My next generation virtual actor (humble beginnings)

Last year, I made the fifth version (counting roughly) of my 100% digital actor, for use in a fake trailer for a scifi-horror film. I am now moving ahead on the designs for a full movie project, and the base actor will be overhauled to create the sixth version. Everything starts out small. This is the humble beginnings of Version 6. I will use this thread as a development log.

This base is to assert basic proportions. Rigging will be added for this Gumby draft, and I will slowly shape things around it. Stay tuned!


Just the first basic bones added, all above the belt. Still very basic, but I like to get everything documented from early on…

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Trying something new. I’m doing a mock-up of major muscles, to ‘assemble’ a better rig, with flexibility and detail. It’s laughably crude now, but it seems it might make it more plausible for me to get it working somewhere along the way… Right now, just a weird pose, made weirder by the floating ‘muscles’ and lack of overall skin…


Hey, I enjoyed following your progress last time!

What’s the goal with this character model? Where do you want it to be, and are you still planning to do iterative improvements?

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Iterative improvements are definitively my thing!!

The last version (V5) actually looked pretty good, but topology was a mess, and rigging greatly suffered for it. This version (V6) needs to push visual even farther, but most of all the mesh and armature must be way more efficient. I also hope to add more detailed controls to the face and certain minor pieces. If possible / practical, I would even like some bones for changing appearance, for creating new, different characters faster!

Ideas are welcome, though. I may be neglecting useful features from lack of imagination :slight_smile:

Got some work done on the back muscles. Not sure if I feel more like some fitness nut or a mad surgeon at this point!

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Soooo… it looks like a complete mess, but everything is actually working kinda right. It’s just that it’s pretty hard to show. But this is what it looks like with some major neck muscles and jaw:

Added biceps and bone forearm. Gotta stop for today. Hope to do more head or arm work tomorrow, maybe.

The triceps are problematic, but they seem to roughly work. I’ve also found a way to streamline the pose testing a bit, so expect certain poses to repeat in the future!

Yeah, I watched wrestling as a kid. Why?

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Got some forearms and wrists working. Muscles are crude enough to make it look rather messy, but it seems… applicable. Clean up definitely required. Also, the clever idea for rehashing poses flopped, so back to ye ol’ poselibs we go!

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Baby’s got back! Got the gluteus maximus, i.e. BUTT, muscle working. It went far quicker than on any other version of thecharacter, which worries me a bit, but for now, it seems okay:

It feels weird to slooowly peel away the old skin to attach new mucles. Feels icky, like a digital horror villain. But the muscles seem to work, so well in fact that I am getting a bit worried that I’ve overlooked something…
On a different note, if anyone wants to suggest poses I should add to the roster to test out this new build that I, just for fun, call MARV6 (Muscle Approximated Rig Version 6), let me know! Yeah, I’ve been doing this stuff for waaay too long at this point!

Got me some more thigh, got me some abdomen, it’s nice, y’know, it ain’t bad…

Tried out a few other poses before shutting down for the night. Seems to work okay, but I do spot several limitations that will need to wait till version 7 to be adressed!

This is an interesting idea. How do you plan on using this the drive the character model?

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V5 looked good but was a messy mesh (say that ten times fast…). I am building it up muscle by muscle (NOT anatomicaally correct, btw) to have better control over weights and bone parenting. When all muscles look acceptable, I will “sew” them together, Frankenstyle, and remove inside vertices. The acceptable weights and controls SHOULD carry over almost directly, leaving a much better animated rig behind.

Not sure if that made sense to anyone but me?

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Holy… living… breathing… Hell… the human knee is a complex thing!! It has nearly broken my brain to make that darn thing work. I’m not 128% satisfied with the results, but they’ll do until I can get that Doctorate degree in Physical Anatomy, because daaayuuuum…

Did some legwork today. Meaning I did some work on the shins. I don’t go to the gym. It’s a philosophical thing…
Weird to think I’ll be deleting the last bits of the old skin soon. Once the feet are done, it’ll be hands and face soon after…

Sweet dreams…


I improved the skull shape a bit and added… lips. Yeah, facial animation will be simple and of limited quality in this version, mainly test work. I will focus on the body. But there will be lips. Oh yes, there will be lips…

On a note, I am slowing work on the actor because I am ramping up work on the actual movie stuff. That stuff is still too experimental to post, but I hope to have the first, crude stuff up in another thread soon. More info will come…


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