• Yves "Jack" Albuquerque

Procedural Character Generators to Unity


This can be a little odd but for years I periodically evaluate some softwares for procedural character generation. I really like the way those tools works and all potentiality to be used in a real scenario, specially, for small projects and Indie developers.

Today, I did it again and I'm very sad with this test.

I've tested Adobe Fuse, Autodesk Character Generator, Make Human .1.1.1 and iClone Character Creator 2. I've previous experience with all these softwares but iClone Character Creator 2. It's being about a year since the last time I've compared these softwares.

iClone Character Creator 2

I`m glad to say that Fuse has a competitor. Actually, Character Creator models and PBR textures quality was superior but, unfortunately, polycount was too high. Maybe it`s a good choice for High end devices and new PCs or PS4. Not sure if any company developing an AAA title will be interested in a procedural character generator software but, at least, it deserved my golden medal.

Unfortunately, mesh occlusion didn't worked as expected. On my test, some internal mesh fragments remained. Also, bones hierarchy was a mess and each part needs a material.

The biggest cons: The licensing system demanding to buy other piece of software to export.

FBX export worked very well but Unity reference was missed.

Mecanim compatible and Blendshapes available.

Adobe Fuse

For a long time, Fuse, was the best Character Generator software. Unfortunately, looks like Fuse isn't the same as the old days, actually, since Mixamo was brought by Adobe, all their services did a huge step back and Fuse is no exception to that.

At first, you can think that Fuse still the same with good quality models and good quality PBR textures. The main differences emerges not on Fuse itself but when you export your model in order to complete the workflow to Adobe/Mixamo site. Personal model archive is gone and less export options are available.

In order to achieve a good result, I've to export all textures, upload my model to Mixamo, Download mu model from Mixamo and replace the texture by the ones I've exported earlier. Also have to combine transparency into some textures.

Opening your model into Unity, the issues pops.

Models looks more high poly then before. (Just an impression?)

As on iClone Character Creator, Geometry Occlusion, presented failures.

Also, each mesh part is now... a part. This can looks as expected, however, it uses to bake several mesh parts what no longer occur, a huge step back impacting the number of skinned mesh and drawcalls, what, at least for me, means that Fuse became useless.

Mecanim compatibility still working and several blendshapes still there.

Autodesk Character Generator

Autodesk Character Generator was once a promising competitor to Fuse but instead of use the competitor step back to evolve, it is now exactly the same as before. Not even adopted PBR for their models. Autodesk Character Generator receives my plate medal several times but right now, it only deserves the bronze medal.

An unexpected aspect is that the weakest spot from Autodesk Character Generator is now their main strength. With very simple textures (Just Diffuse and Normal) and (optional) low-poly models, their models really fits low-end devices as mobile games delivering a good enough quality to most games so, by being lost in time, it just became useful again.

Mecanim compatibility still working and several blendshapes still there.

Make Human 1.1.1

The last time I've tested Make human it was a complete useless tool. A bad joke without any perspective of being useful. Make Human have a new release these days and is an open source project what, for me, is very appealing.

Actually, Make Human evolution was huge. Not sure if still being a totally useless tool but, at least, is no longer a joke. Models are ugly, textures, even worst, body polycount is configurable but parts aren't and, at Unity, this result in a huge polycount.

Make Human are now compatible with Mecanim but no blendshapes available yet.

Missing Tool

UMA is Free and available at Asset Store. I used UMA in a commercial title and loved the result, however, I didn't put UMA at this list because UMA focus is not the same as the ones above being more like a framework to create Procedural Character Generators than a Character Generator Software.

Conclusion

Not only the lack of base models are an issue on Procedural Character Generators but bugs and outdated softwares created a huge gap into this kind of tool. For some enthusiasts, as myself, can be a little frustrating. You can try Autodesk Character Generator for Mobile Titles. iClone have a terrible licensing system but can solve your problem for High-end devices. Fuse can easily take the golden medal from iClone again if Adobe put a little effort on it again. Make Human is cool and should be supported but, definitely, not my first choice.

#ROI #Content #Yves

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