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In response to our DIY Movie Making theme, John Martin, of Reallusion, makers of the machinima/animation software iClone, sent us this adorable piece he did using the software he and his brother James developed. As he put it in email: “iClone and a crew of two. No render farm. No team. No limits, with an all-in-one desktop animation studio.” Describing the project further, he writes:

This animation idea came about while testing the dynamic springs inside iClone 3. I started by constructing the Sprog character and attaching and linking various spring props. The result gave a very liquid motion effect and the story of our two underwater lovers evolved from there. After developing the idea with characters and scenery, I decided that I wanted to try and do a single project with multiple cameras and film the animation in real-time. What I mean is that this movie is one project from beginning to end that you could watch it inside iClone, in real-time 3D. So, the project in iClone is the same as the rendered movie. All editing was done inside iClone so the cuts are camera cuts. No video editing was done except for the final text credits and the shimmer effect on the logo. I found that springs can be very effective as accents for characters or even as total characters. You can find most of the props I used to make the Sprogs inside your iClone 3.2 props folder. Music and sound are always needed and for this project I needed above and below water ambient sound and a slue of water sounds. I relied completely on the royalty-free resources: Freesound.org for all sound FX and http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/ for the Tango music. Each audio library has a wide range of sound fx and music. One tip, on Freesound.org, you can actually search for the sound you want, like ‘Whoosh, Splash, Yahoo, etc…” You’ll likely find what you need.

Icrontic has a fairly in-depth review of the newest iClone 4 here.

Read more stories of other amateur and semi-pro filmmakers using iClone here.

The Martin Brothers website can be found here. I love the way they describe themselves:

We took our love of Saturday morning cartoons, comic books, 3D animation, RealIlusion’s iClone and CrazyTalk, videogames (Atari 2600, TRS-80, NES, SMS, N64, Xbox 360, PS3), and we decided to make movies, in real-time, with no money.

iClone 4

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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