Recreating Snoop Dogg: a Character Creator case study

Co-founder of Digital Puppets Antony Evans used Reallusion’s Character Creator 4 along with several other technologies to create a styled computer-generated character based on American musician Snoop Dog.

In addition, Evans states that Reallusion’s Headshot AI improved plugin, SkinGen textures, and Dynamics Wrinkles allowed him to create a stylized digital human of Snoop that was more advanced than what he could have done with Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator tools alone.

Evans also discovered that Character Creator 4’s open licence made it completely interoperable with other 3D toolkits. This meant he could finish shape, skin layer editing, hairstyling, outfitting, and accessory additions in Character Creator 4 before transferring them to other programmes. Evans may also import skin textures, dynamic wrinkles, and head shape into Unreal Engine using Auto Setup for Unreal Engine and the recently developed CC-to-MetaHuman pipeline, if necessary.

Befores & Afters questioned Evans about his background in the industry, the process he took to create his stylish CG Snoop Dog, and his use of Character Creator 4.

B&A : Could you begin by briefly introducing yourself as an artist and the type of work that Digital Puppets now produces?

Antony Evans: My brother Scott and I are the owners of Digital Puppets. Our speciality is using motion capture animation techniques to create real-time characters. While I make the 3D characters, Scott has experience creating 2D characters and has a background in cartoon logo design. I have also created 3D images for children’s books, architectural designs, and digital printing.

When we used to get a lot of inquiries about making cartoons, we discovered that most of them were quickly turned off when they saw how much work and money went into doing traditional animations. For this reason, we began brainstorming ways to take our character designs and come up with a straightforward fix so that even those without any prior animation knowledge could begin producing animated material. The application of auto lip syncing and facial capturing was the largest innovation in this regard. We now provide our customers with our character designs already set up, so all they have to do is act and create content.

B&A: In general, what are the “challenges” of photographing a real-life topic or person and stylizing the image of them?

Antony Evans: Modelling a realistic persona is never easy; even the smallest detail can alter the model’s appearance and make it appear to be someone else. Because of their tendency to be a little more lenient, stylized characters are what we prefer to deal with. We also found that the Uncanny Valley problems arise from the fact that the closer you get to a realistic representation, the more you realise that something is off.

After setting up your model, you can begin putting in the finer characteristics, such as pores and wrinkles, using SkinGen. The final model looks much better overall because of all the little features. Dynamic Wrinkles, the newest addition to CC4, are a terrific addition since they add even more depth when the face is moving.

Thus, in general, there are a number of incredibly helpful tools designed especially to add more layers of detail. You simply have more power and ability to create specific details with CC4 compared to MetaHuman Creator, in my opinion. The models you can create and the MetaHumans themselves both have amazing looks; I was only able to fully customise the model and push the facial features so far. The GoZ link and the ability to send the model back and forth smoothly with a single button press are also the two main benefits I discovered with CC4.

B&A: Could you specifically discuss the process you used to make ZBrush a part of this and why it was significant?

Antony Evans: ZBrush is a major tool in my character modelling process because of its organic sculpting capabilities, which let you truly work with the mesh’s shape. ZBrush is fantastic for the styled design we came up with since it allows us to manipulate the mesh and truly attempt to emphasise certain parts of the face to achieve that exaggerated caricature effect. It lets you play about with the general outline and then fully specify the finer points.

B&A : In general, what are the “challenges” of photographing a real-life topic or person and stylizing the image of them?

Antony Evans: Modelling a realistic persona is never easy; even the smallest detail can alter the model’s appearance and make it appear to be someone else. Because of their tendency to be a little more lenient, stylized characters are what we prefer to deal with. We also found that the Uncanny Valley problems arise from the fact that the closer you get to a realistic representation, the more you realise that something is off.

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