Manuel Bastioni Lab, turns Blender in a laboratory for 3d humanoids creation


(0o00o0oo) #1522

It appears the project has been abruptly abandoned.

@Manuel put out a call for financial support for the Manuel Lab a week ago, but the (lack of) response has caused him to shut down the project. Not sure why this effort wasn’t announced on Blenderartists or Blender Nation (I found out on Facebook by chance), but the lack of community enthusiasm seems to have crushed his will to continue.

This is such an ambitious and inspiring project. Really sad to see it die like this. I sincerely hope this isn’t the end of the story for this add-on.

(Rashid Hafez) #1523

Hi Manuel,

Firstly I would like to thank you and express my appreciation for all the work you’ve done so far, it is incredible.

In summary: How do I bake the materials used for Cycles render, like the eye materials, so i can link them in an “.mtl” file to actual texture images without damaging the whole texture and the pre-made UV mapping of the model

I have a slight concern to do with exporting your models through an obj file on my own custom model loader I programmed in OpenGL, I’m using the Assimp library to do this. I’m just trying to understand one or two simple things about baking materials, but it’s doing my head in I’ve been reading documentation for a week now trying to get this to work.

After finalising the character, When exporting the character as an OBJ file, the .mtl file that comes with it does not contain paths for all the materials, i can link the skin material easily because of the “Human_body_derm.png” texture given. I’m under the impression that I need to create textures for the materials used.

The image below is the .mtl file

This image below is a current render of the model, as you can see, the eyes aren’t there and the skin is slightly see-through and in patches. In your experience would you reckon this a texture loading issue or something else?

(Daedalus_MDW) #1524

i foresaw this. the releases were too far apart and ambitious. in todays, world, you need to keep the initial energy with frequent updates.

version management would have been a tremendous help, and having a donation system day one. rapidly releasing bug fix versions while only updating features occasionally is the tried and true system.

(spiderbrigade) #1525

I just saw this myself, very bad news T_T
But Manuel I would urge you to seriously reconsider shutting everything down. Please consider that many, many people follow your lab primarily through this thread. Was the call for support posted here at all? Was it posted anywhere except for FB? Last I read was several people in this thread asking “how is your funding project going?” which to me suggests people wanting to help.

Needless to say you know your market research and funding needs better than any of us, but one week seems very fast to decide that no one is interested. Again, seriously entertain the idea that your reach through BlenderArtists may be much greater than FB/twitter.

(Big Fan) #1526

I am a little ambivalent myself. This project has been around for years and never really has produced something useful, as in the basics get reworked over and over, and yet I cant really generate a variety of finished characters I can use.
Why keep refining the mesh that was ‘ok’ when there are no/few costumes to apply. My main use for this tool would be quickly making characters to use for architectural illustration or such. The sales pitch of semi nude poses of Mr/Ms World aren’t really what I need from something like this…
Perhaps Manuel should undertake a survey of what people would actually want and concentrate on that first. Personally I have no need of anime or goblins and such, but then again I could be in a minority.

(revengineer) #1527

Yo! I just noticed that you’re cancelling the project due to lack of funding. That’s too bad – I think this is a great tool with heaps of potential. If you’re interested, there are a couple potential avenues for funding.

This might sound like a bit of a sales pitch, but if you check out STEEM ( – a social-media oriented blockchain) – you could likely get some funding out of it. You can pop over to and make an account for free to get started (it could take a week or three to get approved, as it’s a manual process currently and kinda slow – this is to prevent spammers and other abusers from making lots of accounts). This frontend (Steemit) is essentially a blogging site, but there is also UtopianIO ( – which is a compelling use case for rewarding contributions to open-source projects such as yours. Both of these sites run on the STEEM blockchain, and are linked to the same individual account you would create.

All posts and interactions on the blockchain get rewarded with STEEM cryptocurrency. Depending on where you live, it can be easily (or slightly less easily) converted to whatever currency you deal with. I’ve personally managed to get about $700~800 out of it towards my project of building a camper van.

It could be worth a look if you’re still pursuing funding.

Good luck and I wish you the best.


(NumesSanguis) #1528

O shit, thanks for linking. After your first sentence I thought you were joking. I always check this page for updates so I didn’t notice the FB post at all.

It seems that everything that needs to be said about how to set-up a successful fundraising campaign is already said on FB. @Manuel I was also waiting for another way of donating and I thought these models were just a 1st step. I personally don’t care about a 3D statue, but I’m amazed about the potential for Human-Computer Interaction.

Yesterday I’ve been promoting your work at a conference for virtual agents (IVA2018) with my FACSvatar project and people are very interested in using it for their research, since your models are of much higher quality than other freely available software. These research groups have budgets, but then you need to offer something that can actually be useful to them (I remember reading the clothes didn’t work with your proxy fitting algorithm?). Or, when there projects are starting to depend on your models, they’re willing to invest in your product. However, 1 update per 4 months to have some long standing bugs solved (example eye white in v1.6.1, solved in v1.6.1a Jan-May) is not what those kind of people are going to invest in. Especially those groups cannot even make a donation in 1 week, because of the bureaucracy that has to be overcome.
Maybe a good strategy is: Release major releases like you do now for free, but give (through Patreon) minor updates to solve bugs and other quality-of-life improvements and listen to their feedback.

