3DXchange 5.4

Reallusion has announced the nearly-ready 3DXchange 5.4, which will include rigging for facial animation with lip-sync — and also support for animatable DAZ face morphs(!). Sounds fab, and although it’s still “in the testing phase” it should be available in the first quarter of 2013…

“With this new release, not only will we support facial bone animation from any head rig, but we will also support morph-based facial animations made in DAZ, ZBrush and other 3D sculpting tools. In addition, you will be able to create sophisticated morph + bone rig animations with great results.”

It’s my understanding that this was always going to be a free upgrade for existing 3DXchange 5 users?

Also, accompanying the announcement are previews of some fabulous looking new characters, from what seems to be a forthcoming “Big Game Hunter” set…

expl

croc

Monster Workshop tutorial videos

Video tutorials for the new iClone 5 Monster Workshop…

1. Monster Workshop Tutorial – Intro to Avatar Toolkit UI & Basic Assembly (15 minutes):

You need the Avatar Toolkit to animate the Puppet Parts, but it appears (at 7:54 in the video) that this is included in the Monster Workshop Kit.

2. Monster Workshop Tutorial – Facial Animation Fundamentals:

Avatar Toolkit: Monster Workshop – released

iClone 5‘s new Avatar Toolkit: Monster Workshop has arrived on the main Content Store. Includes a bunch of Spore-like creature components, to swop and mix at the whim of your inner Mad Scientist, to build a unique monster for animation.

Puppeteering of your Monster Workshop creatures requires the iClone Avatar Toolkit plugin, a plugin that controls all the unconventional monster-ish bits of the creatures (like fins, spikes, tails, horns etc). Although I’m unclear if the Avatar Toolkit is actually included in Monster Workshop? The Avatar Toolkit isn’t named in the “What’s included:” bit of the Monster Workshop specs page. And yet the Reallusion store currently says… “Avatar Toolkit is coming”. Confusing. But then… I guess it would seem rather odd to release the Monster Workshop, if it requires a plugin that hasn’t yet been released? It seems, judging from an official tutorial video, that the Avatar Toolkit control panel is included.

There are also three Monster Motion expansion packs (currently $60), containing 130 monster motions.

3DXChange version 5.1 is now available

3DXChange version 5.1 is now available. New features or fixes include:

* T-pose preset.
* Support for sending BHV motions to Blender.
* Show/Hide Bone Node Option.
* Proper pivot support for accesories used with non-standard characters.
* Hotkey for Material Pick
* Recorded accessory animation can be transferred.
* G4 / G5 Head option in Head Morph / Export Model.
* Auto-detect G4 / G5 head when importing Head Morph Model.

3DXchange 5 Pro Pipeline – tutorial videos

A new roster of tutorial videos for 3DXchange 5’s Pro Pipeline version:

* Applying Motions from iClone to Characters in Daz Studio

* Importing iClone Content to Unity 3D

* Applying Motions from iClone to 3DS Max CS Biped Characters

* Importing iClone Standard Characters to Maya

* Export of a BVH Motion From iClone to DAZ Studio 4

Reallusion adds a new licencing layer

It looks like 3DXchange 5 Pro Pipeline version is on its way, fairly soon. Not that I can afford it 😉 but even so, it’s a cool development that people will also be able to easily do facial rigging. There are also changes in the Reallusion licencing structure for iClone Content…

“Developers will now have the option to add on an “Export License” fee to their content, which will allow users of other 3D software and game engines to export their iClone content into FBX or BVH format and subsequently use it in external projects.”

“3DXchange5 […] will prevent the user from exporting any iClone content into industry standard formats, unless they first pay the Export License fee [around 5X the normal content price as a standard] for that content”

Yup… that makes sense, and keeps things simple and un-scary. And any games made with your content would presumably be covered by the usual industry restrictions, preventing extraction and re-distribution of characters.

But I’d suspect the content would be used in indie 2.5D “point-n-click” adventure games, rather than full 3D games (which have an increasingly high quality barrier on their models and characters), and as a consequence might be more difficult to extract than if they were in a more mainstream game.

DAZ Studio 4.5 is available

DAZ Studio 4.5 has been released, but only as a “release candidate”. Possibly an important new feature for iClone users is that…

“FBX files can now be round-tripped through DAZ Studio, including rigged and animated items in the scene.”

I’m not sure, but “round-tripped” sounds like you can now import FBX, change and tweak in DAZ Studio, then export the character or prop as FBX?

New Kinect drivers add facial tracking

Microsoft has added face tracking capabilities to Kinect for Windows, through the new May 2012 software update. From the official Kinect blog

“Face Tracking Capabilities:

Makes it possible to fit a 3D mesh to users’ faces and track their facial features and head position in real time using components from the Developer Toolkit. In addition, newly added joint orientation information for skeletons is ideal for avatar animation scenarios and simple pose detection.”

Skeletal tracking (seated and standing) and speech recognition are also tweaked for improvements.