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Reallusion’s real-time animation and creation tools empower creators to achieve their dreams

In more than a decade working at Reallusion – a 3D and 2D software and content developer that specializes in Windows-based real-time animation and creation tools – Enoc Burgos has seen a lot of changes in the industry, but one thing is consistent in his role as director of partnership marketing: being able to support…

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In more than a decade working at Reallusion – a 3D and 2D software and content developer that specializes in Windows-based real-time animation and creation tools – Enoc Burgos has seen a lot of changes in the industry, but one thing is consistent in his role as director of partnership marketing: being able to support and empower up-and-coming creators who lack skills and/or resources to develop their vision.

Authors use Reallusion software to make trailers for their books, students and professors tap into the technology to create more realistic training sessions and movie studios find the company’s iClone — an animated storyboard that helps preview scenes that need to be filmed — to be the right tool for pre-visualization purposes.

With Reallusion tools, creators don’t have to start from scratch. They’re able to create something based off of already existing assets. They can grab a base character, modify it with a photograph and then stack layers for the skin textures to create something that’s very high quality, without having to be an expert in the entire process of 3D modeling.


iClone, launched in the early 2000s, is one of Reallusion’s most popular tools, incorporating real-time computer graphics engines to create cinematic production. Anyone can use it with pre-made assets, such as characters and built-in motions. Users can also apply their own voices and use their mouse to animate characters. This gives creators the freedom to come up with their own animations – and own them.

“The moment I felt that the industry really started to shift is when we launched iClone 5 (about 10 years ago),” says Burgos, who adds that was the first time the company offered motion capture, something previously reserved for high-end studios equipped with $100,000 computer rigs with dozens of cameras.

What made that iteration of iClone stand out was its pairing with Microsoft Kinect, using that product’s infrared sensor to generate basic body animation. This device, which cost $79, opened the doors for an entire ecosystem of future developments with other partners and other tools.

Animating digital humans with Reallusion’s Motion LIVE mocap system at SIGGRAPH 2019. Renowned mocap artist Pasha Sol wears an Xsens MVN suit connected to iClone 7.

“That was the moment to me that we really started seeing the evolution of the indie developers. And I’m really proud that Reallusion was part of this,” Burgos says. “We were right in the midst of providing the tools and the accessibility for anybody to be able to create their own animations, customize it and use their own body movements to generate these motions. And that was one of the biggest jumps that I witnessed in the industry during that time.”

Reallusion’s iClone 3D animation software is designed for Windows, primarily because of the flexibility and the customization that the operating system can offer, Burgos says.

Mocap (motion capture) hardware partners may have their own drivers and software, but Windows allows Reallusion to be adaptable and flexible to work with different devices for maximum efficiency. At the same time, Windows can also help customize rigs for a variety of projects – crucial especially for indie developers who sometimes require tailored systems to meet specific needs. They’re able to upgrade their systems and swap out different components.

Creating digital humans with Reallusion’s Character Creator 3 software is fast, thanks to plugins like their AI-based plugin Headshot, and their skin generator plugin SkinGen.

As part of Reallusion’s dedication to the Windows ecosystem, they transitioned from desktop towers to Razer Blade laptops in 2020, mostly due to what could’ve been a catastrophic situation at a Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, in which they discovered a last-minute malfunction in one of their rigs. Resolved to never have that happen again, they turned to Razer after seeing one of their #MadewithBlade creator videos.

“We just had to contact Razer. We wanted to test one of these rigs out and sure enough, they sent us one,” Burgos says. “Actually, everyone was very surprised because we finally had this compact laptop that could run two real-time systems at the same time, while streaming motion capture data. To us, it was like this dream tool that somebody conjured up.”

As both a console and PC gamer, Burgos has a pretty good sense of the durability of hardware, especially because gaming hardware goes through so much wear and tear. And he says, “Razer systems were always the pinnacle for gamers. So when we found out that Razer was creating a studio line that was used by designers and creators, we knew this was something special. This was something that would be easily adopted by the community, who often asks us, what do we recommend? What kind of system would work with this? What are the requirements for that?”

Animating digital doubles with iClone 7’s facial motion capturing iPhone profile on Razer’s Blade Studio laptop for creatives.

Burgos frequently connects with an ever-growing network of power users. That’s how he learns about their struggles and what they need for their projects. He’s then able to provide them with the software to make it happen, as well as shine a light on their work through feature stories on the Reallusion site. Sometimes, that exposure leads to indies collaborating with bigger studios and companies.

