Any plans for muscle/tissue support with things like volume pres and skin sliding?

I’ve been looking around and there’s really not much out there on this, so I don’t know if Blender can already do this or not. I saw what looked like a cool but basic plugin for muscles, but it costs $$$. I looked on the roadmap but I didn’t really see anything on it.

You guys know of any plans? Anything in this area you’d be interested in seeing?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just speak up, I’ll explain it.

If anyone know’s how to pretty much do this with the tools at hand, please share it with the rest of us!

I have never seen any concrete plans for this. Blender can kinda do bits and pieces with stretch to constraints, softbody and shrinkwrap etc, but its really not all there, you need to spend a long time tweaking vertex groups etc. From what I can tell the addon on blender market just makes it easier to set this stuff up.
One of the big issues afaik is that the current shrinkwrap modifier is not very good for binding the skin to the muscles. Ideally you want something that will allow control over sliding v stickyness, not destroy small surface details etc.

This is something I have personally considered working on, alongside a bunch of other skinning tools, but I’m a terrible procrastinator, and I have a full time job, so I doubt I’ll address any time soon.

Well I’d at least wager it’d be one of the most important things to get done in terms of looking at Blender from a production standpoint.
Blender is actually not that far away from fitting rather well into more work horse studio and it’s some features like this that I really think would help make that additional step.

Doing realistic character/creature rendering is just not possible without a decent tissue/muscle/skin system because without that the models will look like toys. You won’t see Blender involved in any of that type of work ever until this can be supported.

Blender already has a well oiled modeling toolkit with the assistance of a couple addons. A solid render engine that can be use for high quality productions, GPU rendering in cycles is quite powerful when scaled onto a small render farm, and larger scale farms with CPU rendering wont be that slow. Blender has a fairly solid UI, so long as you take a day or two to understand it.

Perhaps it’s nothing that a nice paid contract from the BF won’t cure (if it happened)?

I would support the BF hiring you to get those skinning tools and the muscle system done, you seem to be quite proficient with the animation code already.

Unfortunately not my case.
With animation? Yes.
With the code, Nope.

I was actually speaking to Sazerac regarding his lack of motivation to just get it done.

I’m not really that familiar with the code yet (only really looked at modifiers), certainly not enough to be comfortable taking a contract (also I have a full time job, so yeah not likely). It is something I do mean to try and contribute to in my own time at some point though.

I agree that it is a big thing missing in blender as far as advanced skinning goes.

There are potentially a lot of different things that could be done here though. Apart from my procrastination, one of the other things that has stopped me from diving into this is the variety of approaches to this.

One thing that would be useful here though is to collect a bit of feedback and design around exactly what would be useful in this area, since there is a whole range of different approaches that could be useful. I’m happy to curate/collect whatever proposals people are willing to put forward.

Things that would be useful for anyone who does end up looking at this would be:

  • papers on volumetric skinning / muscle deformation / collision mechanics (I have a few saved)
  • workflow descriptions etc (how would you go about creating and setting it up, what aspects are particularly important to have artistic control over, etc). If its a workflow in another application, youtube videos would be great, as obviously not everyone will have access to the application.
  • break down into simpler components / features that would be useful (e.g. modifier that binds an arbitrary muscle mesh to a skin mesh with params to control sliding etc. Modifier for volume preserving collision (or even self collision), better softbody etc).

For example something like: discusses how to enhance skeletal deformation with meshes to drive more complex deformation (would basically be a muscle to skin bind without skin sliding, and may provide a good starting point for more complex features). This would probably not be that hard to implement from a technical point of view as an extension to the armature modifier, but there are some interesting considerations around workflow and combining it with the armature modifier (i.e. how do you specify all the muscles + vertex groups to solve for in the armature modifier). Alternatively you could not combine this with the armature modifier and have separate modifiers which would provide more flexibility, but may make things fairly fiddly to manage.

