Subject: iClone's New Look-At System

Mar 22, 2023 at 08:00 am by warlord720

As usual Reallusion’s updates brought some new toys and tools to iClone and Character Creator 4 with one of the most anticipated features being an improved look-at system. The iClone 8.2 update saw a more robust set of sliders and tools to make the look-at feature appear more lifelike.

iClone has long had a look-at feature. Before the upgrade, this tool basically worked with the eyes and the head. It allowed you to set the eyes only or to involve the head with basic movement following the eye target. This worked but it was a little stiff and could be a little creepy in some circumstances.

The new control panel boasts several more sliders to control the weight of the head, body, and body axis movement. The old controls were basic and limited to the eyes and head. With the new sliders for the Body Axis Weight (XYZ) you can set different weights at different times all keyable on the timeline.

Left eyes and head only. Right Eyes, head, and body from iClone Update 8.2

From the Reallusion website: 

Eye-Driven Facial Morphs

  • Simulate natural awareness to an object or maintain eye contact to the camera.
  • Eyelids and eyebrows naturally move with the eyeballs when the character is looking around. Automatic asymmetry helps to overcome the uncanny valley.
  • Subtle wrinkles are triggered around the eyes and forehead for all types of facial expressions like frowns and smirks.

Eyes-Neck-Torso Weight

  • Adjustable look-at constraint ratio between the eyes, neck, and torso can alter the actor’s mannerism.
  • Enhanced morph shapes for head-up and down movements.

Level of Engagement

  • Choose between different engagement levels from quick glances to intense gazes.
  • Recruit the correct body parts to sell the motion, from isolated eye movements to the coordination with the rest of the body.
  • Set keys to alternate the eye, neck, and torso engagement ranges.

It’s a very simple system to use and it doesn’t take long to grasp the basics. Per Reallusion it is best to use keyframes to spread out the effects instead of hammering them all home in one keyframe. In the tutorial video, Kai shows how to set keyframes to make the most out of this feature.

This is one of those features that is difficult to explain its power. Some will simply dismiss it, not understanding that it can add animation to a non-animated character by using the Look At feature to manipulate those parts of that character controlled by the new sliders. Add idle or other movements to further enhance the character’s animation along with the Look At features.


This enhanced Look At feature combined with the new Dynamic Wrinkles feature will really boost your character's ability to interact with other characters and objects around it. No more stiff necks or unnatural poses as your character follows an object, particularly up close where the effects are more prevalent.

The head, eyes, and body work together to create fluid motion that can snap quickly or fade in gradually depending on keyframe placement.

A word of advice if you are a new animator, particularly if you don’t grasp keyframes yet, I would recommend you spend at least a bit of your free time going through tutorials on the subject. Until you completely wrap your head around what animating on a timeline is all about, you will be very limited in iClone, Maya, and other applications that use such features. It is not unusual for a new animator to struggle with this. It’s just part of the process.

In a feature-rich upgrade, the Look At feature is just one new tool of several that combine to make animating in iClone more fluid. Reallusion also upgraded its Hub application, the central installation/update tool, to a new design and size that adds Actorcore and other features for quick and easy program maintenance and management. Upgrade via the Hub to version 8.2 for the new, more robust Look At feature.

M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years.  Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website


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