A few years ago, he found an Australian 2D animator on YouTube who was using an older Reallusion 2D animation tool: the CrazyTalk Animator software. Burgos had been a trainer for CrazyTalk, recording tutorials, so he was able to recognize the software right away. He and the Australian animator became friends. During that time Reallusion opened its online marketplace. This virtual platform gave content developers like Burgos’ friend the opportunity to create their own content and monetize it, so they could sell characters and props to a world of CrazyTalk animators around the globe.

“He was blown away because all his life he was a cartoonist, he was an illustrator, and he would do this as a hobby,” Burgos says. “To him, it was amazing he could finally profit from his art.”

Fast forward five years later, and now that friend is one of the most successful content developers in the Reallusion marketplace, and the company has hired him as a 2D community manager for Reallusion.

“We’re sending messages back and forth on a weekend through Facebook and he tells me, ‘Thank you Enoc. You changed my life.’ Now, I feel humbled about that. I don’t take any credit, I was just doing my job,” Burgos says. “But we’re able to help so many people along the way, people who had a story to tell, but they neither had the skills nor the budgets to do that. And I think that’s one of our proudest achievements, being able to give the little guy a chance, and we’ve seen a lot of success from these indie developers around the world.”

Combining Reallusion’s real-time animation software, with Xsens mocap suits and Razer’s Blade Studio laptops allow artists and studios to motion capture in any location, as Enoc Burgos shows walking out of an office.

Burgos, who has been with Reallusion for almost 12 years, traveled his own circuitous route to get into this industry.

Growing up with Saturday morning cartoons in the ’80s, he always dreamed about being involved with content media and music, but he studied industrial engineering at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Soon after he graduated, he landed a job with a machinery company – in Taiwan. While there, he also pursued a master’s degree in business administration. After that, he worked in different industries: as a sales specialist with a PC distributor and a purchaser for a large food company.

“I loved video games and I wanted to get closer to the industry, but no one would really hire me because I didn’t have any programming experience or I didn’t have any background in the arts,” Burgos says.

He eventually worked for a mechanical keyboard manufacturer that had a small software development team. He took that opportunity to change industries, and then made his big move when he received an email through his MBA alumni association about a job at Reallusion.

“I really wanted to be part of Reallusion. I poured my heart out in the interview. They liked what they saw, and I slowly started learning everything about the industry,” he says. “Now, you need to remember that one of the things that really makes Reallusion accessible to everyone, is that our tools are easy to learn. Anybody without prior knowledge can grab our tools with no experience and start creating something. I am living proof of that concept of being able to jump in with no experience and start creating something, thanks to these real-time tools that Reallusion developed. And that was my entry into 2D and 3D animation.”

Character Creator’s skin layering mechanism allows artists to easily create intricate skin details through multiple material channels like diffuse, roughness, specular, normal maps and more.

Recently, Reallusion has been working with NVIDIA to build a Connector to the Omniverse platform, which enables virtual collaboration and real-time simulation for 3D workflows. With the Omniverse Character Creator Connector, Reallusion brings the power of a full character generation system, complete with motions and unlimited creative variations, to the Omniverse platform. Artists and designers can now easily design and transfer characters and motions directly into Omniverse and its connected ecosystem. This is done through the Universal Scene Description framework (an open standard originally developed by Pixar).

“The idea behind this is that you could have a collaborative effort from artists and studios from around the world, each jumping into this virtual platform, creating and iterating in real time,” he says. “You could have someone in Japan using Unreal Engine to create the layout of your scene with the props and the vehicles. Then you can have someone in France using Character Creator to create a character in real time, dropping the character into the Omniverse, into that Unreal Engine scene. At the same time, someone in India could use a motion capture suit, or a motion capture system, to animate that same character that is being plugged into Omniverse.”

In 2020, which Burgos notes was “an extremely challenging year for everyone around the globe, “Reallusion saw a spike in the influx of users who were starting to use more of their tools. People from different communities – Blender and Unreal, for instance – were starting to connect with Reallusion applications, connecting all these different tool sets together.

Reallusion received a grant from Epic Games and decided to use it to give back to the community, in the form of the Pitch & Produce Program. Reallusion helps identify projects and provide creators with software, technical assistance, financial and promotional support.

“This has given us an insight into how many people in the world have this amazing vision for a project. And with a little bit of help, they’re able to achieve that,” Burgos says. “And of course, it’s so gratifying to see that we were able to be part of that, to give back to the community and see the community flourish on those efforts.”

