Exocortex Species simplifies the process of human character creation from designing your character’s unique attributes, integrating sculpting results, to rig creation, even animation. With Species, you will create higher quality animated characters faster and at a lower cost, while avoiding the generic look that often come when purchasing off-the-shelf models.
Simplifying Characters Creation
The brain child of Chris Covelli, Exocortex Species has been designed to meet the needs of production animators and TDs while simplifying the process of character creation. Chris realized that the types of characters required in production can be viewed as variations of the fundamental human form. Thus Chris designed a system that starts with a high quality human proportional rig, either male or female, which is then customized via a simple but powerful morphology blender to the unique character proportions required for your production. Eric Thivierge joined the project to apply his Softimage plugin experience to make the best product possible. The resulting unique character form can then be converted, at the push of a button, to a high quality production rig that your animators will love working with.
Save Time, Save Money and Iterate Faster
Exocortex Species is primarily designed as a time saver. Species will save studios and artists days if not weeks of time developing character assets.
In a matter of minutes you can create multiple characters from the same proportional rig and line them up for quick reviews by your designers. Once approved you simply generate the animation rig which takes less than a minute and you’re off and running into layout and shot production.
No longer are your artists required to spend days building a mesh from scratch and the same if not more to build the rig to go along with it.
Less time spent in character development means more time for creativity in animation and thus bears a higher quality product.
Flexible Body Types avoid that Generic Look
To avoid both the generic cookie cutter look that often comes with using pre-build, off the shelf models and to better meet the needs of your art direction, Species has integrated an innovative body type blending system. Chris and Eric have created more than a dozen classic body types for both the male and female proportional rigs each with its own unique twist including:
If one of our classic body types doesn’t meet your needs, it is possible in Species to blend these classic body types together to create the unique mix your production requires.
These presets are accessible in the custom synoptic (GUI Picker) for the Proportional Rig.
Quality Models to Build Upon
Species includes two high quality human models, one female and one male. These models have been designed by the creators to meet the needs of production. The meshes have been modeled to ensure the topology allows for the best deformations and come complete with quality mapped UVs. For the large majority of projects, these models should be sufficient for modelling humanoids.
Mesh Customization to meet Production Needs
But if these meshes don’t meet your needs, Species supports a number of convenient work flows for achieving more:
- Both of the models and Species rigs are designed such that additional detail can be added to the meshes.
- Because the meshes already have quality UVs, it is straightforward to import any fine details sculpted in either ZBrush or Mudbox.
- It is even possible to use Species with user supplied meshes. This provides the flexibility to rig a character that has already been generated by other means, enabling Species to be adopted mid-production if required.
To accelerate work flow, Species utilizes the primary synoptic view below (featured in the animation rig section) for navigating the proportional rig controllers. This synoptic is also automatically attached to any custom meshes upon import.
A Professional Grade Rig, Automatically Created
Eric Thivierge, a professional character TD at Animal Logic, has created in Species a fast and fully automated conversion system that converts your proportional rig and mesh into an animation rig. Eric’s data driven approach allows for a vast range of different rig configurations to be built on the fly.
The animation rig includes:
Like the proportional rig, the animation rig comes with a multi-page synoptic allowing your animators to select controls and animate with ease!
The animation rig has been designed with a mixed pipeline in mind. The deformations of the meshes are driven by null (locator) objects and thus allows users to export the mesh along with the deformers to other packages such as Maya or any others that support FBX.
The characters generated through the Species system are portable and do not require additional plug-ins to operate normally. The synoptic can be localized to the current project and can then be packaged with the model file for inter studio transfer or for sending to artists off site.
If the users so chooses, they may generate an armature with no controls from the proportional rig and then add a control system themselves.
Specifications & Licensing
OS: Windows x64 and Linux x64
Host software: Softimage 2010 or newer
RLM-Based Floating Licenses
Exocortex's plugins now support RLM-based licensing. RLM stands for "Reprise License Manager." Conceptually RLM is similar to the FlexLM/LMtools system that is employed by Autodesk products.
RLM Server Setup
To utilize RLM-based floating licenses, you must have an RLM license server setup.
The following is a quick-start guide to using RLM. This is a very simplistic setup, but it should get you going quickly:
- Download Exocortex's RLM tools package (from here ) and unzip it somewhere.
- Create a directory in the root drive called "rlmtools", so that it looks like this c:\rlmtools
- From the Exocortex RLM Tools package, copy the two exe's for your platform and the *.set file (exocortex.set, rlmutil.exe and rlm.exe) into c:\rlmtools
- Start a command prompt and navigate to c:\rlmtools
- Run "rlmutil rlmhostid", and you get a host ID. If you have multiple hostids, just use the first one.
- Run "rlm" and you get a server name (licenseserver) and license port (5053 - for you, and 5054 - for the webserver).
- Fill-in the Exocortex webform for the license with your hostid, license server name, and license port. The webform will generate for you a RLM license file with a *.lic extension.
- Place a RLM license file (.lic) in the c:\rlmtools folder, and re-start "rlm" (press Ctrl-C to exit RLM, type "rlm" at the command prompt to run it again.
- Firewalls will block RLM license server requests, thus to get going quickly, it is easiest to disable them. Please consult the RLM User Guide for proper firewall configuration.
If you want a permanent RLM license server setup, you will have to install RLM as a service. This can be done via calling "rlm" with the "-install_service" command line option once you know everything is working properly.
Reprise Software has a detailed online manual that describes how to setup the RLM server and its associated options. It is available online here:
In order to serve licenses to Exocortex products, you require from Exocortex both its vendor specific setting file, which is called exocortex.set and your license files. Exocortex's RLM daemons for both Windows and Linux can be found in the Exocortex RLM Tools package, which can be downloaded from here:
The configuration options related to Exocortex's ISV-specific daemon are fully described in the RLM End User manual above.
Working with other RLM-licensed products
Different RLM licensed products, even from different vendors, can usually be served from the same RLM server. Generally the procedure to server multiple products from the same RLM server installation is straightforward. The main requirement is to place all the license files and all the vendor/ISV specific deamons/*.set files into the same directory. Each license file must specify the same host along with the same host port. It is this shared server port (usually 5053, although it can be customized) which one should specify that each client should connect to.
RLM Client Setup
To setup your clients so that they can check out licenses, you need to configure either the RLM_LICENSEenvironment variable (which is shared by all RLM licensed products) or the exocortex_LICENSE environment variable (which is specific to Exocortex products) so that they are in the form "[port]@[licenseserver]". Once you have done setup the license server as well as the client environment variable, it should be possible to use the RLM floating licenses with your Exocortex products.
There are a number of options for setting these environment variables. You can set it globally on the machine or you can set it specific to Softimage (Go to Softimage setenv and write exocortex_LICENSE=port@licenseserver.)
Disabling Node-Locked Activation to enable RLM
In some cases our node locked activation can prevent you from using your RLM licenses. This can happen when you activate a trial license and then switch over to using RLM during your trial period. This issue is fixed in our more recent plugins, but for earlier plugins you can fix this issue by deleting the *.lic that is located in the equivalent directory:
Resolving issues with RLM Floating Licenses
Exocortex's products that have RLM capabilities will display RLM-specific diagnostic information in the Softimage log when it is looking for an RLM license and one can't be found or accessed. If there are issues with RLM now working, checking the log information can be very helpful in resolving the issue.
If you are unable to resolve the issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and provide as much detail as you can about your configuration and the error that is occurring.
Upgrades / Support
RFX is available for all your support needs. Call us at 323-962-7400
Enhance your pipeline with the following products:
- Autodesk Softimage