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ManuelBastioniLAB Character Editor Shuts Down


In a surprise move, the popular ManuelBastioniLAB project has been discontinued. After a failed attempt to raise some funds (which surprisingly wasn't shared on social media, Blender Artists or here), Manuel reached the conclusion that he needs to move on.

Manuel wrote:

I’m sorry, I did my best, but I cannot continue the development of the lab. I will use Blender as artist, since Blender and its community are part of my life.

And also:

I realized that the lab community size is not enough to support a so expensive project.

Many fans are sad to see this project go, but we should be thankful for the many years that Manuel invested. Perhaps someone else can carry the torch instead?

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. Considering how the blender community treats those who ask for funding, I'm surprised more projects have not shut their lights down yet

    • sigh, true.
      Blender community has the best of the lotfor free, to contribute a small amount adds up and gives us more to create on par with the so called big dogs

      • I've said it before, blender's main issue for industrial adoption is not the UI or software integration, a year and a few devs will fix most of that, it is the toxic part of the BA community, on one hand it has some very helpful people that will move mountains to get someone started, and on the other side of things it has some people that read like they are the protagonist of some B-rated slasher/stalker horror movie.

    • I think the Blender community as a whole does pretty well with funding projects the are success stories out there but the has to be a great deal of outreach from the side of the creator. And this I think is often done pretty poorly.

      I don't use ManualBastioniLAB but I saw the thread about the crowd funding campaign on BA and a lot of the people who use the add-on didn't even know that there was funding campaign going on. They literally found out too late.

      If you are running a crowd funding campaign you need to continuously remind your supporters that you are doing so, through BA, twitter, facebook, youtube, e-mails etc.

      I often listen to a comic book podcasts and the creators of that podcast often run kickstarters. Those guys said on average the needed to make sure their fans saw about seven prompts before the donated.

    • Yes, there are people who shoots unnecessary negative and unhelpful responses to blender users who asks funding for a project related to blender. But, this issue should not be taken as an accurate representation of the entire blender community.

  2. Rombout Versluijs on

    Why not try this again and see how much funding could be reached. Perhaps it can trigger something with Bastion. He did ty the knot of course, but perhaps it can help him and reach a goal he was hoping for.

    I find that he had to give it more time to get funding. Perhaps he didnt used the proper channels as well. I do find it quite a short, why just 7 days period to get funding???

    • I did offer that to Manuel as I felt that not sharing this with BlenderNation was a mistake, but he made it clear that he's not interested to try again.

      • Rogério Perdiz on

        That feels like a huge mistake not to try again... There is no shame in try again...

        Manuel you need to see Rocky Balboa (2006) man! :) He explain this wining thing much better than I ever could in that movie.

        This is one of the best free tools available for any software, I use it for traditional drawings references, for sculpting bases, for low-poly characters.

        A pause is cool, everyone needs some time to think things over... sometimes things work out in ways that we never expected them to work :)
        Not wanting to continue is also cool. No one is forced to make something forever if one doesn't want too anymore.

        But saying that the fact that no one cares (and other peculiar things) I've read on the last message, are the reason to stop... is not true :) Everyone knows you for this add-on. This was just too fast!

        • Prateev Bardhan on

          absolutely and i think he needs to try it again i still following the facebook page and commented many times about the thing that are possible to do but there is no response from him not even a single comment

      • Michael Holmes on

        Why not have him turn it over to someone that would continue it, like game engine, or others, keep it alive !
        p.s I literally just started using blender and only a month ago found MB labs
        I have already made clothing for them

  3. Whoa. That's some bad news, and before it was ported to 2.8 as well. I wondered how he could do all that work by himself and with people asking for a donation method which was slow in coming. I think a lot of folks would have thrown their money or skills at it if they'd been notified.

    Thanks for the good try though.

  4. Hey there, the MakeHuman project is doing a patreon campaign - so I hope they will find the support needed to continue those important projects.

    So far I am one of two patrons supporting them, hope there will be many more to avoid them sharing the same fate!

    • With the hostility that the blender community has for people asking for funding...I can kinda understand why he would not.

      • Sorry, but this is complete nonsense!
        Whispering for support, knowing that nobody will hear you...
        And then complaining that nobody helped you...

        • I'm sorry that it seems to be nonsense to you, maybe I misunderstood people on blender artists when they recently bagged on Bart for suggesting that maybe people could donate to BA to help offset the cost of keeping it going, or mayhaps I misunderstood people expressing outrage as they encountered the unworking features in 2.8 daily builds and expressing concernes as if they were personally attacked.

          I keep in mind that this is the community that sent me child porn when I expressed an opinion about eyeball and his dicks for kiddy wallpaper nursery thing he did.

          And people fucking wonder why someone is skittish to ask this community for help, and actually that is a good question as I've seen many people indicate that it is nonsense and don't make sense, this is a good chance for an empathy exercise, go take a look through some feeds and see if you figure out why someone may be skittish to ask this community for help.

          • "....this is the community that sent me child ****" was it a group of people or an individual who sent that to you?

            It will be unfair to judge the entire blender community (probably millions of people) solely based on what these perverts did.

            ''With the hostility that the blender community has for people asking for funding..."

            Yes, sometimes a GROUP of people will post harsh comments in response to some people who asks for a blender related project funding.

            It is probably because, they believe that they cannot treat the person who post the request of the funding seriously, as the person might not have any "proof of concept" available to convince them it is a practical and tangible workable idea.

