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Learn How Reallusion's Free CC Character Bases Can Help With Character Design

Certain Affinity's Michael Pavlovich explained what Reallusion's CC Character Bases are and showed how they can be used to streamline character creation workflows.

Why Use a 3D Character Base Mesh?

Sculpting an anatomical model from scratch (for example, starting with a sphere and manipulating the geometry into your human base body) is a great exercise for learning the proportions, forms, volumes, and anatomical landmarks of the body! Building up these forms takes time, but you’ll eventually get faster at it!

If you’re pressed for time, starting with a 3D character base mesh can be a helpful way to speed things along – while a base mesh won’t necessarily have the perfect proportions or exact forms your unique character requires, it will provide a generic starting point to start from that contains all the general human landmarks in place, that you can quickly modify to get your character dialed in!

Why CC Character Base?

With these character creator bases, once you’ve finished sculpting a static character, you’re just a few button presses away from complete rigging, weights, and facial expression morphs. In other words, a character with a myriad of possibilities for animation, simulation, posing, etc., essentially bringing your character to life. You can use them for anything from an animated scene to a posed 3D print, and everything in between!

So long story short, if I make a character and I don’t feel like bringing it to life, no big deal, it’s still a good, predictable, performant mesh to start sculpting on. However, if by the time I’m done sculpting my character and I feel like posing it out, have it run around in a scene, or even controlling the character's face with my own using AccuFACE, I’m literally just a few button pushes away from making that happen (some of those button pushes we’ll cover in this article!).

However, if I start with some other base mesh and then decide I want to make it dance around…making a skeleton, skin weights, creating facial morphs, creating a control rig for all that, applying or creating an animation, and more…it’s going to take way more than a few button presses to make that happen. So that’s the big plus to me; If I start with these base meshes, animation, and expressions, life is right there at my fingertips, seconds away!

Posed a character in CC and transferred it back to the high-res ZBrush source for 3D printing!

In this article, we’ll explore the newly released Character Creator Base Meshes (CC character base) from Reallusion, available for free download and use in your projects!

First, we need to download the .zip file:

  1. Click here to go to the download page.
  2. Click the “Download Now” button and watch the 1 minute video.
  3. The file will download automatically to your computer! 
  4. Unzip the contents wherever you’d like, and let’s dig into what we can do!

Five varieties of CC character base

What’s Inside the CC Character Base

After you unzip the file, you’ll see three file formats and five varieties of CC character base meshes: a fully neutral base, a realistic male and female, and a stylized male and female.

Here’s a brief overview:

  • OBJ file: import this single mesh file into any program that accepts .obj files, and begin moving geometry around to transform your initial base mesh into a unique and interesting character!
  • ZTL file: this is a ZTool file that you can Tool > Load Tool into ZBrush, and just like the .obj workflow, begin modifying to your heart’s content. Unlike the .obj file, the even distribution and quad geometry of .ztl file makes sculpting on this base fun and predictable, and just like the .obj file, once you’ve refined your character's body, you’re just a few button clicks away from bringing it to life!
  • FBX file: this file contains a skeletal rig and facial blendshapes, so in order to utilize these you’ll have to import them into a program that recognizes them. So not ZBrush, but 3ds Max, Maya, Modo, Blender, or C4D, etc…import this file and modify the assets as you see fit!

Topology and UVs

All the 3D character base meshes have nice, uniform quad surfaces, with edge loops built specifically for animation deformations, morphs, and blendshape creation in mind. In fact, each base has identical UDIM UV maps and vertex order, so you can blend between them seamlessly, and are perfect for production pipelines that require vertex and UV consistency between bases.


The “Topology Maps” folder contains template utility images that you can apply to your meshes that will help you put your facial landmarks and volumes exactly where you want them based on the mesh topology! Inside each FBX format folder, you’ll also have base body textures that you can apply to your models: a realistic color map for the realistic bases, and a stylized color map for the stylized bases!

ZTL Format Workflow Demonstration

For .obj and .fbx file workflow, please refer to the completed article. Let’s talk about the .ztl file format now. This format is very similar to .obj – there are no bones or morphs, and all we’ll be doing is moving around the existing geometry to create our unique character. However, by going to Tool > Load Tool, and choosing the .ztl file from the body type you want to start from, you’ll see this file format contains multiple objects (Subtools in ZBrush), rather than one single file like the .obj.

Multiple subtools found in the .ztl format

Just like the .obj, you don’t want to change the naming of these existing subtools. However, you can add as many custom subtools as you want! Shirts, pants, shoes, swords, create and name these as separate subtools, and we can send them over to Character Creator later, along with our body updates.

03_Neutral_M CC_BaseBody.ztl original, 03_Neutral_M CC_BaseBody.ztl modified, extra “port” subtools:


Mask, move, and sculpt the subtools to create your own unique character. Your “CC_Base_Body” subtool will already have 5 levels of subdivision on it. I usually start on the lowest subdivision, and work my way up through the subdivisions as I add more and more detail. If you need more detail than subdivision level 5 will allow, go to Tools > Geometry and hit the divide button to get more geometry resolution.

Remember, you’re able to append and create more subtools while in ZBrush, named whatever you like, that will send over to Character Creator along with our body changes. Feel free to use polypainting to add color to your high-res sculpt as well.

Base body with polypaint

Sending to CC

Once the sculpting is finished, open Character Creator and click Load Neutral Base. Once again, ensure that the character is set to a bind pose using Remove > Restore Bind Pose in the Animation Player. Go back into ZBrush and press the Tool > GoZ All button to send all of your ZBrush subtools over to Character Creator.

Load Neutral Base and Restore Pose and Character Creator GoZ Options:

You’ll see the GoZ Options panel appear in CC. Ensure that all of the original sub tools are set to Update, while the new ones are set to Create Cloth. This will bind your custom objects to your body automatically!

GoZ base mesh result (left). Base mesh with baked normal detail and polypaint (right).

Further Refinement

If you want to continue having fun and refining your character, like baking your high-res detail and polypaint from your body to your CC mesh, check out this article in Reallusion Magazine. For more information on creating custom clothing and accessories, including adding cloth simulation, check out this article!

Updated base mesh with custom weapon and animation applied and base mesh with custom armor and weapon:

Final Thoughts

Thanks for stopping by, and keep an eye out for more articles detailing how you can create cool stuff, then get that cool stuff to move around! And remember there are pipeline tools available to transfer it to any number of applications, from Blender to Unreal, and everything in between!

To find out more about how CC character base can help you with character creation, please see the original post for a more detailed walk-through. 

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