||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (January 2014)|
|Stable release||5.51 / 5 December 2013|
|Type||3D computer graphics|
iClone is a real-time, 3D animation and rendering software program that enables users to make 3D animated films. It is notable for being one of only five pieces of animation software (the other four being Muvizu, Moviestorm, Xtranormal and Autodesk MotionBuilder) that use a real-time "WYSIWYG" view to let animators see the results of their work immediately, and to play back animations in the viewport. This real-time feature is enabled by using a 3D videogame engine for instant on-screen rendering.
Other functionality includes: full facial and skeletal animation of human and animal figures; lip-syncing; import of standard 3D file types including FBX; a timeline for editing and merging motions; a scripting language (Lua) for character interaction; application of standard motion-capture files; the ability to control an animated scene in the same manner as playing a videogame; and the import of models from Google 3D Warehouse, among many other features. iClone is also notable for offering users royalty-free usage of all content that they create with the software, even when using Reallusion's own assets library. As of November 2013, the iClone software is in version 5.51.
iClone is developed and marketed by Reallusion, a company that has a software and digital content development base in Taiwan with offices and training centres in the U.S. and Germany.
Reallusion launched iClone v1.0 in December, 2005 as a tool to create 3D animation and render animated videos. iClone v1.0 3D engine supported real-time 3D animation and creation of avatars from photographs. Reallusion’s facial mapping and lip-synch animation technology derived from the 2001 release of CrazyTalk 2D animation software. The face mapping tools and real-time 3D animation environment made iClone popular with the Machinima filmmaking community. Machinima, commonly a video game based filmmaking technique that transformed gamers into filmmakers by capturing live video action from within video games and virtual worlds, like Quake and Second Life. Gamers creating films found that their ability to develop commercially viable content was challenged by game makers not allowing the gamer made films to be sold or broadcast. iClone v1.0 was adopted by many Machinima filmmakers and was showcased at the first-annual Machinima Expo held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York in 2005. Reallusion’s Vice President, John C Martin II presented to Machinima Festival attendees with a demo of iClone and news that Reallusion would provide a full commercial license for all movies produced with iClone v1.0 and beyond as a counter-strike to efforts of game development companies’ policy towards Machinima.
Machinima Festival 2005 wiki 
Machinima Expo iClone presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmiT-3RwvEg
iClone v2.0 released in March 2007 with an emphasis on new G2 character styles and the introduction of Clone Cloth. Clone Cloth is Reallusion’s solution for creating custom clothing for actors through editing materials and applying them to pre-designed 3D avatar models. Clone Cloth became one of the first ways iClone users could create and sell their own content for iClone. iClone v2.0 brought the introduction of particle effects, fog and HD video output.
iClone v3.0 launched in August 2008 adding a revised user interface featuring scene manager for organizing projects and enabling the viewport for live direct object picking and interaction. G3 characters enhanced Clone Cloth options and made character faces more refined with facial Normal Maps. The Editor Mode and Director Mode were introduced to enable a scene editing mode and a live real-time director control mode where users could pilot characters and vehicles with videogame-like keyboard controls W,A,S,D. Animation created in Director Mode built a series of live motion data on the iClone timeline and was able to be tweaked in Editor Mode. Multi cameras were added in iClone v3.0 with camera switcher for filming scenes in multiple real-time angles. Character animation was made possible with motion editing for inverse and forward kinematics. Material editing became possible from within iClone so enhancing any prop or actor was capable by exporting and editing material textures and reapplying them to iClone. The stage was enhanced with Terrain, Sky, Water and the first appearance of SpeedTree natural tree and foliage designer. Multiple shader modes in Preview, Wireframe and Pixel shading became options for users to balance the screen output with their machine performance. The Certified Content creators program opened allowing iClone users to upload and market their custom content to a Reallusion hosted portal for content sales.
iClone v4.0 - October 2009 - Drag and drop manipulation and a gizmo for transforming objects within the 3D viewport was added in iClone v4.0. Importing any image or video as a 3D object for real-time playback enabled direct compositing of real-time 3D and video in iClone. Videos were able to be imported as alpha transparent with iClone’s PopVideo companion. Visual effects in iClone were further enhanced with the introduction of real-time HDR (High Dynamic Range) and IBL (Image based lighting). Characters were enhanced with G4 options for enhanced character body styles, improved body mesh and ability to import Poser and Second Life generated texture maps. Jimmy-toon G4 character was introduced as a customizable cartoon bodystyle avatar for iClone. iClone 4.2 released in May 2010 added Stereo 3D support for rendering images and video in anaglyph, side by side and top down formats.