Lead photo: Reallusion’s Director of Partnership Marketing Enoc Burgos, with Character Creator on Razer’s Blade Studio laptops with Nvidia RTX cards. 

All photos courtesy of Reallusion.

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Microsoft

Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25151

Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25151 to the Dev Channel. TL;DR This build includes a small set of fixes that improve the overall experience for Insiders on their PCs. Fixes [File Explorer] Fixed a scaling issue which could result in the tabs being unexpectedly large. Right clicking a…

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Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25151 to the Dev Channel.

TL;DR

  • This build includes a small set of fixes that improve the overall experience for Insiders on their PCs.

Fixes

[File Explorer]

  • Fixed a scaling issue which could result in the tabs being unexpectedly large.
  • Right clicking a tab and then clicking somewhere else in File Explorer should dismiss the context menu more reliably now.

[Other]

  • We believe an underlying fix in Build 25145 addressed the recent issue where shutting down via the Start menu wasn’t working for some Insiders (unexpectedly rebooting instead), and as such are removing this from the known issues list. If you are continuing to encounter this issue with the latest updates, please report it in the Feedback Hub.
  • Fixed a high hitting Windows Security app crash.
  • Updated the Exclusions page in the Windows Security app so that file paths now make better use of the available space rather than truncating when space is still available.
  • Fixed an underlying issue which was causing a crash when trying to delete ports in printui /s.
  • Fixed an issue causing printing to not work from UWP apps for some Insiders in the last 2 flights.

NOTE: Some fixes noted here in Insider Preview builds from the Dev Channel may make their way into the servicing updates for the released version of Windows 11.

Known issues

[General]

  • We are working on a fix to address reports that the Mica material and Acrylic blur effect is not rendering correct in OS surfaces like the Start menu, Notification Center and other areas.
  • Some games that use Easy Anti-Cheat may crash or cause your PC to bugcheck.
  • [NEW] We’re investigating reports that some Insiders are experiencing bugchecks with error message KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED in NetAdapterCx.sys starting with Build 25145.

[File Explorer]

  • The up arrow is misaligned in File Explorer tabs. This will be fixed in a future update.
  • We’re investigating reports that launching File Explorer in certain ways when using dark mode (for example, from the command line) is showing the body of File Explorer unexpectedly in light mode.

[Widgets]

  • We’re working on the fix for an issue causing Widgets preferences (temperature units and pinned widgets) to unexpectedly get reset to default.

[Live captions]

  • Certain apps in full screen (e.g., video players) prevent live captions from being visible.
  • Certain apps positioned near the top of the screen and closed before live captions is run will re-launch behind the live captions window positioned at top. Use the system menu (ALT + Spacebar) while the app has focus to move the app’s window further down.

For developers

You can download the latest Windows Insider SDK at aka.ms/windowsinsidersdk.

SDK NuGet packages are now also flighting at NuGet Gallery | WindowsSDK which include:

These NuGet packages provide more granular access to the SDK and better integrate in CI/CD pipelines.

About the Dev Channel

The Dev Channel receives builds that represent long lead work from our engineers with features and experiences that may never get released as we try out different concepts and get feedback. It is important to remember that the builds we release to the Dev Channel should not be seen as matched to any specific release of Windows and the features included may change over time, be removed, or replaced in Insider builds or may never be released beyond Windows Insiders to general customers. For more information, please read this blog post about how we plan to use the Dev Channel to incubate new ideas, work on long lead items, and control the states of individual features.

These aren’t always stable builds, and sometimes you will see issues that block key activities or require workarounds. It is important to make sure you read the known issues listed in our blog posts as we document many of these issues with each flight.

Build numbers are higher in the Dev Channel than the Windows 11 preview builds in the Beta and Release Preview Channels. You will not be able to switch from the Dev Channel to the Beta or Release Preview Channels without doing a clean install back to the released version of Windows 11 currently.

ALSO: Because the Dev and Beta Channels represent parallel development paths from our engineers, there may be cases where features and experiences show up in the Beta Channel first.

The desktop watermark you see at the lower right corner of your desktop is normal for these pre-release builds.

