Althea Dubowec is from Oakville,
Ontario, Canada. She has been interested in video editing
for several years and became interested in animation approximately
3 years ago. She has spent over 25 years in the print production,
marketing and graphic arts industries and have recently expanded
her business to include video production.
Costume Development for iClone Love Story
Q: Can you tell us about your experiences in iClone costume development?
Starting in November 2008, I started working with Bigboss in creating outfits for his custom cloth designs. Working with BB cloth, which is a more specialized type of cloth, allowed me to expand my skills at texturing. Without the usual ¡§guide¡¨ lines, etc., I had to think outside the box but the result was many really cool designs. Some of my favorites were the Arabian nights and Pirates.
My skills in photoshop, which are really key for good cloth design, have increased greatly over the past few years and particularly in the last year. The G3 Clone Cloth, is much easier to work with, in my opinion and I feel it allows you to get more professional looking results. I also think the G3 characters are more realistic in terms of body shape.
Q: How do you start to get interested in iClone?
The discovery of iClone that I could create a family member (or Pinhead) inside this software from a photo and animate them or make them dance - was absolutely thrilling to me. Now of course, I've taken it further and realized that iClone is a great way to tell a story. With the Cool Clones featuring a Halloween Contest last year, it inspired me to create my first real story with iClone. While far from perfect, it has not ceased to amaze my friends and family who think I am quite talented. (hehe). I have several more stories in my head now which I hope to create in the next year or so.
After becoming one of the organizers of a video editing competition involving a character named Pinhead, I became interested in ways of animating the character. At first this was done my simply moving him across the screen, then I advanced to alternating two positions over and over on an overlay track. Then one day, a friend gave me a copy of CrazyTalk2, as he was not interested in using it. This allowed me to make Pinhead talk which was extremely fascinating to me. I was hooked after that. I tried other animation software such as Animestudio, but it was extremely time consuming and difficult. Picture of latest iClone version of Pinhead is attached and the credit for designing him to look as much like our 2D character goes to Gerry (wires) Wilson. I have also attached a picture of the original Pinhead who was created and drawn by my husband Walter.
Q: What do you mainly use iClone/CrazyTalk for?
I use it for many things.
For two years now I have used iClone to animate the Annual
Pinhead Awards. And this year, our project involved a 30 minute
opening story completely done in iClone for which our 2D animation
fans were challenged to finish the story. I had plenty of
help of course from an entire committee of 5. We provided
all the materials for participants to create their animations
and Reallusion generously provided 5 copies of iClone Studio
as incentive for the winners. The ceremony can be viewed now
I continue to head the Pinhead projects, we are in our 5th year.? It is all just a bunch of hobbyists who enjoy creating videos? We recently updated Pinhead to be a G3 Iclond 4 character. (pictures attached).? Our current contest started on Feb 1 and runs to April 30.? Reallusion provided 4 prizes for the contest.
I use iClone for business as well. I have animated myself to send messages to clients. The feedback I get from this is unbelievable. I had one situation where I needed to thank a client for facilitating payment for something, so when I received the cheque in the mail, I sent a thankyou of me holding the cheque, and this had quite an impact on my client. Things like that make you stand out.
I've been asked to do an animation for a website security company on a product called "Tele-Doorbell".?Basically I need to show a little old lady who's doorbell rings, and she answers the door and gets mugged.?This product will cause your phone to ring when someone comes to the door, so you can answer the phone and either choose to go to the door or not.?You can also call forward, so if you are out of town and someone rings your doorbell, you can still answer the door.?The animation will be a comedy where first she answers the door and gets mugged.?Then it will say something like "Should've Had Tele-Doorbell" and the thieves will ring the door bell, she will answer the phone, but this time she will not answer the door as she doesn't know the callers.?It will show the thieves foiled and leaving mad.
I've also produced a training/promotional video for a Cincinnati-based sales and marketing company named Entrust America. A nationally known talk radio show host provided the voice talent. By using a photograph of him, I created a virtual likeness and then produced a full animated character who speaks to a group of people in a virtual lecture theater. I added rotating graphics on to a white board next to the animated character which reinforced key points in his speech. The response to the video from the company's independent sales force was very positive. The lecture theatre, picture attached, was used by permission from Popeye - it wasn't shown to the general public.
The business application potential of iClone is what prompted me to create "Career Girls", "Office Flair" and "Gentlemen's Club". I wanted to have business avatars for use by myself in my business. When I worked in an office full time 10 years ago, before my children, I was known for my stylish suits. I always like something with a bit of flair and now that I have worked from home for several years, I suppose it's a way for me to express that creativity.
Q: How long does it normally take to create one your fantastic creations?
Creating a single outfit for me takes hours. Six months ago I knew little about photoshop. A year ago, I recall watching a tutorial on clone cloth and thinking that I would never be able to master it. But over time, and with perseverance, I have managed to create some outfits that I was brave enough to submit to Reallusion through the developer program. The whole thing has been a tremendous learning experience, and the folks in the development centre provide constructive criticism and advice, which is much appreciated. I have to thank a friend named "Joe", who has the patience of Job, for helping me to understand layers and all the tools available inside the program.
I've been making more movies¡Kalthough not as many as I would like.?One of the more fun ones is "Insidious Wedding" which starred afterthought.?The outfits are in the RL store.
Q: What other software do you use apart from iClone or CrazyTalk??
I use a lot of different software. For video editing, I primarily use Pinnacle Studio. For flash creation, I use "Flair", Pro Show Producer for slide shows, Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, Serif WebPlus 2 for Website creation Poser for some animation and face creation and too many others to mention.
Q: Please tell us anything else you would to add?
I don't think there
is another software out there that has hooked me like iClone.
It allows you to be so creative and you don't have to be
extremely artistic or technical to use it. It is so thrilling
to see the creations that I can create and to watch what many
other users are producing. The story telling capability is
what thrills me the most. I hope to have more time in the
next year to follow through on some of my own ideas.