Its more limited free time and lots of other interests as well, rather than a lack of motivation, but yeah. I particularly suck at getting started with things, usually once I get going with a project I’ll continue to tinker with it fairly regularly :slight_smile:

I agree with importance of this feature and arguments posted here. Although this may not seem like a priority, it is one of few missing puzzle pieces for full production needs and something that will weigh on a studio considering Blender for serious animation. With blenders plugin structure (api) people are unable to buy missing functionality from third party unless it comes in high level PY or yet another custom build. As such my argument is that Blender by default should contain according functionality blocks(modifiers, constraints, objects etc) that both allow the setup of such complex muscle systems as well as can be used anywhere else.

To be fair, detailed muscle and skinning systems are not too readily available in any other package either. Most of the big studios have rolled their own and they aren’t sharing. There ARE muscle systems more advanced than blender in other packages, but none of them are good enough for the highest level of work.

So yeah, it would be AWESOME to have advanced muscle systems, but the lack of one isn’t a main reason for Blender not being picked up in studios. Blender has much bigger architectural problems than that. The lack of plugin system is one, as was mentioned. Lack of available pro-level work force is probably the biggest.

But yeah, I want a muscle system too. :slight_smile:

Hm some people did use blender with setup skul + flesh + fat + skin.
Its pretty complex todo, and lots of work (to create a 3d human skull first).

If i remind well there is a addon in the blenderstore to have some muscle control. (doesnt use fat or flesh).
i dont have the addon but perhaps combine it with some softboddy effect ???

would be nice to have a way to do skin sliding in b3d. I have never seen anyone achieve it so far

Muscle/tissue would be great but… yeah, not easy. Given the maths involved, you’d probably want a C implementation for speed.

Anyone know if there’s a muscly character in the Agent 327 universe? A villain perhaps? :slight_smile:

I doubt it will happen as people have in mind here. These systems are incredibly complex, to the point that every studio develops their own and keeps if very closely guarded. The sim times would also make most Blender users’ jaws drop, considering how much people whine about 15 minute render times.

Is there any way to have some rudimentary system that can get ‘closer’ to giving the impression of muscles and tissue movement without the long simulation times of a full system?

That might be the best thing for Blender as it would possibly give pleasing results with the speed that users want and without taking months for a developer to implement.

Well sure, that’s basically what the addon on the Marketplace is. We’re not getting much further than that with the current cloth sim quality or without a dedicated solver.

I think the problem is also how to define muscles, thinking of body builders or athletich person or horses, or normal people,
How would one define the shape the muscle ?. I think i would allready be happy if tissue around bones would bend better (no baloon bending). And if i remind well somepeople did work on that, not sure if they went on with blender. (some new math of how to do surfaces around bending ares).

In once i used bump maps for light muscle effects, i was able to shape (enlight) different textures for this, animated in cycles nodes. But its not highly realistic, but for some effects it can be nice and simple. Shapekeys are more likely to be used… and well we get a dephgraph update soon… so lets see whats possible then…

I’m not really convinced of the usefulness of full muscle and skin simulation systems. Maya has one but no one uses it because the cost in time is outrageous. You model a a character, make bones, build muscles, paint vert maps for different aspects of the simulation and so on. It’s tedious work for very little gain. You can get the same or better results with shape keys and jiggle deformers and it’s a lot more controllable. With this workflow you get exactly what you want without having to struggle with simulations.

One thing that I could see being really useful in Blender for character animation is a Tension map. With a tension map, measures the distance that between points as they get deformed and generates a vertex (or texture) map from that. You can use this map to drive the opacity of displacement around the body as it’s deformed.

Check out this plugin for Maya:

Beauty of Maya is that nodes are combinable in infinite ways creating very powerful solutions.

I think the goal for Blender should be not be to create “full muscle system” but many SUB-SYSTEMS (just like that tension map ) that are usable for MUSCLES and everything else as well. This keeps things modular, compact, progressive.

Seems like what you really need to focus on creating / finding is the skin part. Some slightly stretchable/pliable surface that uses physx to change it’s shape, like cloth, stretched over, and sealed on top of rigged spheres that scale/bulge/contract based on rig positions. The muscle scaling etc., can easily be done with just spheres set up right in a good rig. The trick is the skin that everything slides under.