MakeHuman = Cookie Cutter or GoodTool

I was just wondering what every one thinks.
Is Make Human software a Cool Tool or a cookie cutter? Is it ART or cheating?
I have been learning to model with blender for over a year as a hobby (when the kids aren’t bothering me.) I started with what I like, faces. I read and watch and practice every tutorial our there. I take advice I have learned a lot about modeling faces. So my question to the community is.
WHAT do you all think is MakeHuman 0.9 cookie cutter cheating or is it a really great tool?
I am torn on the subject, as I would hate to create a nice image and have the artist community look down on it because I used cookie cutter.
On the other hand it would get my plan to make an animated movie along a lot faster.
What do you all think?

This is for the entire community. So please sound off if you have an opinion on the subject.

It depends on the level of modification to the initial “cookie cutter” mesh.

If the user adds his/her own creativity into the mix, I would be just fine with it.

That said, I would hold more respect for someone who labored on their own from the ground up, but that’s just my personal stance on the matter.

I think if you create a nice image of a human being, and it turns out that the mesh is from MakeHuman, the artist community would look down on it. In fact, something similar happened last summer, when someone posted an image of what turned out to be a DAZ or Poser model, and when someone pointed this out in the comments, everyone was outraged.

On the other hand, if you are making an animated short, where the point is not the looks of the mesh, but whether your animation skills can bring that mesh to life, then, yes, MakeHuman is just another tool. Of course, you have to make sure that the realism of the animation exceeds the realism of the mesh, or you’ll get hammered for both poor animation AND for using a cookie cutter. And that, my friend, will happen even if the animation would have been quite good on a more cartoony mesh. Artists are peculiar people.

Hmmm… I suppose it depends on, amoungst other things, what you… try to get credit for.

If you just say “This is my animation, what do you think?” you’re likely to cop flak if people figure out you didn’t do the mesh and stuff.

If you say “This is my animation, I used MakeHuman for the meshes 'n stuff 'cause I wanted to get the story up and running as soon as possible, what do you think?” or “This is my animation, I used MakeHuman for the meshes 'n stuff because I utterly such at that area of art and I really wanted to do this, what do you think?” you’re more likely to have people accept it.

I’m not really an artist though, I’ve just been hanging around Off-Topic a bit (I kinda stopped with trying to learn Blender and haven’t started again, yet).

I am using Makehuman as a tool. Isn’t a cookie cutter a tool too?

The point is I need to generate huge volumes of assets on my current projects and Makehuman helps with that. It simp;y wouldn’t be humanely possible for me to model all the humanoids I am going to be needing. Remember that in the end it is the final image that counts and nothing else. As for respect you earn, it depends what you are emphasising…

Trying to show your modelling skills by passing off a Makehuman mesh as your own won’t earn you any respect. Creating a nice atmospheric scene with good composition and lighting with a MH mesh as one element of the scene, however, should be just fine.

If it is about skills and respect you should grow your own silicon, design your own chip architecture and instruction set, code in assembly and hand draw every pixel. You get my point…everything is a shortcut, a “cheat” at some level or another.

The final product is what counts…along with being honest about how you created it. Then let others decide what to think. If other people feel you have “cheated” to get the same result then they have the problem not you. It is called being efficient with your time and effort.


The complex circuitry and software that enable you to use your computer are things that one person could never make on their own.

Creating a ground up mesh with blender however is fully possible for anyone. It’s just a matter of dedicating the time to do it.

You don’t need to make circuit boards, or program a microprocessor.

The point is, your talking about two things residing on drasticly different difficulty levels.

It’s cheating when you claim (or it is suggested) you having modelled the model I guess.

The point is, your talking about two things residing on drasticly different difficulty levels.
For a single image, I agree but what if you need a crowd of people? What if you need to create several images a day each containing different humanoids? Do you still model every polygon? You said it is a matter of time and I concur! Recently I saw an incredible image done completely in MS Paint (it took hundreds of hours to make). From that artists point of view, using Blender would be a form of cheating.

The complex circuitry and software that enable you to use your computer are things that one person could never make on their own.
Perhaps you are somewhat right about the hardware…a single person could never do it. I was just emphasising a point (a little strongly, maybe :)). That said I could make a simple calculator myself and use it to follow through a raytracing calculation, pixel by pixel if I was so inclined. Your point about software doesn’t hold as well…people do write software. And yes people still use assembly code. It is all about effort and time.

This reminds me of Robert Rodriguez talking about Sin City and how they made the effect of blood splattering on Miho’s face - it was faked by superimposing open eyes over a shot of blood with her eyes closed. Apparently when Robert Rodriguez told Quintin Tarantino about it, Quentin thought it was cheating! Robert Rodriguez replies that the whole movie industry is about cheating at which point Quintin seemed to realise how much time he could have saved in Kill Bill if he had faked more!

To reiterate, for a single image (ie a still) you really ought to model it yourself/create your own targets/edit the result properly. In other circumstances, Makehuman is a tool like any other.


It wouldn’t change the fact that your statement relating complex ground up computer construction to making a mesh/es in blender is fundamentally wrong.

Your point about software doesn’t hold as well…people do write software. And yes people still use assembly code. It is all about effort and time.
Complex drivers and the CPU instruction set are usually software developed by large companies who have a team of highly skilled individuals working on those “close to the box, system critical” programs.

Skilled individuals can modify those programs, but usually low level stuff like that is created by a team, not one person.

Regardless, it’s not something that you can even remotly compare to the task of creating an original mesh with blender, and that is basically my main point here.

