The guys at Reallusion gave me a look at iClone3 a little while ago, as well as their philosophy that there is a market for “simple 3D” work and a merging of the ergonomics that video gamers are used to with the requirements and mindset that animators have. They call iClone3 an affordable and “complete 3D movie machine with real-time animation and actor creation tools for rendering movies with ultimate detail.” The software has a library of characters, bodies, limbs, faces, expressions, sets, and so forth, and is designed for ease of import of elements from places like the Google’s 3D Warehouse, as well as other software packages. Users can animate out of a library of movements, or do basic keyframe work, as well.
Their philosophy seems to be that video gamers interested in animation, and folks in the Machinima community will dig it as a way to learn animation and make their own videos and movies, for consumer use or as a way to break into the professional industry. They also think Hollywood will have an interest in iClone3 as a pre-visualization/storyboard tool. And, they also see it as having educational applications. In fact, the London Film Academy is already using iClone for a visual effects course.
“We have learned from people who use games to make films, but we are now trying to combine the roots of basic computer animation techniques with the game piloting ability,” is the way that marketing VP John Martin explained the nature of the technology to me. You can find out more at www.reallusion.com.