When animating for video games or cinematics the closer you can be to your work the better the outcome. Reallusion is constantly updating and improving on iClone 8, the fastest real-time 3D animation software in the industry, and the latest upgrade is Device LIVE (opens in new tab), a new iClone 8 feature that gets you more hands-on with your projects than ever before.
iClone 8 (opens in new tab) is known as the software that helps streamline animation for games, films, and previz with a user-friendly interface that offers a mocap, facial performance, scene design, character animation and more. Now, Reallusion has made iClone 8 even easier to use. Its wealth of features are literally at your fingertips, using Device LIVE.
With Device LIVE you can connect a variety of devices, including game controllers, Stream Deck and 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse. Device LIVE for iClone 8 offers unique real-time tools, including Live Switching, Trigger Effects, Slider fader, Jog Dial timeline scrubbing and Drone camera navigation.
You’re able to map almost all of iClone 8’s functions to the hotkeys of your connected devices, ensuring you have the tools you need in the palm of your hand. Using a device such as SpaceMouse to control a puppet’s limbs or even a video game controller to manipulate cameras brings a unique physicality to scene control.
Whether you’re making games in Unreal Engine or editing video for live streams and creating in Maya and 3ds Max, iClone 8’s new Device LIVE connectivity and features means you can speed up your workflow and get closer to your projects.
Antony Evans from Taiyaki studios, who specialises in digital avatar creation and animation, recently used iClone 8 and the Spacemouse to create an animated character scene. He used the SpaceMouse hotkeys and triggers to control the cameras and lights and the Motion Trigger (opens in new tab) plugin to manipulate the character’s movements.
The SpaceMouse itself is a new and unique tool, which features fully customizable buttons at your fingertips. Antony Evans shows how he has various cameras and lighting options assigned and can flip views and lights instantly in the real-time scene – ideal for live streaming where you need to react quickly. Fixed centrally to the SpaceMouse is the ‘floating’ Cap, this enables you to move objects or the camera in a scene.
“The Spacemouse has a nice smooth movement,” says Antony Evans, adding that, “it gives you a handheld camera feel and you can get some nice, smooth curved movement.”
If you aren't using the SpaceMouse and need something more affordable, then connecting a video game controller offers a similar direct control of your scene. Connected via Device LIVE a controller can be used to navigate a 3D scene using steady camera controls, standard drone camera controls enable you to sweep around a scene while the controller’s triggers enable you to speed up, slow down and rotate movement. The wealth of options in iClone enables you to adjust sensitivity and remap buttons, too.
Other camera features include the ability to simulate real-world camera lenses, adjust depth-of-field and tweak focal distance and range; you can also switch between up to 10 cameras, record the movement of a camera path to create sweeping shots, and replay and edit a camera timeline.
Lights, cameras, action
Anthony Evans has revealed how he assigned lighting controls to the hotkeys of the SpaceMouse, but iClone 8 and Device LIVE goes much further than simply turning light sets on and off; connect a MIDI slider and Palette and you can control and switch up to 10 lights, simulate dimmer effects, add and control spotlights – from adjusting angles to fall-off distance – and you can Live Link to Unreal Engine.
Connect a Stream Deck or similar director console to iClone using Device LIVE and you can whizz through camera and interface choices and settings at speed. Connect to 10 one-click camera switches to quickly change cameras in real-time or toggle Preview Cam and Custom Cam for greater control.
Back with SpaceMouse and you’re able to take direct control of 3D objects and motion editing. You’re able to move, rotate and scale objects in real time in a scene, click and duplicate objects and adjust the sensitivity of the XYZ axis. You can connect a keyboard and customise this for use, but Reallusion has optimised the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse (opens in new tab) for use in iClone 8. and Device Live.
Speed and realism
What’s really impressive about Device LIVE is how the connected device can be used to quickly double-down on features in iClone. Anthony Evans reveals how he makes use of iClone’s LIVE FACE mocap plugin, along with the new Look- At Camera feature, that forces your character to always look at the camera, and link these functions using Macros – with one button he can change camera, the character automatically switches to look at the new camera and continues lip sync, all in real time.
“Another new hotkey that’s been added [to iClone 8] is the ability to turn on and off Collections,” says Evans, “and this is quite powerful because you can basically put anything you want in that collection and show it or hide it.” The animator demos this feature by turning a red pulsing light on and off instantly.
The animator continues to play around with features and hotkeys, showing how he uses a SpaceMouse and number pad, but you can use a keyboard or Stream Deck, to skip cameras, spin around the character, while he’s being puppeteered and talking with real time lip syncing.
“This works really well for a real-time production, it really gives you control over your scene, or you can just concentrate on performing the character […] being able to customise those buttons at your fingertips really helps with efficiency and work faster,” says Antony Evans.