Why haven’t you released your funding post together with your new male you’ve finished half a month ago? That would make impact

You’ve build something amazing. You’ve build up a huge community that has offered you many ways of helping (me in terms of coding). I know you want to work on this full time and that’s why you had such high expectancies for your funding. However, let the community inspire you if you do this for the community. Leverage their help through the way people want to help you. Learn about your community instead of offering something most of your community cannot even use (statues). You’ve got great free advice on FB, so it’s okay to accept that maybe you’ve spend way too much time in the wrong direction (tip: reduce feedback cycle) and start again leveraging what you’ve learned now. Your community is still there for you!

(OLG) #1529

Manuel, just wanted to wish you best of luck with whatever follows and a big thank you for all the hard work you put into this project.

(Daedalus_MDW) #1530

heres an idea… since modelling is the biggest expense, then sell the models.

heres what i mean. most of the time all that fancy modelling just gets covered up by clothes, so the average joe ends up deleting most the body. the “free” lab should have a more basic body, prioritizing arms and hands.

instead the focus should be on the face morphs, geometry, rigging, etc.

and for a small “donation”, one could upgrade to the ULTRA quality meshes, with every muscle and vein carved out. EDIT: or make them a patreon goal.

and please, for the love of all things good, make the BL UI scripts editable and retain CC output!!

(lolwel21) #1531

I am so bummed about this development!
The Lab has been my go-to for both character base meshes and characters, since it’s so high-quality.
I fully support the notion for you to reconsider shutting down, or at least posting on all of your venues (including this thread), then waiting another week if possible.

I’m sorry if this sounds unreasonable coming from us, but as a person who literally never uses Facebook, I frankly had no idea about the funding trouble.

Please consider re-initializing your funding campaign using all of your media outlets.
The feeling I’m getting from the community so far is that what I said goes for all of us.

(czerw) #1532

Such an incredible waste. But like some people have suggested, you may want to reconsider your funding strategies. (Not annoucing the fundraiser here?). I know that you’d probably rather focus on producing the lab than spending hours on marketing stuff, but that is unavoidable I am afraid. Regardles of your decision, thank you for your hard work.

(captainkirk) #1533

+1 for posting about it here. I had been checking this thread and the website for news and I had no idea about the fundraising. I was looking forward to the release and would be willing to contribute towards it and I’m sure many other people would be as well.

(bork) #1534

Great shame - I was under the impression that options for donating hadn’t even been announced yet - I only follow developments on this thread. Seems weird to ditch all your efforts after one week when so many people probably weren’t even aware of your request.

Having said that - appreciate all the work and good luck in the future.

(Safetyman) #1535

@Manuel I echo the thoughts here about the fundraising campaign – I don’t use Facebook much and I didn’t know about the trouble you were having with getting funds. I surely would have contributed. I’ve tried to tell everyone I could about your wonderful addon and I’m deeply saddened that you have decided to discontinue it. I was really looking forward to further updates. The Blender community has lost a valuable asset.

(Rashid Hafez) #1536

Wow, i can’t believe the project shut down. thanks for all your hard work previously, I’m sure this ad-on is still going to help many people

(burnin) #1537

IMO, a company, a team effort could make it work. As most of such solo projects are just doomed (all for the same reasons).

Anyways, stay great.

(batboy853) #1538

This is such a bummer. I don’t check the facebook page. Had I known that this would have been the ending I would have donated money, and I am currently 43k in student loan debt… I was really looking forward to the next release…

(HeadClot) #1539

I did not know that there was even a funding option for the lab.

(BTolputt) #1540

OK, as I’m going to give some opinion that is likely not going to be popular, I would like to first express the fact that I am quite grateful to Manuel for what he has done. Both back when this was “MakeHuman” and for his work on the Blender Addon this thread is about. It is a very useful tool being able to dial in the base proportions of a human figure instead of starting from scratch each time.

With this said, this is all you really get from the tool and has been for a while. From what I can see, the same base functionality is being refactored, rejigged, and redesigned since the first MakeHuman beta build I played with. Instead of moving forward and building on the foundation, Manuel has been remaking the foundations over and over… which doesn’t lend itself well to financial support.

If it were me and I was trying to make this into something people would support me on - I’d start building out from the foundation rather than rebuilding it again. I have a reasonable base mesh with a tonne of customisability. I don’t need to rebuild that, ti works and works well, what I need to do is add more to it.

Basically, what MBLabs is offering is a small subset of what DAZStudio & Poser do. One you can get for free, the other is (frankly) on it’s way out the door. Either way, they have a variety of figures already one can use, and it’s easy to import them, they have an ecosystem of support for textures, clothing, props, shaders, etc. And that works because they aren’t replacing the foundation meshes all the time. Settle on the base mesh, start building tools to make it easy for folks to add their own clothing/props/morphs to that base mesh (and share them), and you’d have a free & open-source competitor to DAZ, Renderosity, etc. However, if you keep reinventing the wheel, don’t be surprised when people move onto those that put four wheels together and an engine. Your wheel might be perfect, but people are going to gravitate to the imperfect wheels that go places.

However, ignoring all of that, I think it unwise for a single person on a niche project to so casually reject other means of funding. Patreon is, like it or not, the “kickstarter of patronage”. Yes, it takes a cut, but it has launched/sustained the careers of thousands of individuals who otherwise would not have the capability to do their thing. I think if Manuel actually wants to be the single coder doing his thing for the public, it deserves a look.

FWIW, I have never followed Manuel’s facebook, twitter, etc primarily because his releases were so few and far between. I didn’t know there was a funding request until all the hullaballoo here about it being cancelled and not enough.

(HeadClot) #1541

I would support Manuel on patreon :slight_smile: