MakeHuman is the 'free (GPL), innovative and professional software for the modelling of 3-Dimensional characters'. It exports in Collada and .obj files, so it plays nicely with Blender. After more than a year, the team has released a major update. Please keep in mind it's still a Release Candidate, so some features such as characters, poses and icons are still incomplete.
Here's an overview of the most important changes:
Tetra-parametric GUI Â©
The tetrawidget allows quick and accurate modeling. After a long and careful ergonomic study, combined with analysis of anthropological characteristics, we have developed an interface with just 4 buttons with which 90% of the characteristics of the human body can be modeled. What's more the tetrawidget is "intelligent". If, for example, a female figure is being modeled, as defined by the first widget, then when the weight is increased with the second widget, the fat is accumulated in those areas typical of a woman. The same is also true in the case of weight decrease and ageing, as well as all the other physical characteristics that change differently for a man, woman or child.
Natural Pose System Â©
A Pose system based on state-of-the-art technology for muscular movement simulation. Natural Pose system allows the accurate simulation of movements of the skin, muscles and tendons. We use database based algorithms, in order to improve results as stored information is accumulated. In any event already the current simulation allows the creation of very realistic poses.
A light and professional mesh optimized for subdivision. The Mesh topology was accurately studied, taking into account the opinions of world experts (read more), so as to be light, with a low number of nodes and triangles, and with all the necessary edges to generate animation in the correct pose.
Professional and photorealistic rendering on the basis of the Renderman standard. MH exports the scenes in rib format and uses some Renderman compatible shaders. For rendering, any engine can be used that supports the Renderman language. Aqsis is the MH official supported software, a good OSS tool, free download from www.aqsis.org. Installation of Aqsis is required to make images directly with MH.
MH0.9.1 exports in collada or obj format. Export in collada format allows a skeleton structure perfectly adapted to character to be obtained automatically. At the moment the vertex linking must be done by users, but for the version 0.9.2 full support for all features will be provided.