Discover how iClone and HitFilm combine to create 3D animation, 3D models, and video editing capabilities…
iClone and HitFilm combine with outstanding results for incorporating 3D animation, 3D models, and video editing. Here are the top 5 reasons I’ve found to use iClone and HItFilm together as a power-duo for 3D and video VFX.
iClone is a powerful 3D animation software, that stands out by being affordable, very intuitive and user-friendly. It has a surprisingly short learning curve, and it really boosts the performance of any animation process, allowing us to achieve spectacular results without the need of expensive and complicated resources.
HitFilm is a very powerful visual effect and editing application that is also much easier to master than most software on the market. Although it allows professional results, FXhome has paid special attention to help beginners and encourage indie filmmakers to include visual effects in their projects.
1: Preparing 3D Models in iClone for HitFilm
Filmmakers often need to include expensive items in their productions, like military stuff, buildings, space ships, etc… In these cases, 3D models are very useful as they can be mixed with the real footage, helping us to create the adequate sets without the need to build them.
Through 3DXchange, iClone can import and prepare a huge amount of 3D props and motions available on the Internet, imported from other 3D apps or captured with Mocap. Any 3DS, FBX or OBJ standard model can be converted in an iClone prop, as well as the BVH motion files can be applied to the iClone characters.
In addition, all the free Sketchup models of 3D Warehouse also can be imported directly into iClone.
Once in iClone, we can easily change a 3D model’s materials, editing the look of the model in a matter of minutes. The intuitive tools inside iClone, like Motion Puppet, Lip-sync and the Motion Library can animate the models and prepare them for the compositing process in HitFilm.
iClone goes even further, offering a lot of interesting features like… PBR materials that provide an extremely realistic aspect to standard props. A physics engine that allows the rigid models to interact with them in a very natural way, or soft cloth physics, that adds extra realism to the scenes, simulating the movements of the clothes, while interacting with the wind, the rigid props or the characters.
Even we can easily add trees, bushes, and grass to our scenes, using the massive botanic library inside iClone. All these models can be animated with the wind and “planted” in random clusters following the terrain.
2: Preparing animated characters in iClone for HitFilm
iClone can manage and animate special characters like Robots, Aliens, or even background extras that could be needed in our productions.
Character Creator, from Reallusion, allows us to create any kind of biped actors, that can be automatically exported to iClone, where they can be easily animated using their very intuitive facial and body animation tools. We can even use mocap devices like the Noitom Perception Neuron Suit or the Microsoft Kinect to capture our movements and apply them to the models.
iClone animated models can be exported to HitFilm in Alembic format, allowing us to put them in a real 3D environment, using the lights, effects and cameras of HitFilm to set the scene before rendering the final sequence.
We can also use the real footage in iClone as background. It helps to place the characters and props and adjust the correct light and camera view. Then, the render obtained from iClone can be used as a compositing layer in HitFilm with very few adjustments.
3- Using HitFilm Visual Effects in iClone scenes
HitFilm allows us to create a huge variety of visual effects, so we can easily enhance our shots, adapting them to the needs of our scripts.
In this way, we can do the same with iClone renders. Our sequences will look much more realistic using the particle and camera effects generated by HitFilm in addition to the ones generated by iClone.
The atmospheric and light effects provided by HitFilm, add a special touch to our scenes making them much more attractive and spectacular.
4- Compositing with iClone Videos
Using HitFilm, we can create high-quality compositing sequences combining real footage and iClone renders.The 3D animated models can be placed over the real footage in iClone, adjusting the lights and the camera view. After hiding the background, we can render the scene as a png sequence that can be placed in a HitFilm layer and modified to obtain very convincing results.
We can render our iClone scene in different layers too, choosing the visible elements of the iClone project for each of the renders, depending on their depth level. These layers provided by iClone can be mixed with the visual effects layers created on HitFilm, allowing us to obtain very sophisticated sequences.
5: Adding Cinematic Styles to iClone videos
And there is even more, HitFilm also can provide interesting effects, altering the color and the light conditions of the scenes created with iClone. In this way, we can give a personal touch to our productions with a defined, original look and feel.
Color grading allows us to get different cinematic looks in our shots, simulating film standards or adding artistic ambient effects to our iClone productions.
By combining iClone and HitFilm, we can achieve more than remarkable results, but most important, these applications are affordable and really easy to learn. They provide intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that boost our performance, and don’t require expensive hardware like “render farms“.
About the Author
A software programmer who also used to work with design and 3D software. Now writing graphic novels and making animated series with iClone.