Based out of Los Angeles, California – Taiyaki Studios builds avatars and avatar collections optimized for Tiktok and YouTube content creation. They help to build a community of virtual creators across all genres and platforms by educating, collaborating and honoring their hard work. Whether you’re using Unreal Engine, Unity, or never touched 3D at all, Taiyaki Studios can help you learn and grow in the world of virtual production and audience building.
Taiyaki Studios also partners with select creators to help them build and design custom avatars and universes with their staff of highly skilled 3D artists, animators and tech wizards.
In July of 2022, Cory Williams – Unreal Engine Technical Artist at Taiyaki Studios animated one of his favourite childhood toys He-Man in an animated short film, by use of photogrammetry, clever rigging, motion capture and Unreal Engine.
His first video proved to be a wonderous success with audiences, who were amazed at the smooth animated results delivered onto a renown plastic figurine.
Both Mr. Yaki and Virtual He-Man were created by Cory. With voice acting, cinematography and animation all performed by him using an Xsens MVN Link motion capture suit, Manus Prime II gloves, an iPhone X (Apple AR Kit), iClone 8 and Unreal Engine 5 (UE5).
After the introduction of Reallusion’s free AccuRIG tool, Cory decided to one-up himself by introducing a second well-known character – but this time using a much faster and easier process.
In the end, He-Man battles his long-time nemesis Skeletor in an epic dance-off that was possible thanks to Blender, AccuRIG, Character Creator, iClone, and Unreal Engine 5. Enjoy!
Now, the Making of He-Man VS Skeletor might sound like a daunting task to many… and rightfully so. But Cory has been able to distill the process into an easy to follow process that involves a collection of new and powerful tools.
His original step was to take many pictures of his characters with an iPhone in a process known as photogrammetry. But Cory was able to enhance that process by purchasing a portable scanner known as a Revopoint MINI, which he used to scan his Xsens character for a test, prior to scanning Skeletor.
Next Cory used his new secret weapon — ActorCore’s free AccuRIG tool to import the scanned FBX character and automatically rig it for full body and finger animations. This process takes about 15 minutes and is perfect for working with all kinds of static poses and well known character rigs, to later export as FBX, which you can even test and correct for mesh deformations caused by motion stretching.
Then Cory used Character Creator 4 to import his new AccuRIGGED character to test and add custom dance animations he captured with his mocap suit, including individual finger tests which AccuRIG definitely rigs for. Inside Character Creator you can even do specific characterizations for non-standard characters which will allow you to work with any specific motion you design through your mocap suit.
Once you know your character is ready, Cory starts production by doing all the voice recordings, and animations for each character. Amazingly he does this all by himself, which gives him a mental picture of each character’s gestures, nuances and performances.
When the custom animations are ready, they are brought into iClone 8 with the custom rigged characters. Now there is a reason why iClone is used instead of going straight into Unreal Engine, because iClone allows you to correct any offset motions that are much easier to fix in iClone rather than Unreal.
iClone is especially useful when you really want that high quality feel in your performances where you want to do small editing like on hand gestures in specific timeframes.
For example: you can easily adjust any facial expression or lipsync on Skeletor (if you are not using a face mocap device), or if the Mr. Yaki character needs to look up because he is missing the mark of He-Man’s face, then with iClone you can easily correct this by editing any specific motion track for face, eyes, hands, and fingers.
Finally, Cory adds everything into Unreal Engine to start setting up his shots by creating a level sequence, synchronizing everything with his audio wave forms, positions and animations, cameras, lighting and any special effects! Done!
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