” in a few weeks time and then knock any rough edges off later. That seems fine to me, if it means we get it in Sept instead of just before Christmas.

* We also have a price. It’s going to be $99 for the Pro upgrade, for registered users of version 4. (As I had suggested, hem, hem…). eBay some junk now, and you could have the price in your PayPal account by Sept, effectively making it “free”.

* Anyone who buys iClone 4 Pro from now on will get a free upgrade to version 5 Pro (this doesn’t seem to apply to the Standard version, but I guess it may apply to those who buy Standard from now on, then upgrade to Pro before September?).

But there’s also a tempting offer. Buy $200 of any $ content at the official Store (not including the core software, but including CrazyTalk Animator stuff and DA points for the Marketplace) before the middle of Sept, and you’ll get iClone 5 free. So if you’ve always yearned for a particular set of expensive packs, now might be a good time to purchase them. For existing iClone 4 Pro users they would effectively be half-price, in terms of the money you’d be saving.

I must say, though, that the first look at the ‘toon shading effect’ preview is very disappointing, looking like just a standard Photoshop “trace edges” filter which isn’t going to wow anyone who knows about graphics. I really hope these can be adjusted and blended together so that we can get away from that bog-standard “trace edges” look.

The Kinect feature will be an extra $99 plugin, which suits me fine, for now. There might be a time when I go for it + the Kinect kit required, but I don’t need it for now.

Other cool news, the Human IK Motion Editing is the same as that found in Autodesk’s Motionbuilder — Reallusion licenced it. Awesome!

From the forums: suggestions that iClone 5 will ship with new G5 type avatars, but also official confirmation that: “Older avatars and content will still be able to be used in iClone5”.