Easy Animated 3D People with ActorCore

You can never have enough 2d people. I’ve always said that, and this is true and more when it comes to 3d people. But to be more specific, it is really about the variety of motion that we need. More mocap animation without the complexity of capturing it. That is where ActorCore comes to play as you’ll see Paco Barruguer’s work with it in Blender.

Reading time 6 min 23 sec
Image by Paco Barruguer


The offering of quality 3d people for crowd simulation is somewhat limited in the Architectural Visualization segment, and I can see that we reuse the same assets repeatedly. When it comes to 3d people, you can get away with having the same 3d actor in the scene if only you have more motions to apply. ActorCore comes at the right time to offer high-quality 3D asset libraries for mocap motions and animated 3D humans for crowd rendering. I find the introduction of thousands of motion options designed for ARCHVIZ projects most interesting.

Below you’ll see Paco Barruguer’s work with it in Blender and how he manages to get the 3d people and subject matter of the visualization in sync.

So let’s start diving into the process itself!

Table of Contents

Behind the Scenes

Paco Barruguer is a 3d Architectural Visualization artist using Blender as his main application. In the following video, you’ll see the entire process starting in ActorCore, setting up character and 3d motion, exporting it, installing the ActorCore add-on for Blender, and getting the data into it for the animation.
With the help from the free Blender Auto Setup Tools, it’s never been easier to auto import ActorCore characters with full material setting, making Blender a powerful tool for ActorCore character blendshape design. Add-on tools also include Blender Auto-Rig Pro preset and RIGIMAP tool, saving time from complicated and routine procedures.

To follow up on this and learn more about how to use ActorCore in Blender, visit the dedicated Guide for using ActoreCore with Blender.

Paco's Process

Firstly, I usually use people in still image renderings, and I aim to place them in a medium to far position from the camera. Having 3d people in the near foreground, in most cases, works against you. No matter how advanced things have become, the combination of being so near and in focus and yet 3d, makes for a less realistic impression.

This is even more critical when doing an animation!

For a 3d character to “pass the viewer test” in the foreground, it needs to show natural facial and body motions. You can get away with a low poly model even, as long as the motion feels natural and this is probably the most unique aspect of ActorCore assets.

Below you can see a great example for any public space in a project.

I use three methods:

  1.  Adding 2D People Cut Outs with transparency in post-production.
  2. Adding these .PNG people in the 3d scene like an image plane with an alpha channel.
  3. Adding static 3d characters in the 3D scene.

In all three cases, you need to find an image or model that will be in the pose you need, and if it is a 2d image, you need the light in the photo to be similar to the lighting in the 3d scene.

These two problems can be challenging to solve.

With ActorCore + iClone, they are solved. You can make the pose you want with the 3d character you want, and the light normally affects the 3d people models.

Obviously, as ArchViz artists we can’t really dive into the specifics of 3d people capture, modeling and texturing. This involves lots of unique techniques of sculpting, retopology, rigging, etc.

Not at the core of the ArchViz flow. In fact, I have no idea about it.

ActorCore + iClone bridges that gap for you, and you don’t need to have extensive knowledge about the character creation or animation process. It will takes care of optimizing 3d character model topology and the character rigs to allow for assigning various motions as needed for any given shot

This software combination makes it very easy to create animations and different poses.

I notice that we gradually using software made initially for games from a long time ago like Unreal Engine or Unity.

Today we can find applications made specifically with Architecture and Designers in this filed in mind. Application in which you can move the camera through the building, changing materials in real-time, and this technology comes from and/or inspired and based on the gaming industry.

In general, a lot of money is invested in creating games by AAA productions houses and the technology related to them when it comes to capturing natural motion and offering seamless motion transitions. We better know how to take advantage of all this good stuff for our work in ArchViz!

" ActorCore + iClone bridges that gap for you, and you don't need extensive knowledge about character creation or animation. This software makes it very easy to create animations and unique motions. "
Paco Barruguer
3d Artist

What to do next?

To follow up on this article and learn more about how to use ActorCore in Blender, visit the dedicated Guide for using ActoreCore with Blender.

Learn how to import production-ready animation assets from ActorCore to all major 3D animation software. Experience the accelerated animation pipeline and get inspiration for ArchViz, game development, film production, and more.

ActorCore provides free 3D people and motions for users to experience. Sign up and download the free content.

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