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Add-on: Blender Muscle System


Coloremblem's new muscle system is a very promising addition to character animation.

Hey people I am glad that you re visiting. For a long time I have complained to Blender that it has no muscle simulator. So I made it by myself and create a new and simple muscle simulator for the skinning to a more exciting to make task even once.

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a muscular system in Blender namely with a tool I developed. So I ran to create a new and simple muscle simulator such as in Autodesk Maya, 3Ds Max, or Cinema 4d for the skinning to a more exciting to make task even simplier.

I hope you enjoy it.

About the 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. I remember seeing a muscle simulator on one of the GSOC proposals and was disappointed it didn't make it past an idea. but this looks really useful and promising. I remember one of my rig's had terrible deformation (the preserve volume function helps but introduces its own flaws). this will be a great addition to blender's already powerful animation tools. along with BEPUik inverse kinematics, this would greatly improve character animation.

  2. I'm sorry, but this look's too complicated. Setup will take forever with painting vertex groups and all.. and these muscles still can't wobble and react physically with motion.. And what about more than one layer of muscles? I think this can be achieved with corrective shapekeys also.. Or I don't understand something here? Please correct me.

    • well you are right there, the addon does need to have some way of automating those tedious processes such as adding an additional set of muscles to the scene, and setting up the shrink-wrap modifier and basic weights. I guess if you want to correct some of the noticeable deformation problems and you get used to the process of rigging (you could just apply a proximity weight edit modifier for the muscle's Vertex Groups) it's not as bad as setting this kind of system manually, just don't try to rig all 700 muscles. if you where to expand the rig with in the base muscle group you could achieve some jiggling motion. but you might be better off using Shapekeys if you want more manual control over deformations. (I noticed its not much of an addon than it is a link-append library with drivers)

    • Yep, you right. It's kinda common problem of the most addons writen by enthusiasts - lack of usability. A number of steps to perform before getting quite average results making the whole thing not simply not worth it. As a rigger i just want to name my bones properly and then hit one single button to generate and bind whole muscle system, and as a programmer i know, that it actually can be performed in blender.

      • As a non enthusiast developer I can tell that it takes time to achieve good usability in software. It mostly requires feedback from users once a prototype is in place and a number of developers. Think of Blender itself.

        • just a Blender enthusiast I am very thankful for this effort as it shows the Interest in such a feature. At least a discussion is started and it shows a proof of concept with already built-in blender features. I was once thinking of a kinda Metaball-muscle sim as the behaviour of Metaballs do form some kind of see, I am just an enthusiast...

          Thank you, Coloremblem

  3. While I would agree that it looks easier to use shape keys, especially if you are good with them already, a wise person once said 'The add-on of a thousand features begins with a single line of code'. This may well go far.
    Thank you for your work on it.

  4. Hey, I created the beginnings of muscle rigging system for Blender for a class project at my university. I've created a patch to the blender codebase along with a description of the data structures and algorithm:

    The blender codebase is a giant mess, and I know it's gonna take a lot of work to get muscle rigging up and running 100%. If anyone is interested in pushing this feature to completion, let me know so I can share my ideas with you.

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