Newbie question: How to make muscle bulges?

Hi everybody.
I just started using Blender a couple of days ago.
Actually I’ve had a few run-ins with it before this but they were all pretty brief :stuck_out_tongue: I wasn’t up to learning Blender then.
But now that I’ve used it for a couple of days, I feel that it’s actually pretty nice :slight_smile:

Well, enough intro.

I’ve made a couple of models in Wings3d and would like to animate them with Blender. I’ve learned how to set up armatures and how to skin my model. However, I couldn’t find much about muscle bulges. None that I could understand, anyway… In any case, all indications were that this feature isn’t directly supported yet…

So could anyone please teach me how to make muscle bulges or point me to a tutorial?
Please remember that I am a newbie and do not know the terms and advanced stuff. (I don’t even know how to model in Blender)

Thanks :slight_smile:

use armatures to make muscles bulge.

sorry don’t remember where I saw that.

How to make muscle bulges is really easy, just model them… :smiley:

But I think that’s not what you are asking (please correct me if I’m wrong…)!!! I think you are actually asking how to animate the movements of the muscles while your model is moving…

If that’s the case, first of all, such a thing is rather difficult, but it could be done by using RVK’s I think, but with a lot of hard work…

Here’s a nice tutorial about them:

There’s also a nice Python script that allows you to have more control over RVK’s:

I hope this helps you…


Making muscles bulge is easy in Blender. Use vertex morphing to do it if all else fails. Vertex morphing and keying rocks.

Wow thanks for the links Spyros :):slight_smile:

But is there a way to, er, “link” the IPO curve to the bone rotation? So that I can just rotate the bones and get the muscle bulges automatically?

Create a vertex group for the part of the arm that bulges. Stick a tiny bone inside the biceps area, name it after the muscle’s vertex group, and then put a copy rotation constraint on it, targeted at the forearm bone. Tune down the influence of the constraint to about 25%-30%, so the muscle bone won’t rotate too far. This .blend file could use some polishing, but it should demonstrate the concept well enough.

-Daniel Huddleston

Well, that’s an interesting question…

I am not sure, since I haven’t tried yet to do such a thing, so I am not sure how these things work…

My opinion is (unless someone with a better knowledge, corrects me…) that there isn’t a way to link the RVK’s IPO’s with the bone’s IPO’s directly through Blender… You have to edit the IPO’s manually…

And even if it was possible, you would still have unexpected effects, so you would eventually have to edit the IPO’s manually to correct them…

However, I think that such a thing would be possible with some short of a Python script…


Correction to my previous post:

There is a way to “automate” (short of…) the movements of the muscle bulges with the various movements of the bones…

Take a look at:

It’s from the same site that had the rvk pozer script I told you about, in a previous reply…

It’s the IPO edit Python script… according to the site: “It is now possible to create an animation library, of complex motions. Save, reuse, adjust length, and reassemble your animations rapidly, any way you want!!”

The key concept behind this is, that you have to do the “hard work” only once!!! Then you can create some short of library for your purposes and reuse it any time you need it…


p.s.: Danniel Hudd: Your solution seems interesting… I’m looking forward for that tutorial of your’s… :smiley:

O.k. 3rd post on your thread for today…

I hope this helps you a bit more…

It’s about a similar (if not identical…) to Danniel Hudd’s solution.

See this post:

Although it doesn’t explain much (the guy said he’s going to write a tut, soon…) But I think the pictures are speaking for themselves…

I hope it’s all you need to get you started with…


I’ve posted my tutorial for this at:

I knew I’d better do it right away, or it would never get done. Hope this helps.


Great! Thanks for the replies :slight_smile:

Daniel Hudd, your tutorial was very helpful :slight_smile: Thanks :slight_smile:

Spyros, I’ll have a look into that plugin soon. :slight_smile:

One last question: How do I mirror an armature? The mirrored armature has to already be skinned to the other half of my (symmetrical) model.

Thanks again.

To mirror your armature, select it and hit TAB to go into edit mode. Once there, select one of the bones in the center of the armature (the chest or the stomach bone, for example). Do a SHIFT+S, and select the
“Cursor to Selection” option. This puts the 3D cursor on the bone. Now select the icon at the bottom of your window pane that looks like a little target scope. This makes the 3D cursor the axis that is used when selected objects in the pane are rotated. Now unselect all bones in the center of the figure, and then select only the ones to be mirrored. Once they’re selected, hit SHIFT+D to duplicate them. Hit ENTER to drop the new bones, then hit S (for scale), and finally X to scale them around the x-axis. The mirroring should take place then. If they don’t go where you expect, try the Y or Z axes.

The same principles are also used for mirroring meshes.

Edit: As for pre-skinning, no can do. But be sure to name symmetrical bones (and hence, symmetrical weight groups) with either a “.r” or a “.l” at the end (for left and right). If you do this, you can flip poses during animation.

Lovely. It worked :slight_smile:

Thanks :slight_smile: