A challenging project
The creative team at Brooklyn, NY-based Hi From the Future (HFTF) found the challenge of the Covid-19 lockdown to come just as their music video for “Find a way” by Duckwrth was taking shape. The HFTF Team met with the client over lots of group video calls and enlisted realtime technology from Reallusion and Epic to remotely collaborate over a 5 week production, completing the job and launching the official music video under unusual conditions.
Mark Rubbo, creative director and co-founder of HFTF discusses the project for Duckwrth and details the complete behind the scenes process in a video (above) with partner Elliot Higgins and the rest of the HFTF Team. All the communication and production were all finished in remote team collaboration.
Character Creator (opens in new tab), iClone (opens in new tab) and the iClone Unreal Live Link (opens in new tab) are essential to HFTF’s productions. This pipeline enabled the team to quickly build the characters combining HFTF’s current Zbrush pipeline, and the team successfully built the 4 main characters with ease.
Building the characters
The pipeline does not require the artist to rig the character from scratch, and the Character Creator made avatars can be sent to iClone for immediate animation. Character likeness were created with a CC3 and Zbrush workflow, along with Xgen for hair. Through a series of early virtual workshop sessions with Duckwrth, the team collaborated entirely remotely in order to visualize each aspect of the animated concept, from the overall guiding story arc and structure, down to the details of each artist’s wardrobe.
Collaborating with the artist online
In addition to the broader creative sessions, the HFTF Team also held live performance capture sessions with each of the four artists, which proved valuable on many levels.
The final result
The HFTF Team were able to capture animation reference and blendshape data specifically related to the story arc and actions of the video. The sessions also served as a way for the HFTF Team to experience the personalities and mannerisms of each artist directly.
Lastly, by having a remote yet direct human connection between the artists and creative team, these sessions provided a common ground to bridge the technical and design language of the team with the perspectives and motivations of the artists and record label.
With the animated characters built with iClone, and the 3D environment built in Unreal Engine, the HFTF Team even made a TV game prototype based on this project. The team was glad that remote collaboration was actually executable, and it was all made possible with iClone Unreal Pipeline. Realtime collaboration with Reallusion tools and pipeline for Unreal Engine can be incorporated into a variety of productions.
For more information on Reallusion tools and to get a 30 free trial, visit Reallusion's website.