|Featured Studio - Anto Dezigns|
My name is Anthony Mwangi from Anto Dezigns. I am based in the city of Nairobi, Kenya and I started by hand drawing a comic series for a magazine called Environmental Barometer.
I have also been a graphic designer for 14 years before I got into 3D Modelling and animation.
The Most Environmentally Conscious iClone Artist
Q: Tell us about yourself, when did you start using iClone and how did you discover it?
For many years, I have been an avid painter which exemplifies my love for art, graphics and beauty. I’ve done work on drawings, paintings and acrylics on canvases, and eventually delved into the world of 2D/3D graphics and computer animations.
Soon my time to do graphics, paintings and drawings by hand got too limited so I decided to browse the internet to see if there was any software, either 2D or 3D, that could help me create and animate in a fast way. That’s when I discovered CrazyTalk for Skype, and eventually iClone for 3D animation.
I started using iClone2 in 2007. I discovered it by accident, and I soon started experimenting iClone's capabilities with Autodesk’s 3ds Max; which was my first love in 3D animation. Although it was love at first sight with iClone, I never divorced 3ds Max since I always wanted to create my own custom characters and props. With these two digital wives, I got along well. Very well! No arguments there; these two software complemented each other perfectly. Throughout the years, I have always loved using both of them in my work.
Q: Tell us about your studio and how you use iClone.
Anto Dezigns is a Graphics and Animation studio. I started this studio out of my passion for animation and it is really like me and my family, with both wife and daughter.
In Kenya, we have a community organization called Millennium Community Development Initiatives (MCDI) which we work with to make Environmental Animations and videos on community learning, development and awareness. With the use of iClone, I have created many comic characters for the MCDI. One such character is AIDMAN, which was created for the AIDMAN Comic series. In the comic series, I made characters with iClone and then used my Cintiq Wacom tablet to outline the comic characters for printing.
I have also used iClone’s clonebone system to create many characters such as ROCK, which is a stone-like character I created and customized with iClone. Other characters include the Maasai Warriors which I made by creating textures and accessories and then bringing them into iClone.
iClone has provided us with the benefit of fast and easy animations which we often use in character narrations, as we simply need to create our characters and then use audio voice files to make facial animations. Here are some examples we created: Eastern Sudan and NCDO 2011.
Q: What are the advantages of using iClone in combination with other 3D software like 3ds Max?
Well, for me it makes a lot of sense to use iClone on its own, but I really could not finish my 3ds Max projects without the use of iClone as the rendering time would take forever! Where else would I be able to create quick landscapes, vegetation and stages as quickly as in iClone?
In Anto Dezigns, we have taken to iClone as a duck to water. After I do some modelling and simulations in 3ds Max, then I get into iClone to add effects, water and landscape, before rendering. Speaking of rendering, I have always been very impressed with the fast, quality rendering I can do in iClone. I really think that iClone has the best rendering engine I have ever worked with, and I have not figured out how Reallusion has managed to deliver such speed with such good results. I do have a powerful workstation, but that doesn’t in itself explain the fast rendering speeds that I can achieve in iClone. Bravo to Reallusion!
To be honest, I usually render most of my 3ds Max scenes in iClone, unless they have unworkable plug-ins. I really push iClone to the limit, as I have rendered in it destruction scenes thanks to the Rayfire plugin. Using the iClone Bone system in Max is another added advantage, as I can skin custom characters in Max, and then animate them in iClone with non-standard characters.
In the end, iClone is how I realize my 3ds Max scenes as it delivers speed, flexibility and ease of use… end of story.
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