Using Akeytsu together with Character Creator 3 and Marvelous Designer

By Andee Antillon

To get to 3rd place in Character Creator Digital Human Contest 2020 (Stylized Character Prize), character artist & 3D fashion illustrator Andee Antillon used akeytsu as a bridge app together with Reallusion's Character Creator 3 and Marvelous Designer. Akeytsu allowed her to put everything together and iterate on posing and camera before going to render stage. In this article she details her workflow and share a few tips about Project Management when building a pipeline involving the use of multiple creative software applications.

Credits : This article features artwork by digital artist Andee Antillon. Follow her on Twitter to see what she is up to..

Hi my name is Andee Antillon and I am based in Mexico. As an artist I focus on creating stylized 3D characters and fashion apparel for them. I typically combine a lot apps when working on a project and strive to pick the best tools for each step of the pipeline. While I got some educational training in Multimedia Engineering, I am mostly self-taught when it comes to 3D, I like to learn new tools, experiment with them, help developers with UX feedback and share what I've learned with others. I am also the Winner of the Marvelous Designer 9 review/feedback contest, KeyShot holiday renders contest to showcase version 9 new features & also recently placed 3rd place in the Reallusion's Character Creator Digital Human Contest 2020 for the Stylized character prize for which I'll share practical information about my project in this article.
Sienna by Antee Antillon, 3rd place in Reallusion's Character Creator Digital Human Contest 2020


A first advice I can give is that when working with a wide set of tools on a project as I did for Sienna, file organization is the key. Here are a few advices:
  • Create a Root folder for the project.
  • Create a subfolder for "general" files like [Final Textures] and [Final Renders].
  • Create a dedicated subfolder for each software (Akeytsu, CC3, Marvelous Designer, Substance....). In there you can keep all the native files and also add an "Export" folder for files that will be travelling between programs.
  • Keep clear file names with increments in case you need to go back.


Start by creating your character with Reallusion's CC3. To export to akeytsu you can choose the Unity or UE4 .FBX preset. In my experience Unity gives better results.
After you've exported your character into akeytsu, you can pretty much work with the skeleton and skinning weights that you have. Additional IK-controls can be easily set for arms and feet through the Rig Atelier. This will later help me build a nice pose for Sienna.
As for blendshapes you'll need to create controllers for them. For this I referenced SkySurfer's facial rig. I also encourage you to take a look at the dedicated tutorial on blendshape controls. Once directional mouse controls have been set, you'll find it really easy to sculpt a facial expression.
I would recommend to remove the additional eye meshes (Eye occlusion and Tearline) that come with CC3 that are mostly there for render, since they have separated shapes for blink and other eye-related deformations.


Akeytsu AnimBank allows to quickly create and iterate on poses and store as many variations as you'd like with a convenient folder system.

Rigging in akeytsu is quick and you can easily go back and forth betwee, rigging and animation. When working on Sienna, being able to do super quick object/props rigging (hair, jewellery, accessories) in case it needed to be repoisitioned was helpful. Akeytsu's non-destructive workflow lets you edit skinning weights while preserving your poses which proved essential when working against the clock.

With the CC3-imported skeleton rig, built-in controls in akeytsu through the Spinner and previously mentionned IK-chains, it's fairly easy to work on a pose for a character. The real-time feedback when making adjustments and overall smoothness of the software is a great plus, letting you iterate in a more friendly environment.


Once I have found the pose I like, I can export selected elements only, ignoring everything that could cause issues or slow-downs (hair, jewelry, eyelashes...).

To get everything into Akeytsu & Marvelous Designer (MD), I export both A-pose and final poses. Importing A-pose into MD I save it as avatar for future re-use (.avt). As for final poses I'll import them and save them as MD pos assets (.pos).

It's also possible to import animations made in akeytsu. An important side note here is that if you make changes to the rig after import into MD, you may have to re-import and create new avatars/poses/animations as it may break compatibility between them.

To start working on garments
  • Go back to the MD Avatar, create garnments and save the project file in A-pose.
  • In a new file, assign the created pose asset and simulate.
  • Export garnments without avatar.


I like to use akeytsu as a "bridge" app to put everything together. Adding Camera is extra helpful for me to preview the shot and see if anything needs to be fixed. Sometimes I don't even rig the clothing and just directly import the mesh with the corresponding simulation for the pose into akeytsu.

You can then export the whole scene from akeytsu and have it ready for render !

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