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WarLord (M.D. McCallum)

I have recently retired after 20+ years as a digital 2D/3D freelancer working for a handful of studios, and then mainly indie work in the latter years.

I’ve done plenty of grunt work in the trenches from rigging animation panels for senior animators when I first started to create scenes, props, and characters.

I have used iClone since version 1 and I’ve worked with Reallusion in the past on white papers, content, demos, and training. It’s always been a pleasant experience as I have never had a company listen so well to what its users want. iClone has grown from an animation gimmick to a powerful animation tool that has listened to its customer base, with a proper roadmap that has got it to this point.

Q: Hello WarLord, and welcome to our feature stories. Could you tell us a bit about your background and your work?

Well, I have recently retired after 20+ years as a digital 2D/3D freelancer working for a handful of studios, and then mainly indie work in the latter years. I’ve done plenty of grunt work in the trenches from rigging animation panels for senior animators when I first started to creating scenes, props, and characters. I specialized in destructive physics using tools such as RayFire with 3ds Max to create and destroy cities and other scenes. Based on this experience I was able to introduce baked in physics-driven destructible props before iClone had physics. I also introduced the first animated crowds and some other features as a natural extension of what I had learned in freelance.

I have used iClone since version 1 and I’ve worked with Reallusion in the past on whitepapers, content, demos, and training. It’s always been a pleasant experience as I have never had a company listen so well to what its users want. iClone has grown from an animation gimmick to a powerful animation tool that has listened to its customer base, with a proper roadmap that has got it to this point.

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Q: Can you tell us on When and Why you start working on animation? Can you remember how you started with iClone? 

I first discovered iClone when I was looking for help for making storyboards. I was using Photoshop and other tools and the process was just too cumbersome. I stumbled onto iClone and was amazed at how fast I could layout a scene. Even with its early limitations iClone could block a shot or revise one faster than any software or combination of software available at the time. This was before pre-visualization was a catch phrase. We called it ‘conceptualization’ back then.

Storyboards were static where I was working and I saw a chance to integrate animated panels into the mix which could more easily explain complicated scenes to the production team. I don’t think Reallusion knew what they had back then. CrazyTalk was always the big dog in terms of product and iClone which I think came from the original “It’s Me” application. But that was before my time was geared toward “Animating your Digital Identity” – if I remember the marketing slogan correctly. It didn’t take long before users were making iClone movies even without free moving cameras in version 1.

There wasn’t even a viable forum back then, so I started making tutorials for my YouTube channel, and got involved in the iClone community. At one time, it took me over an hour a day to answer iClone related emails with other users sharing tips. That led to publishing the first iClone Beginners Guide with PACKT Publishing which really opened doors to more opportunities.

Yup… iClone has been a big part of my life since 2005.

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Q: Could you tell us about your thoughts on iClone and CrazyTalk, and why you chose to use them. Besides our software, what other applications do you use? Any samples of your work? 

I don’t use CrazyTalk nearly as much as I use iClone but they are so similar that I have no problem in jumping over to CrazyTalk when needed.

My main work has been 3D and these past few years were spent character making which means that the iClone pipeline became very important to me. It was a way to quickly prototype characters, create storyboards, and create great marketing images.

My usual workflow is to create the base character in Character Creator and then export the mesh out to ZBrush for re-sculpting along with Marvelous Designer for adding clothing. These are then rigged in 3ds Max with Substance Painter being used to provide the final texture maps. It’s a very fast and cost-efficient pipeline for full, bipedal character production. There are examples of my work on my YouTube channel.

Q; What can the iClone, and the entire animation community look forward from you now that you are in retirement?  

Now that I’m retired I hope to be able bring more of what I have learned into the iClone community. I was fortunate enough to work with some of the best digital artists on the planet. It’s been an incredible classroom as I work in a pipeline with people employing cutting-edge talent and tools. Some of that wears off and I hope I can share it for some useful tips.

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I have too much creative energy to just retire. I plan on putting characters and props in the Marketplace more often, once I get settled into retirement. I’m also a multi-instrumental musician, so combine that with a mocap suit and you can get some pretty cool stuff going. I’ve mocapped guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard motions for use in iClone projects and I plan on exploring some experimental musical work combined with the Virtual Reality work I’ve done in the past.

Having development experience with both VR headsets allows me to plug a lot of different projects into VR via several platforms and that is exciting. I don’t’ think I’ll ever stop when it comes to “Create and Animate” as that is what is I live for.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with us, or anything you would like to say to your fans? 

More than anything I would like people considering animation to know that anyone can animate. How well do you animate is up to you, but software like CrazyTalk and iClone have taken a lot of the tedious and frustrating work out of animation.

You don’t have to be a genius to animate. You don’t even have to be dedicated to the craft with these types of tools as they do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. If you truly want to animate — then the tools, assets, and tutorials are all out there waiting for you!

Please come by my Marketplace store, for good prices on props and characters, and visit my YouTube channel for tutorials and product demos.

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To see more of WarLord’s work, visit >

Reallusion Content Store: https://www.reallusion.com/contentstore/FeaturedDeveloper/profile/#!/WarLord/iClone

Website: http://www.mdmccallum.com/v10/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/warlord720

 

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