Thursday, March 25th, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Reallusion ships iClone 7.9

Reallusion has released iClone 7.9, the latest free update to its real-time character animation software.

The update focuses on facial animation, introducing new lip-sync system AccuLips, and Expression Plus, a new set of scan-based facial blendshapes; and improving facial motion capture via new iPhones.

iClone also now supports hairstyles and facial hair created using the new Smart Hair system introduced in Character Creator 3.4, the latest version of Reallusion’s character generator, which also shipped yesterday.

New AccuLips technology provides more accurate automatic lip-sync animation
New features in the release include AccuLips, a new lip sync technology that provides “smoother and more accurate results” than iClone’s previous lip sync system.

It processes audio recordings of speech, automatically generating both facial animation and a written transcript that can be edited manually to tailor the animation further.

The transcript is based on a 200,000-word dictionary – only English is supported in the 7.9 release – which users can customise themselves, adding new words and their corresponding mouth shapes.

Facial animation modified by phoneme pairs and speech styles
Rather than simply breaking speech down into phonemes, its individual sound-units, and matching them to corresponding visemes, or facial shapes, AccuLips uses a phoneme pair system.

The mouth shapes it generates are affected both by the preceding and following phoneme, resulting in a total of 240 possible phoneme combinations, with their own transition curves.

Other interesting features include Talking Styles, a new system of presets matching lip sync animation to different rates and styles of speech, including whispering, mumbling, yelling and singing.

Users can also tune output manually, adjusting control sliders corresponding to different phonemes.

New ExPlus facial blend shapes support better iPhone facial motion capture via Motion Live
iClone 7.9 also introduces Expression Plus (ExPlus), a new set of 63 facial blendshapes that can be used with the software’s Facial Puppet and Face Key toolsets to create more realistic facial animation.

They include the 52 shapes specified by ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality toolkit, used for facial tracking on new iPhones.

Both Motion Live, iClone’s own motion-capture add-on, and its Live Face iPhone profile have been updated to make use of the ARKit blend shapes.

Motion Live 1.1 also adds a range of new features for smoothing, rebalancing and retargeting motion-captured facial animation, and for selectively overwriting or blending existing animation with a new take.

Support for Smart Hair and Alembic caches
In addition, iClone 7.9 introduces support for hair styles and facial hair created using Smart Hair, the new modular system introduced in Character Creator 3.4.

Other changes include the option to import animated props as Alembic caches, and a number of smaller workflow improvements, listed in this forum thread.

Pricing and system requirements
iClone 7.9 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+. The update is free to iClone 7.x users; new licences cost $199.

To exchange data between iClone and other DCC applications, users also need a separate add-on, 3DXChange. It costs $199 for the Pro edition and $499 for the Pipeline edition.

The base Motion Live plugin costs $199, while its Live Face iPhone profile has an MSRP of $399.

Read an overview of the new facial animation features in iClone 7.9 on the product website

Read a full list of new features in iClone 7.9 on Reallusion’s forum