Reallusion has unveiled Character Creator (CC) 3.0, the new version of its tool for generating rigged human characters, repositioning it from a companion product to iClone to a standalone tool aimed at games and VR.
The update gives characters generated with CC all-quad geometry, introduces automated LOD generation, and adds a simplifed rig for better compatibility with game engines including UE4, Unity and CryEngine.
Reallusion has just posted the second of three planned preview videos showing the new features in CC 3.0 (above), with the software due to ship commercially in September 2018.
From companion product to iClone to standalone character creation tool
Originally released in 2015, Character Creator is intended to generate animation-ready 3D human characters.
The software provides an alterative to commercial services like Autodesk’s Character Generator or Adobe’s Fuse CC, or free tools like MakeHuman and Manuel Bastioni Lab.
Although the free Lite edition enables users to export a limited number of characters for use in other tools, the original releases were really designed for use with iClone, Reallusion’s own animation software.
Character Creator 3.0 stands that relationship on its head. Although the software will still be bundled free with iClone, the bundled edition is now the one with the smaller feature set.
Instead, many of the key new features are reserved for Character Creator 3.0 Pipeline, a new commercial edition intended as a standalone character creator for games, virtual reality and augmented reality work.
New in CC 3.0: all-quad base topology, automated clothing weighting, GoZ bridge to ZBrush
In its original preview video, released in May, Reallusion showed off the new all-quad base topology and improved skin weighting of the characters generated by Character Creator 3.0.
Other features announced first time around include new automated conforming and weighting systems for clothing, with the option to modify the results by painting weights manually.
The preview also covered support for GoZ, Pixologic’s round-tripping system, which should enable users to modify characters created in CC 3.0 in ZBrush, or use the software to sculpt new morphs for them.
Convert high-res base characters to low-res in-game assets, with support for InstaLOD mesh optimisation
The new preview focuses on how the high-res, all-quad character model is coverted into a low-res, all-tri version ready for use in-game.
Any standard CC character can be converted automatically into a 10,000-polygon Game Base character with a simplified skeleton rig “optimised identically for game engine compatibility”.
CC 3.0 will also integrate InstaLOD’s mesh optimisation technology, making it possible to further decimate the geometry to a new target poly count in order to generate level of detail assets.
Users can choose to set separate decimation levels for individual body parts or clothing; bake mesh details into texture maps; and merge texture maps for clothing and props into the same UV space as the character.
According to Reallusion’s website, the final demo video, which will be released alongside the software itself, will cover workflows for using 3D scans with Character Creator, and new character retopology tools.
Pricing and availability
Character Creator 3.0 is due to ship in September 2018 for Windows 7+.
The base edition, Character Creator 3.0 for iClone, will be free for registered users of iClone 7, but lacks GoZ, InstaLOD, and the new automated skinning system for clothing.
To export characters in OBJ or FBX format, users of the iClone edition will also need a separate add-on, 3DXChange 7, which costs $199 for the Pro edition or $499 for the Pipeline edition.
The standalone edition, Character Creator 3.0 Pipeline, will come with the export functionality and extra tools built in, and costs $199. You can see a detailed feature comparision of the two editions here.
Reallusion has also announced a new plugin edition of the Iray GPU renderer designed for use with either version of Character Creator, or with iClone itself. It;s due to ship in “Q4 2018” and will cost $99.
Both Character Creator 3.0 and the Iray plugin are currently available to pre-order at a discount.