iClone 5.0 and 5.5 released over 2011 and 2012 adding functions for motion capture, Human IK and a pipeline for importing and exporting FBX characters and props for use in game engines and other 3D production tools. Reallusion put emphasis on cross-compatibility with Unity, UDK, Autodesk 3D Studio Max, Maya, Z-brush, Allegorithmic, DAZ and Poser. The iClone Animation Pipeline became a trio of products: iClone PRO, 3DXchange for import, export and rigging, and the Mocap Device Plugin enabling real-time motion capture with the Microsoft Kinect for Windows and OpenNI sensor supported devices. The addition of HumanIK from Autodesk gave natural human motion to iClone and provided animation editing enhancement to generate better motions, foot & hand locking and reach targets for prop interaction. Animation generated with 5.0 and 5.5 could be exported for use external programs. Video game developers benefited from the iClone Animation Pipeline as a way to prepare custom actors for games with face and body animation ready to import into game projects. The iClone Animation Pipeline opened a portal for artists to access the Reallusion marketplace to acquire models, characters and motions for use in games and 3D development.
Full History Details - http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/iclone_upgrade.aspx
Besides being used as a 3D moviemaking tool, iClone is also a platform for video game development and previsualization allowing users to import and export content such as characters, props and animation data with external 3D tools like Unity3D, Autodesk Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, ZBrush, Poser and many others through popular industry formats such as FBX, OBJ and BVH files.
Other applications include using iClone as a 3D simulator for education, industry and business since iClone's real-time capabilities allow for direct "WASD" controls through keyboards or other input devices.
Motion Capturing, known as Mocap, is also another iClone application allowing users to connect any infrared depth camera, or Microsoft Kinect sensor via a USB port in order to live capture body motions in real-time. These motions can then be exported by using iClone's 3DXchange Pipeline software.
- Production - Preset Layouts for Directing, In-screen Editing, Drag-n-Drop Creation, Play-to-Create Controls, Animation Path & Transition.
- Actor - Character Base & Templates, Custom 3D Head from Photo, Facial & Body Deformation, Custom Clothing Design.
- Animation - MixMoves Motion Graph System, Motion Capture with Depth Cam, Face and Body Puppeteering, Face and Body Motion Key Editing, Audio Lipsyncing, Character Embedded Performances.
- Prop - Interactive Props with iScript, Soft and Rigid Body Physics Animation, FLEX & Spring simulation, Multi-channel Material Textures, Animated UV Props, Prop Puppet.
- Stage - Modular Scene Construction, Flexible environment System (Atmosphere, HDR, IBL), Ambient Occlusion, Toon Shader, Fog.
- Camera - Camera Gizmo & Camera Studio (PIP), Animatable Lenses, Link-to & Look-at, Lighting Systems, Depth of Field, Shadow.
- Video Effects - Real-time Particle FX, Material FX, Media Compositing, Post FX.
- Render & Output - Real-time Render, Image Sequence for Post Editing, Popular Image & Video Format Output, 3D Stereo Output.
By default iClone comes with a collection of usable, template-based content and projects that allow animators to begin animating upon installation. Content includes characters, props, vehicles, animations, special effects and demo projects which can be further customized for specific needs.
Additionally, users can choose to purchase new content from the Reallusion Content Store, which hosts a large collection of official Reallusion content for iClone, CrazyTalk, CrazyTalk Animator, FaceFilter and 3DXChange. The Content Store also hosts content packs from 3rd party developers such as DAZ 3D, 3D Total Materials, 3D Universe, Dexsoft, Quantum Theory Ent. and others.
Another source for iClone content is the Reallusion Marketplace which provides a worldwide platform for independent content developers to promote, trade and sell content with iClone users from around the world. The currency in the Marketplace is known as DA (Direct Access) points which can be used to purchase content packs or redeemed for real cash. Currently, 100 DA Points are equivalent to USD 1.
- PC Pro reviewer (19 January 2010). "Reallusion iClone4 Pro". PC Pro magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Ricky Grove (15 October 2009). "Reallusion's iClone4 Pro: Building on Quality". Renderosity reviews. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Chris White (22 February 2010). "Machinima made easy: iClone 4 reviewed". Icrontic. Retrieved 1 May 2010.