iClone Educational Program at Galileo University, Guatemala.

Mike Aparicio, Medialab Director at Galileo University in Guatemala Central America, started participating at the Reallusion CCD program since 2008.

Mike has developed many content packages for iClone and has developed true innovations having explored the innermost features found in iClone, to obtain outstanding results, far beyond the standard content capabilities.

Mike was invited to give some workshops in Milano, Italy and he worked over there for about 3 weeks, teaching several companies artists, how to take the best out if iClone and how to produce custom content by means of 3D MAX modeling and iClone exporting features.

As an educator, he has created several programs to train technicians in the Animation, Video and Special Effects production. As a result of his experience in iClone usage and content design he thought iClone learning would enhance the powers the students gain during their training, and would enable them to quickly design and produce animated video sequences suitable for the Educational Media, WEB communications and even Commercial Animation Production.

Guatemala is a country located in the Central American area, going under development and fighting a high degree of analphabetism, primary cause for a lag in reaching the goals to effectively incorporating the country to the global market and community.

To solve the problem, government, private enterprise and educational institutions are launching several education campaigns to teach the majority of the native population, the basic skills for reading, writing and communicating. During the last 30 years, Guatemalan people has developed a strong perception of movies, video and other audio-visual material, hence it was logical the programs developed to produce the radical change in the abilities to read and write, but also in employing new technologies in several fields such as Industrial, Agricultural, Touristic, Transportation and other fields, to use audio-visual communication as the primary source to transfer knowledge and enhance the cultural level.

As a result of Mike’s enthusiasm with iClone, Galileo University acquired a substantial license package for more than 35 seats, and authorized the creation of several academic programs, some as introductions to iClone, and others as full Post-Grade courses for already graduated communication professionals in the Central American area.

Current Galileo programs for iClone include: Introduction to iClone Animation, Producing 3D Stereo video with iClone, Creating special effects using iClone, video Montage and composition with iClone, Creating additional custom Content, Motion Capture for iClone Animation, Advanced iClone Production, and other programs under development.

The plans are to use iClone related production to elaborate instructional guides, children’s programming, training videos and many other forms of audio-visual pedagogic material.

Why was iClone selected to be an important tool for this endeavor? Because the complete virtual studio facility built into iClone is an incredible bargain per Dollar investment, which is several times more economical and effective, while the finished product can reach unsuspected levels of quality, communicative power and entertaining value!

By the end of November, the first of iClone Introduction trained students will receive their diplomas and will present a show with their best clips, while many students of other faculties are looking at participating in iClone workshops next year.

A special laboratory facility was created, fitted with last generation workstations, all equipped with high speed, high power video interface cards, large disk space and quad core processors.

At the same time, a small chroma key cyclorama studio was built, and equipped with digital HDTV cameras, lighting equipment, blue and green screen backdrops, and lots of computer graphics related applications, including editing, compositing, audio recording and processing software.

iClone immediately captured the student’s attention and interest, as soon as they were exposed to demonstrations on how quickly a clip could be produced and the easiness to animate, perform lip-sync and create environments, light effects, 3D rendering and more!

The understanding of the powers now built into the latest versions of iClone has opened a new avenue for animated production, as iClone has shifted from a beginners Machinima tool into a fully fledged production environment, capable of delivering high quality, impressive video clips and complete video programs.

Of course, the teaching program is in its initial experimental phase, where Mike Aparicio and his collaborator teachers and technicians evaluate the logical order, the depth and level necessary to introduce students into using this remarkable, ingenious software by Reallusion.

At this point, our experimental program has selected three groups of students; one at the beginners level, another one with an intermediate level in graphics production and a third one with higher skills, and communication techniques understanding.

A different learning curve was established and the goals and challenges presented to students was scaled properly to their abilities and expertise.

So far, the programs have being running for about 5 weeks, hence it is not possible to xpect students to produce outstanding videos at this point. The initial phase consists on learning program navigation, including menus, sub-menus, timeline understanding, usage of manipulation and transforming tools and such.

On the second phase students will be exposed to each unique feature in iClone and will start putting together small clips under storyboard guidance and of course doing team work! During next phase the special effects, atmospherics will be explored. And will continue by looking at the different ways to create additional content by means of 3DS MAX, 3DXchange, sculpting tools and of course integrating into GoogleWorks to widen the resources available for serious actual production work.
Once the experimental phases are completed, formal programs, 6 month long, will be created and offered to several educational institutions as well as to industry, government and private production facilities.

Mike Aparicio seriously recommends other educators to bring their attention to iClone and consider it a great enhancement to the techniques to teach. The inexhaustible resources available at Google Warehouse, at the Reallusion Content Store and the recently created Reallusion City Marketplace, makes iClone an unbeatable choice to expand audio-visual communications into a new realm, including the reborn, now very popular 3D (Stereoscopic) animation production!
Certainly, iClone has opned a new door and window to a completely innovative revolution in video production. New expectations arise from this experiences and Mike is looking forward to the next iClone version which will bring, no doubt about it, new enhancements and powers which will make other production platforms obsolete, complex and truly expensive.

November 2010.-