Pixar used a similar tool to create extras for their movie The Incredibles. If you use it expecting simple one-click solutions, your work is probably going to be considered low quality; but if you spend some time with it and go for nice results, you can achieve some nice work with Makehuman!

Would I consider an image with Makehuman elements to be “cheating”? No, I don’t consider it cheating anymore than someone using premade materials, textures, BVH animations, plugins, etc. I don’t think many people complain about a pencil drawing because the artist didn’t make the pencils. They might complain if the drawing isn’t good. Just make sure that your work doesn’t look like a bunch of premade resources thrown together sloppily, and you’re fine.

It wouldn’t change the fact that your statement relating complex ground up computer construction to making a mesh/es in blender is fundamentally wrong.

Either way, surely you will agree with the following:

  1. Progress/Art/Technology require effort to create. The Second Law makes sure of that.

  2. Humans create tools to help make life easier. Better tools ease progress. After all, why should we reinvent the wheel?.

  3. Previous generations did not have access to those tools and so they needed to expend much more effort for the same results. Therefore, to that generation the new tools is “cheating”.

My point was about the effort and time needed for a certain result. Progress requires everyone to “cheat” to advance. The huge amount of time dedicated to create Makehuman is an example of an initial effort by a team of people so others don’t have to. Of course it may first be seen as “cheating” but one day it will be accepted as a “tool”.

My analogy was illustrating how everything we do builds on other people’s effort. Naturally, the details between modelling and hardware manufacture are very different.

Hopefully, I have made my point even if my analogy wasn’t perfect!


Does someone asks some painter that makes portraits of people has he created his model it self or that’s a real human, or has he created his brushes, paint and canvas? Analogy is this: Makehuman creates models, Blender is a combined brush, paint and canvas…

Ok, I’ll settle for “wasn’t perfect”.

PS: I never contested you on your opinions about makehuman as a tool. All that I had trouble with was your invalid analogy. So while I appreciate you “making your point” on makehuman as a tool, I never actually contested your opinions on that matter.

i think that its just like you said you used max and in fact you used maya, something like that but in a deeper level cause you are faking something that would ve been manually made versus a computer made, i dont know if you want you can also have an hibrid, what do you guys think about it use make human mesh and model over it with both mesh modelling techniques and sculpt tool?

Make Human is a valuable resource, as it grows,just as Blender does, The more functions and complex charactors can be made. There are shortcuts for Blender in the way of Scripts to help ease People’s workflows. Remember Make Human started as one of these tools. In some ways you could also say that if you auto rig or use walkomatic or even the bevel tool in Blender you have not done the work yourself.
One concern is that using tools such as Make Human your models may look Generic.
However that risk is up to the artist. Make Human .obj’s can easily be modified in Blender to personalize your charactor. It can also teach you by exploring the mesh.
Not everyone has the skills to make the quality of models we see on this forum.
A good toolkit can help you learn and help people get results they would take years to learn. Cheating = No Using the tools that are available to our best advantage = Yes.
I cannot wait until Terragen 2 comes out so I can import a decent background and place a few Make Humanoids in the scene. Beats hand painting a background on 35mm film.
That said, Honesty is the best policy.
Background - Terragen, Humans - Make Human, Compositing, Rendering, Lighting - Blender.

If you’re using MakeHuman for animation and you make everyone aware of the fact the model isn’t yours, fine. However, I would feel like a cheater if I used MakeHuman, added some extra stuff and called it my own.

The problem with MakeHuman at this point of their development is that it seems (IMO) to be too programmer-centric in how they are implimenting what is essentially an aesthetic issue . I mean this last build (0.9) with its pose engine was obviously made by someone with very little knowledge anatomy . The upper arm rotates with no transfer of motion into the shoulder and clavicle - its like a digital Barbie doll !
I know beginners building rigs usually have a hard time with mesh deformations but I’m not sure that having programs like MakeHuman (or Poser etc.) really help in developing essential skills related to creativity . If people could just rely on easy solutions provided by software to create “works of art” the essential process of making art I think suffers . I mean how many images of Barbie in the middle if a crappy Bryce generated scene can anyone look at before they all just disolve into the visual pollution of modern life ?
Also it is not that easy to alter the generic MakeHuman Mesh because of programming prototype the mesh is generated by . You can only add - not take away - verts/faces etc.
I don’t mean to say that all production pipeline tools are bad . I just think that because of the very nature of the problem creating (AND therefore understanding) the human body as a CG project is better handled on a case by case basis . We ourselves as human beings are interesting because of our variations . Generic solutions yield generic results no matter how good the prototype .

The best solution is to make one good human mesh/rig, and modify it for allll your projects. Just make sure it’s PLENTY modified, and then:
A: It’s always been modelled from scratch by YOU
B: It always looks good, if you do it good once.
C: You gain good experience making/editing it, and you save time.

It’s like a quote I’ve seen on here before:

“Don’t reinvent the wheel. Improve it.”

If my boss or a client says to me “Can we put in some people/person” then chances are I’d say yes and use makehuman, or some other form of free mesh / person. Its just not worth the time it would take to construct it by hand.

In this case, the person mesh is just a tool to carry across the size and orientation of the building better, not actually part of the finished product (the building)

If it was a personal project, and the person was a feature, then i would do it by hand.

Basically, i’d use MH if I had time constraints or if it really didnt matter that much (i.e. a crowd - but with a crowd you wouldnt use MH anyway, heh).

If its for something like fashion design, for xample, sure, use MH, what you are portraying is the clothes, not the character as a whole.