In the world of animation, there are dozens of sources to choose from when looking to acquire professional, high-poly 3D characters to render stills and animation.
One source is Daz 3D, a 3D content and software company that specializes in providing rigged 3D human models, associated accessory content, and software. Of course, the real power behind Daz 3D is their online 3D content marketplace that has over 16,000 items. These include their Daz Genesis characters, which are the first generation of Daz 3D’s technology for creating human 3D figures.
Besides Genesis 1 and 2, Daz 3D also offers their Genesis 3 technology which is fully compatible with iClone 6.52, and its converter 3DXchange 6.52, for real-time facial and body animations. With iClone 6.52, Daz users can exploit their Genesis 3 content by combining the versatility and power of their original Genesis architecture with an extensive list of iClone facial and body animation tools, along with natural flowing soft-cloth and hair physics for a high level of customization and detail like never before.
Why use iClone to Animate Daz Characters?
Over the years iClone has proven to be the pipeline that Daz users have been using to produce fast, quality animations due to iClone’s lightning speed and easy of use. Now you to can bring Daz characters to life with intelligent lip-syncing, facial expression tools, body animations, and dynamic soft-cloth physics behaviors.
iClone’s major advantages include a collection of professional animation tools like;
- Motion Puppet – which lets you select body parts and add puppet behaviors while controlling animations during playback or real-time recording.
- HumanIK Motion Key Editing – allows your 3D characters to have automatic floor contact while the real-time IK motion control keeps a proper body balance.
- Face Puppet – an intuitive and facial animation panel that lets you auto-animate character speech and expression.
- Audio Lipsyncing – an audio driven lip-syncing engine that automatically maps your audio to a 3D characters lips and facial movements.
Another advantage of working with iClone is the iClone motion capture feature. If you have a motion capture suit like the Perception Neuron 32 Sensor suit, then you can Live record your custom mocap motions for use with Daz 3D Genesis characters prior to exporting to other 3D tools or game engines.
How do I do it?
Well, believe it or not, its pretty straight forward. We have streamlined the characterization process for Daz Genesis characters so that you simply drag characters into our 3DXchange, in FBX format, to automatically complete all the bone mapping. The cool thing is, that 3DXchange already comes with an updated preset that allows it to instantly recognize and convert Daz characters to iClone non-standard characters.
So to start, you will need to have the latest Daz 3D Studio 4.9 BETA software. This application will be necessary in order to get the correct FBX export when you export Daz characters out. You can download the Daz 3D Studio 4.9 Beta for free, from the Daz 3D website.
Besides Daz 3D Studio, you will also need the iClone DUF files that contain the facial animation data. Specifically, morph target data for facial lip-syncing inside iClone. The DUF files contain a template set of keyframes, each corresponding to a unique face morph state of your DAZ character which will later be used by the Expression Editor in 3DXchange to determine your character expression profile.
Where do I get the tools?
To acquire the iClone .DUF files for Genesis, you will need the iClone Daz Genesis Extension pack which contains all the .DUF files for every Genesis character generation; Genesis 1, 2, and 3. This pack will allow you to customize Daz facial expressions, auto import Genesis facial morphs while providing full iClone facial lip-sync and face puppet compatibility.
You can get this Genesis Extension Pack for free if you already own 3DXchange 6 Pipeline. To retrieve it, just log into your Reallusion account, and go to “Order History”.
Another way is to purchase the Facial Pipeline Character Pack. This pack will not just provide you with the necessary .DUF files, but it will also come with lots of tools, documents, samples, and source files that are designed to help users easily learn how to import and animate 3D characters using different facial rigs, including bone-based, morph-based, and hybrid facial rigs which combine both technologies.
OK, so what About the Animation?
Once you have your Genesis 1, 2, or 3 characters in iClone, then you can take advantage of all the fast and powerful iClone motion tools. You can use these tools individually, or in combination to quickly create unique motions in creative ways to really give you an edge over the way your character moves.
To generate body motions you can use anything from the pre-made iMotion library with Human IK Editing, Motion Layer Editing, Puppet Motion, MixMove motion, and Direct Puppet.
Also, facial animation with iClone doesn’t get any easier as you simply need to employ the automatic lip-syncing function which will generate facial visemes based on your own voice, a pre-recorded audio file, or a TTS engine.
Besides using iClone to generate facial lip-syncs, expressions, and body motions you can also use it to generate real-time physics movements for the hair or soft-cloth garments. Simply, turn on the iClone physics, adjust the collision shapes between your character and its clothing, and simply let iClone auto generate these physical interactions.
So there you have it, folks! Thanks to the latest iClone and 3DXchange 6.52 updates, now any Daz 3D user has the ability to exploit their Daz character library with unlimited iClone motion possibilities.
If you would like to learn more about the iClone-Daz Genesis Extension and this amazing pipeline, just visit HERE.