Reallusion reveals iClone 2020 product roadmap
Reallusion has revealed its 2020 product roadmap for iClone, its real-time 3D animation software, covering the upcoming iClone 7.8, iClone 7.9 and iClone 7.10 releases.
Changes include a new subsurface scattering shader and updated facial lip-sync system in iClone itself, and updates to the plugins integrating iClone with Unreal Engine.
Reallusion has also teased some of the new features due in iClone 8, including native volumetric lighting, motion blur and lens flares, though there are no details on when it will actually ship.
iClone 7.8: new SSS shader, update to iClone Unreal Live Link
Compared to the 2020 product roadmap for Character Creator, Reallusion’s character-creation software, the iClone roadmap is smaller, and includes features already announced for Character Creator itself.
Those include new new subsurface scattering shader, shown in the video above, which will roll out in iClone 7.8 and Character Creator 3.3 in “Q2 2020”.
It is intended for props rather than characters – the digital human shader introduced in iClone 7.7 last year already supports SSS – and will be supported by a library of readymade SSS materials.
Outside the core software, the link plugins between iClone and Unreal Engine will also get updates.
Auto Setup, Reallusion’s free tool for converting iClone characters for use in UE4, gets support for the character collision mesh and cloth physics properties.
Updated 25 June 2020: Reallusion has posted another preview video showing the new features in iClone 7.8, iClone Unreal Live Link 1.2 and Auto Setup 1.1, currently scheduled for release in July 2020.
The first part of the video shows transfer of shaders from iClone to Unreal Engine, including support for Character Creator’s upcoming SkinGen system, which we covered in a separate story.
The section on transfer of cloth physics and props starts at 01:50. As well as being transferred via the Live Link plugin, cloth systems can be exported from iClone in FBX files and imported into UE4 that way.
iClone 7.9 and 7.10: enhanced lip-sync, support for new Character Creator features
The part of the roadmap unique to iClone itself is the enhanced lip-sync system due in iClone 7.9.
Although iClone can already generate lip shapes automatically from text or recorded speech, version 7.9 will feature “highly accurate viseme generation based on audio detection”.
There is also an interesting-sounding option for facial animation to be “driven by audio strength for different animation styles”, though Reallusion’s blog post doesn’t go into any more detail.
iClone 7.9 and 7.10 will also support upcoming features due in Character Creator 3.4: iClone 7.9 will add support for its dynamic wrinkle system, and iClone 7.10 will add support for its facial hair system.
iClone 8: new mirror object, rendering improvements
Perhaps because of the relative shortness of the current feature list for the 7.x updates – Reallusion says there is “more to come” – the firm has also posted several teasers for new features in iClone 8.
They include the most popular request from the firm’s feature tracker, a mirror object (shown above).
The release will also feature improvements to iClone’s native renderer, including support for volumetric lighting, lens flares, motion blur, and enhanced temporal anti-aliasing.
Pricing and system requirements
iClone 7.8 is due in July 2020, iClone 7.9 in Q3 and iClone 7.10 in Q4. Reallusion hasn’t announced a release date for iClone 8 yet.
The current stable release, iClone 7.72, is available for 64-bit Windows 7+. New licences cost $199.
Character Creator is also available for 64-bit Windows 7+, and the base edition is free to iClone users. iClone Unreal Live Link is free to users earning under $100,000/year, or $1,490 otherwise.
To exchange data between iClone and other DCC applications, users also need a separate add-on, 3DXChange, which costs $199 for the Pro edition and $499 for the Pipeline edition.