Friday, September 13th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Reallusion ships iClone 7.6 and Character Creator 3.1

Reallusion has released iClone 7.6, the latest update to its real-time 3D character animation software, adding support for batch rendering and IES lights.

The firm has also released Character Creator 3.1, the latest version of its 3D character creation tool, adding new options for fixing clothing interpenetration and exporting characters at multiple levels of detail.

According to Reallusion’s forum, both releases actually shipped last month, but the firm has only just announced Character Creator 3.1 on its blog.

iClone 7.6: batch rendering, IES lights and new export workflows
iClone gets a sizeable update, adding what Reallusion describes as “many long-awaited functions”.

Those include support for batch rendering, shown in the video at the top of the story, now available in both the native iClone renderer and the paid-for Iray render add-on.

The update also adds support for IES lighting, making it possible to replicate real-world lighting fixtures within iClone. Both the native spot and point lights support IES settings.

The software’s toon shader also gets an update, with the option to generate continuous gradients as well as colour bands for a semi-toon-shaded look in which objects are outlined but otherwise shaded realistically.

Import and export changes include the option to combine multiple materials that share textures during import, to reduce file sizes; and to export UV maps on a per-material basis.

Users can also now import OBJ and FBX files by dragging them directly into the 3D viewport.

Reallusion has also updated Character Creator & iClone Auto Setup, its free plugin automating the mapping of iClone shaders and skeletons to Unreal Engine characters, for iClone 7.6 and Character Creator 3.1.

We covered the plugin at the time of its release, along with iClone Live Link, Reallusion’s paid software for live-linking iClone to Unreal Engine for rendering. You can find more details in our original story.

Character Creator 3.1: new tools for generating LOD assets and working with imported 3D clothing
Character Creator 3.1 adds a new system for generating level of detail assets when exporting characters to iClone in Reallusion’s proprietary iAvatar format.

As well as providing different total polygon counts for the character, clothing and accessories, the different quality settings control bone counts in its rig and whether the character supports facial animation.

You can see a visual comparison of different quality levels on Reallusion’s blog.

There are also new tools for working with clothes created in other DCC tools, or from 3D scan data.

They include a new feature to hide the interpenetration of clothing with a character’s body simply by setting parts of the body not to display underneath.

Users can also weld vertices to repair small surface breakages, and as with iClone itself, can now combine multiple materials that share textures on import, in order to keep file sizes down.

Character Creator also now supports the ‘Material Plus’ format used in iClone, making it possible to save multiple sub-materials for a character in a single file.

Again, Reallusion’s blog post namechecks features available via Character Creator & iClone Auto Setup, although as far as we can see, those will only be new to users who didn’t download the plugin on its release.

Due in Character Creator 3.2 and 3.3: new skin shading, face generation and wrinkle creation tools
The firm has also posted an updated product roadmap for Character Creator, including the key features scheduled for the next two updates.

Character Creator 3.2 will feature a new digital human shader – also due in iClone itself – with support for subsurface scattering, and Headshot, a new plugin for generating 3D faces matching reference photos.

Reallusion’s forum post doesn’t say whether the plugin will be a paid add-on, or how much it will cost.

Character Creator 3.3, due in the first quarter of 2020, will feature a new HD skin generator and an automated wrinkle-generation system.

Pricing and availability
iClone 7.6 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+. The update is free to iClone 7.x users; new licences cost $199.

Character Creator 3.1 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+. The base edition is free to registered users of iClone 7; the full Pipeline edition costs $199. You can see a detailed feature comparision of the two editions here.

To exchange data between iClone and other DCC applications, or to export characters from the free edition of Character Creator in OBJ or FBX format, users also need a separate add-on, 3DXChange.

3DXChange costs $199 for the Pro edition and $499 for the Pipeline edition.

Read a full list of new features in iClone 7.6 on Reallusion’s forum

Read a full list of new features in Character Creator 3.1 on Reallusion’s forum