Important Insider Links

Thanks,
Amanda & Brandon

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Minecraft Marketplace 5 Year Celebration Sale now underway

Take advantage of the Minecraft Marketplace 5 Year Celebration Sale going on now through July 12. You’ll find more than 200 discounted packs and special doorbuster deals with 75% off selected content. Plus, you can claim 14 free Character Creator Items and a new adventure from Gamemode One: Spellcraft. Head over to Minecraft.net to find…

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Take advantage of the Minecraft Marketplace 5 Year Celebration Sale going on now through July 12. You’ll find more than 200 discounted packs and special doorbuster deals with 75% off selected content. Plus, you can claim 14 free Character Creator Items and a new adventure from Gamemode One: Spellcraft.

Head over to Minecraft.net to find out more and watch the trailer.

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Upgrades coming to Collections in Microsoft Edge

Summertime has arrived, and with that a chance to hopefully slow down a bit, get outdoors and make memories with our loved ones. During this time of year, some of us are also planning travels or perhaps are tackling projects around the house that we didn’t have time for during the busy school year. This…

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Summertime has arrived, and with that a chance to hopefully slow down a bit, get outdoors and make memories with our loved ones. During this time of year, some of us are also planning travels or perhaps are tackling projects around the house that we didn’t have time for during the busy school year.

This month, we’re introducing upgrades to Collections, with new ways to help you organize your ideas and find inspiration – all with the goal of helping you make the most of your time online so you can focus on what matters most to you.

Remember, if you’re running a Windows PC, you already have Microsoft Edge installed, so launch it and check it out and see why Microsoft Edge is the browser that puts you first and helps you do more of what you love. For those who want to try Microsoft Edge and are on a macOS, mobile or Linux device, download it and let us know what you think![1]

Here’s what’s new in web experiences this month:

We’re upgrading Collections in Microsoft Edge

There are so many reasons to love Collections in Microsoft Edge and we hear it all the time through feedback. It’s a handy tool that helps you collect and organize content you find across the web while keeping all your ideas organized neatly into folders. We’re always looking for ways to make great things even better, so we want to share some new enhancements to Collections designed to help you find and do more of what you love. Here is what’s new in Collections:

Collect all the things you love around the web

As the web has become increasingly visual, we want to make it even easier for you to save and organize more than links to websites. Now, you can save images and videos to your Collections as you browse the web – just hover over or right-click the item on a webpage and click the add button to save it to a Collection. Coming soon, you will also be able to share your collections with others so you can collaborate and brainstorm together, whether it be planning that next vacation or remodeling your home office.

Find inspiration at a glance

With Collections, we want to help you collect, organize and share information you find across the web. We also know that a huge part of our journey on the web is discovery and inspiration. That’s why I am excited to announce that we’re starting to roll out the inspiration feed coming soon to your Collections flow. Let’s say you just finished filling your Collections with must-see places for the trip you’re planning to Paris this summer. While in your Collections window, you will not only see your folders, but you will see a feed with content related to your research, helping you get inspired and discover additional places. Cool, right?

That’s not all we’re bringing this month to help you discover new content. Visual Search from Microsoft Bing is also now available when you hover over an image. Visual Search uses advanced computer vision technology to search with images instead of text. The on-hover update allows you to easily search for similar items by hovering over an image you find online, then clicking on the Visual Search icon. For example, when you’re browsing a renovation blog, and come across a light fixture you love, hover over Visual Search to find one just like it online. This is just another way Microsoft Edge can help you stay organized, but also help you find inspiration so you can do more of what you love.

Follow and get updates about the content you love

So far, I’ve covered how you can collect, organize, share and get inspired – but that’s not all. On top of all the cool features we’ve told you about, starting this month we’re also rolling out the ability to follow your favorite content creators on websites like YouTube, Bilibili and TikTok. This will be limited to a few websites to start, and more sites will be added in the future. To start, first be sure you’re signed in with your Microsoft account and then go to the address bar and click follow. To see the sites you’ve followed, simply navigate to your Collections window on the right-hand side of your browser and click on the Follow tab to see the latest updates.


All of these upgrades to Collections will be available on the desktop version of Microsoft Edge. If you haven’t used Collections before, you can start using and enjoying the upgraded Collections now. If you have existing Collections, these updates will be rolling out to you over the next few months, so look out for an update prompt within your Collections pane. Once you click update, you’ll immediately be able to enjoy all of these great upgrades.

Thank you, as always, for reading. Please continue to send us your feedback as we work to create web experiences and tools that help you save time and get things done online, so you can do more of what you love.

[1] You can share your feedback from the browser window by going to … menu > Help and feedback > Send feedback.

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