BlenderPeople needs your help!

Cross-posted from the BlenderPeople development blog

Well, BlenderPeople is finally at a stage where I could use some help from the world wide Blender community.

With the basic completion of automated walking, fixes to Action Baking and MatchBone, and additions and modifications to the Python API, I’m starting to put it all together. If you follow the blog, this isn’t news to you.

So here’s the news: I’m looking for YOU to give me the raw animation materials that’ll be used in the BlenderPeople demo at SIGGRAPH. If all goes well, I’ll be at the awesome Blender/GNOME/UniVerse booth at SIGGRAPH at the beginning of August, and will demo BP on the big screen.

But I need your help. I have too much on my plate right now to put on my animator’s hat in a righteous fashion, and I want it to look good.

Here is what I need:

  1. Armatures. I’m looking for fairly simple biped rigs. I have one that I’ve been using, but there’s no reason for me to think that it’s anything incredible. The rigs for Proog and Emo are a little too complex, so don’t bother sending them.

Requirements for the armatures are as follows:
a. must face to the right of the screen in a top view.
b. legs must be IK rigged, with a single foot controller that controls both translation and left-right rotation. Not to say that the foot can’t have additional controls, but those two must be housed in the same single bone for autowalking to work.
c. must be a single armature, with all constraints and ik solvers/targets/etc as bones within that armature. No constraining to empties or other placeholder objects.

  1. Actions. I need Actions of the following types:
    a. Walk cycles (walking in place)
    b. Run cycles (running in place)
    c. Attack - single motion attacks are fine; kicks; sword chops; spear stabs; combination attacks are also fine
    d. Dodges - actions that show an armature ducking an attack; jumping out the way; leaning to the side; etc.
    e. Blocks - actions showing the actor blocking as though with a weapon
    f. Defensive stances - actions that a character who is hanging out, but who is wary; could include looking around, shifting weight from foot to foot, nervously examining weapon, etc.
    Actions do not need to begin from the armature’s rest position. just start them in the best position you’d like them to be in. MatchBone will (should) take care of the rest. There is no limit to the length of actions, but they really should be atomic, taking no more than a second or two each.

If you don’t have an armature to work with, and you don’t feel like making you own, you can download mine from:

I’m giving no guarantee that I’ll be using any of the submissions. I have some crummy ones already, and if all I get is crap, than I’ll stick with the crap I made myself. But I’m hoping that a few people out there will really come up with some great stuff. If you submit material to this, it must be your own work (or something that’s been given freely to the public), and I will credit you as such on any demo materials that are produced.

You can send submissions and questions to bphelp <-at-> harkyman dot com, or you can just reply in this thread. That’s a fairly mangled email address, but you should be able to figure it out. PLEASE keep submitted .blend files under 300k. If you have something bigger than that, and you think it rocks, email me with text only first, and I’ll okay the bigger attachment then. That email address will only stay active for a couple of weeks, and depending on response levels, I’m going to put a tentative deadline on submissions of two weeks from right now.

Thanks for all of your help in advance!

An a.i. script?(that’s what it sounds like)
I’d forgotten all about this project…
Will it ever be an included python script, or maybe even a built-in feature?
This is AWSOME!

Probably will be neither included nor built-in. It requires a full Python installation, as well as MySQL and the Python<->MySQL bridge. All free, and not that hard to install, but it kind of rules out inclusion.

If you’re really interested, follow the link in the first post to the development blog. There’s over two years of stuff to read through.

hey harkyman. I’ve kept following bpl. I have 0 time at the moment, but I’ll help you where I can. I’m on vacation (mallorca, aiii!!) from sunday… I’ll use your armature.

I have a library of mocap that I’ve been collecting over the years, some as .blends, some as .bvh. It’s zipped up (40 MB) and available on my website at

If you find something in there that you need, but don’t have time to convert it to a blend or put on your armature of choice let me know, I may have time to help. If you’re going to SIGRAPH this year, I’ll see you there!



Is anyone else having trouble with Harkyman’s latest rig?

When I add keyframes, the armature does not respond to them. I can pose it and add keyframes whenever I please, but then if I change the frame the armature snaps back to the rest position, and when I play it does not do anything. I do not have ‘Rest Position’ selected and I’m using Blender 2.41

The .blend file is the straight download of the latest armature, linked in the first post. I re-downloaded it just to be sure.
I’ve tried everything I can think of, any help on this would be greatly appreciated!

