Preparing your Character
Once you have scanned your 3D model, you need to import it into Character Creator 3, and set up the template to be used for your model.
You will also prepare the video performance footage, so that it is ready to be used in the next steps of animation.
1. Setup your Character's body and head in CC3
1.1: Scan your subject
You can scan your subject using either structured light (EG; Peel scanner) or Photogrammetry, the later works the best for "likeness". See Shooting instructions
1.2: Solve and retopologize your scan
Solve and retopologize your scan
1.3: Import into CC3
We are recommending building and dressing your avatar in Realillusion's Character Creator 3. The following is a brief of the process from Realillusion. They provide a series of 18 videos to go step by step through the process.
2. Prepare Video Performance Footage
2.1 : Shoot your performance
If you haven't captured your subject's facial performance, follow these step-by-step shoot instructions to do so.
2.1: Import HMC footage
Import your HMC footage in any editing software that you are used to; Premiere, Final Cut Pro, etc.
2.2: Select and export your clips
Select the shots that you would like to keep. This is where the editorial choices are being made by a client if applicable.
Review the selection and make sure that the footage is clean, in focus, and that each shot starts and ends with a neutral pose.
Export the selected clips with the following settings:
Formats: 1080P (at minimum)
Codec: H265 or Prores 422
Frame rate: 24 or 30 (we prefer 24fps as it looks more cinematic and is faster to process)
Should we make a distinction between the ROM footage and the clip selects? What do we do with the ROM - we process and stabilize this too right?
2.3: Stabilize your clips
The HMC should produce relatively stable footage but there will always be slight movement visible on the face relative to the camera. Therefore each clip needs to be carefully stabilized. Here is the stabilization workflow PDF. Stabilization is essential to avoid swimming textures. (stabilizing footage is a special skill and my need several passes to get perfect)
3. Set up the DDH template
should this section not go to 'how to animate'?
The following is how to set up the DDH template in Maya and After Effects. This will produce UV maps with baked-in facial performance video enabling the model to be animated very accurately using this projection "tracing layer" over the model, as you retarget (clean up) the animations.
3.1: Maya step by step
3.2: After Effects step by step
4. Run the DDH image processor
The DDH image processor is the core of this pipeline and produces the UV video atlas that from the template you just set up. This atlas is applied to the model's face in game engine. This will add all that fine micro-detail to your character without any extra animation or geometry Just a video texture. All the crow's feet, freckles and moles, the furrowed brows, the interior mouth, and tung. All this no longer needs to be extra geometry, just video as a texture.
4.1 Update versions
Ensure you are running Maya ( <= 2020) and Adobe Photoshop (<= 2020), and Adobe After Effects ( <= 2020)
4.2 Download Image Processor
4.3 Extract Install
Extract the downloaded zip into a folder on your PC. In that folder, find the file install_admin.bat. Right click on it and click Run as administrator
When the installer succeeds, it will have installed
several Maya scripts, a Photoshop plugin and action, and an After Effects plugin.
4.4 Quick Start Guide
4.5 Technical Overview