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Scientific muscle and skin simulation


Cicero Moraes shares the result of his muscle and skin simulation work. You may recall his previous posts about his forensic reconstruction projects with Blender.

Cicero writes:

Anatomy and Biomechanics applied in an open-source software environment (Blender). In this video, we demonstrate that it is possible to model muscles and skin from a bony framework, based on anatomic parameters. Biomechanical parameters are attributed to these virtual objects in order to obtain an adequate articulation between arm and forearm. Potential applications for this technique may vary from forensic to biomedical contexts, in planning and developing prosthetics.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. If we are talking about anatomy, it must be said that, from the point of view of the bones, it is ok, but regard to the muscles of the arm are very out of the way. This because the starting point is totally inaccurate. So, before calling it "scientific"...

    • I agree. I mean, seriously, the arm looks like it belongs to the Heavy from TF2. It is so absolutely exaggerated that anything based around this would most likely not require complex muscle detail. Sorry, but you must have a decent structure before you can accomplish anything. Other than that, I hope this project grows into fruition. It can potentially be a great boon to realistic animations.

      • Hi Darksunrise957. The arm looks like a test #2. It's is exaggerated because the problems have to be solved one by one. The test #1 is horrible, this is little better, and the next... well, I don't know, the science is this way (like I said, is made more with act than with words). A big hug!

    • Hi Guido! I guess you know read. Even the original text is wrote in Portuguese "teste" means test... and this the test #2. I used anatomy books to model the muscles, but, like you know (I think you are a 3D artist) to model is harder than speak. A big hug!

      • What I've read is this:

        "In this video, we demonstrate that it is possible to model muscles and skin from a bony framework, based on anatomic parameters. Biomechanical parameters are attributed to these virtual objects in order to obtain anadequate articulation between arm and forearm."

        In order to achieve the results you have set, firstly you should be very familiar with human anatomy. If you're not so good at modeling, it doesn't matter, you can always ask someone to do it for you. But you can not disregard the anatomy, because it is precisely what we are talking here. Knowing how to accept criticism would be a good starting point ...

    • Jonathan Merritt on

      Well, for the record, the bones aren't OK either. There are big holes in the scapular fossae, which the human scapula doesn't have, and some missing phalanges.

      It's a good video showing progress in a particular direction though, and we can all understand that the structures may be stand-ins for now. You definitely wouldn't use it to teach anatomy! :-)

  2. Good to see that blender can do muscles as well. I've been seeing a lot of maya and 3ds max muscle rigs in hollywood vfx, good to know that blender can do that too.

    • Hi Keen! It is only an attempt to make something. In the future, maybe this can be converted in a addon, or a template file to make muscles of men and other animals, mainly extincted animals. A big hug!

  3. Wilson Oliveira on

    Cogitas3D man, congratulations!! These guys are not really understanding what you are doing! Very nice job, man!

    Parabéns mesmo! Estamos aprendendo muito contigo!!!

  4. You could try a tetrahedron mesh like Weta uses, basically a mesh with another offset mesh with variable thickness based on a weight map. You would build a mesh on the bone itself, then offset it along normals based on weight (or even do multiple offsets for thicker muscles), those normal offsets could also act as springs; it's basically a solidify modifier that has different thickness values for each vertex.

    After that, it's a simple job of adding things like skin sliding, fat layers, jiggle, etc. If you add a "torque" sensor to bone joints as well as mass variables to the bones themselves, now you've got a system that can not only drive the softness of the bones but you can bake out animations to control the stiffness of the contractions. It'll look much more realistic when a muscle's contraction depends on the amount of force it has to exert based on the animation, and it allows for proper deformation of the skin.

    I don't know if that's exactly how they do it, but my guess is that's how it could be done, YMMV.

  5. Hi Cicero,

    I am currently trying to find an open source armature that re-creates the biomechanic principles within Blender.
    I tried to do it by myslef, but it is a tough work.

    Did you by chance find one or deepened the subject?



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