Open the NLA editor and change the Action/NLA icon to Action (half little man).


The crosswalk should have a good dozen and a half of rigged background characters for the movie. All should have basic walk cycles to them. I will check to see what we have as of now and how soon the rest will be done. I think you may be able to show the crowd moving through a city like a mob. I have followed your progress and I think what you are doing is amazing. For the updates on all the background characters and their progress and see if this could help you out.

I was already using the Action editor, if that’s what you meant. I tried fooling around with stuff in the NLA editor, but it didn’t seem to do the trick. :o

Open the original file and delete any strips that are in the NLA editor, and then create a new action :

  • select the armature
  • press CTR-tab to go into pose mode
  • press ‘a’ to select all
    (check that you’re on frame1)
  • then “i” loc/rot (all)

Should be good to go then.

There seems to be something weird with the existing action strip in the NLA editor when the file is first opened (created in an older version ???)


Oops. Sorry folks. That was created in a version that has special NLA features that are not yet in official Blender. I had created a blank .blend file, then Appended the armature object to it. Didn’t realize that the Action would follow it in.

That last advice will work, but I’ll fix it and reupload for future users.

sorry guys, a little off topic. Im trying to get blenderpeople 0.6 running on an XP machine and was wondering:

A) Will blenderpeople 0.6 work with blender 2.41 (cvs is acting crazy with python)?

B) Whats the latest version of python I can install?

C) Whats the latest version of mySQL I can install?


I was wondering about that, after reading about your own NLA development.

OK, Im trying to run blender people 0.6 (although at the top of the python script it says 0.3???), and I get the message in blender comand console:

File “”, line 17, in ?
ImportError: No module named MySQLdb

Am I ment to make a module MySQLdb for the database connection? If so how? I looked at the python files included in the blend, and I cant see a MySQLdb. (I presume the include command in python is like in php? I have done php, no python).


***EDIT: OK, I forgot that python 2.4 took over in blender 2.41 :smiley: I ran blender 2.37a, and pretty much got it working. I find that they end up just spinning in circles, but I’ll just have to work out how the script works.

When python complains about modules can’t be found, there must be something installed to work with it. In this case you have to install MySQLdb module which is a Python API for MySQL acces.

Here a link:

I played with it a few days ago, and it’s pretty awesome. This way you can make some cool applications as well CMS python stuff to admin your website as well. :slight_smile:

sweet, thanks. That means there will be a pain to get blender people running with blender 2.4X, as python is included with blender. Is there any way they could include the python > SQL converter in blender, or wouldnt that fix it? Should it work if I installed python 2.4 and the 2.4 converter (or would blender still look at its own python)?

It works with python 2.3 and blender 2.37a installed, as 2.37a didnt come with python.


***EDIT: Fixed now. Running under 2.41 :smiley:

The specs are spelled out pretty clearly on the home page:

The version that I’ll be taking to SIGGRAPH (probably called 0.8), runs under a “special” Blender binary, based on the upcoming 2.42, and supports MySQL4/5 and Python 2.3/2.4. You also need the latest version of MySQLdb (Google for it).

As BP will only be useable with my special binary until the features hit the main tree someday, I’m looking into including the MySQLdb Python link right in there, so there’s less you have to do.

If you haven’t read the docs, get them from the main page. They are very instructive.

Thanks for that. Ive actually got it running under blender 2.41 now, with python 2.4 and no mySQL install as such. I am using xampp lite, as it has mySQL 4.? with it, no stuffing around installing, and if u want to use the blenderpeople db on another computer, just copy the xampp folder to some portable media :smiley: its about 100mb I think.

I dont think I tested it yet, but this config should work in blender cvs, and therefore blender 2.42.

Once BP 0.8 is released (are we able to grab the binary etc somewhere?), will you be able to save the biped movements (eg one set of ipo/pose positions for attack, another for walk, another for die etc), so that they will all animate as well as move etc?


Oh, BTW: Did you want any help with rendering a cool example? if you send me the blend files once simulation is done, I’ll render out a decent quality clip. (would still be nice if each frame took less than 20mins each if you want a long animation) I shouldnt need blenderpeople installed to render it out once bp has done its calculations.