|Featured Artist - Oliver Manuel|
My name is Oliver Manuel and I'm a 3D Graphics Artist for the Novonics Corporation in Orlando, Florida. Our company's primary focus is in the areas of simulation-based training, network test and evaluation,information management, and training architectures. Our customers include the US Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Justice (DoJ). Using various 3D software applications and game-engine developing kits, I provide the modeling and animation for the development of training products and simulation. This would include creating 3D character models, environments, textures, animating, storyboarding, etc.
Q: What first got you interested in Reallusion software? How do you know iClone?
Our company wanted to use game-engine Software Developing Kits to develop a trainer for teaching critical thinking skills to junior Navy officers by presenting instructional scenarios in machinima captured environments. I started using the Half-life SDK to develop a prototype which we were successful with for creating all the models, environments, and animation. There were some drawbacks though, they included expensive end user licensing, limited customization, and a strong learning curve. I thought the work pipeline was tedious and time consuming to import customized 3D models and animation. We wanted to research other animation software that would address these issues and be cost effective as well. That's when we came across Reallusion. At the time I was introduced to iClone 2 and CrazyTalk and found out that there wasn't an issue of end user licensing. If we bought the software, whatever we created was ours to use which was perfect, however I wasn't totally sold on the 3D capabilities. It just so happened iClone 3 came out before our next project proposal and I was very impressed with the improvements and upgrades from version 2. We decided to try Reallusion's bundle pack, bought a bunch of extras, and it has been working great for our needs ever since.
Q: How do you get the idea to create the website about distance learning?
The distant learning website was designed by our Instructional Systems Architect, Dr. Anya Andrews. Her expertise in applied research, e-learning, and simulation & training made it possible for the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) project to be designed. The training system would mimic the typical office environment for Program Management team members, complete with all the tools necessary to complete their tasks on a typical day. After the project was laid out, I started creating all the 3D assets and textures needed for the machinima videos and started animating with iClone and CrazyTalk. The functionality of the interface was created by Alice Hayden, our Systems Programmer, who made the simulated telephone, e-mails, conferences, and the voice-over IP to make the iClone-created avatars to move when the user spoke in their microphone headset. I must also give mention to our other graphics artist, Lissandra Clark, who created the 2D interface as well as other assets. I've been fortunate to work with a very talented team at Novonics. It was great to see the project come together and have it acknowledged in the "Inspiring & Ingenious Use Case" showcase, so many thanks to the Reallusion team as well.
Q: What¡¦s the benefit of iClone to you when you work with the distance learning project?
Q: What will you suggest to the new beginners in iClone?
I would say that iClone is a great tool to learn if you are just getting into 3D and want to see more than what other real-time animation software has to offer. You can get a small taste of all the effort and the people it takes to create those big budget 3D movies but the ability to create some your own with relative ease at a lower cost. If you already have a strong 3D background, I say explore iClone's capabilities and see what can you can experiment, create, and just have fun with it. After participating in the Reallusion forums, I see a constant development of content from other artists and an appetite for new features in iClone which I see pushing the tool farther than just creating machinima generated videos. Last suggestion: Think outside the box.
Q: What ingenious idea you will suggest other uses try with iClone?
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