            Regardless, once again I say to you, a group of people, unless they are the majority, shouldn't be seen as representatives for the entire blender community. That will be an unfair judgment to countless of people who truly have played a part in shaping positive differences in the blender community.

            I have personally witnessed some blender artists who are kind enough to support the art I do, and encourage who I am as an artist, as well as a person.

          • Sorry, but the moment I get kiddy porn sent to any account someone can dox in relation to my disapproval of the same thing in a post on BA and a mod defends well (that whole artistic freedom thing), that is the moment I judge it as the community as a whole, I could have went to jail over that shit.

            And yes there are some wonderful artists in that community, but unfortunately they don't really clean house there, so yeah I can't begrudge anyone for being skittish about asking that community for help. Maybe someone is in a way where they just don't want to put up with that.

  5. It is a shame. People have been asking to donate to Manuel for years. He finally offered a way to give money, but it was via buying pre-made clothing and hair assets for the lab. Which were good, but not useful to people working in different styles or workflow. And then this was not announced widely, so hardly anybody knew. He needed a Patreon, and it needed to be circulated more widely and given time for people to find out.

  6. This is a product which is well known by the community and IMO future improvements should be sold at Blender Market. Or, if he had a patreon page instead, I would DEFINITELY put in five bucks a month, and I'm sure many would donate. It's always exciting to see news about the LAB!! (except this news of course)

  7. Ideas are fragile stuff and this is a timely reminder that support is definitely an issue for many developers whom choose to tread the path of going it alone as they swim against the current tide of conventional wisdom. Had the wider community known this was the sentiment of frustration being felt for all the stellar work that has been done by Manuel on his addon - I think more would have reacted in kind - with solid meaningful support.

    Time to speak out - if developers are struggling on complex projects with the 'sentiment' they need to voice their frustrations earlier and provide a wider channel for people to connect. If people don't know , they cannot react on common shared ground, when maybe they would, in a very positive manner.

    The realization is that fragile ideas cannot migrate to become strong and prosper, without regular commitment BUT please do not stay silent or isolated from ones audience when making a rapid decision of this magnitude. You owe it to yourself and your project's effort to revisit your vision of what might be - chart a new path - yes. However next time cross over on more fronts so people can buy into your vision - you may be surprised at how much goodwill there is out there to see others succeed in their endeavors if we knew what they were, and when crucial decision deadlines were in play. People online have many communication touch points, you need to reach out to those traffic channels so you do not isolate a project within a forest of a billion clickable web startups.

    I wish Manuel good luck for the future - and take solace in knowing 'we good people' continue to still be out here' you just need to find us & connect with us in a way where the 'raw' & meaningful stuff comes out front + center. If you don't ask , (or ask in manner that people cannot find common 'shared' ground that is mutually beneficial ... yes ... that is a constraint ) - we cannot give.

    Give us a chance.

  8. I can't help but feel very angry a disappointed about this.

    Perhaps before he leaves we can extract some info about how he was approaching the development and where he was wanting to take it and more. Maybe A one hour interview and we can get it translated into other languages.

    This is such a massive shame and a very childish way of leaving the development. it would be great to see more developers take proper responsibility over of what they can create a learn to communicate to keep the fires burning.

    I loved this development and if I had known about it I would have supported it. Really disappointed the developer poor behavior. How are we to trust this development know if this was a marketing stunt.

    Maybe its time that we learn to grow up a lot from this foolish mess of events and try to put best practices in place

    • Rombout Versluijs on

      Wow bro, your kinda reaction harsh here don't you think. He has any right do what he wants. He has no obligation to anyone.

      I really don't understand why you think this is childish. You probably don't understand him and how much commitment it takes to do developing. Than especially if it's for free.

      These kind of reactions won't really help.

    • That's a bit unreasonable, how can it be childish or a stunt to make such an epic decision with ones LIFE and their available time - it is simply a person whom has decided to make a decision and inform you of that decision ? Get over it.

      Your comment and 'ANGER' comes across as immature and the very thing that any developer might say it typical of the community 'negativity' that goes on publicly as it lurches it's hand out online in bizarre ways- this is a classic example of what is so poor with sentiment. Shame is that you would think it some marketing stunt. Incredulous in your suspicions. Yuck.

      If you loved the development and are now 'personally' disappointed try some empathy - dip into that rear pocket for a moment and think how Manuel must have felt prior to making the decision. I would think that might put you on the backfoot for a moment - and to 'think' about how a 'best practice' might not include a cringing idea too serve up a video postmortem under the guise of bleeding a developer dry ... as a last act. Crikey get a heart.

      Developers do stop - that is life and yes it can be personally inconvenient. Be happy he has moved on and that he no longer needs to deal with sentiment like yours.

  9. I would never want to judge Manuel for having made the decision he's made and having the feelings he does, however, I'll offer some advice based on our own (unsuccessful) attempt at crowdfunding in the blender community.

    By the way the full story is available via an article right here on BN (

    Our insights into not reaching our target? We didn't reach enough people, period.

    If you like to know the fine details read the article, if you prefer just the summary, I'll try to succinctly lay it down here.

    Reach, how many people you're message, campaign, whatever gets to, is pretty much the number one factor in success or failure at crowdfunding. We didn't get the word out to enough people, it was the most significant factor in our failure by orders of magnitude above all else.

    Also, we did our best to do as much as possible to maximise our reach, given our budget. We ran articles on BN (thank you Bart ;) ), we cross promoted with CG Geek (thank you Steve L ;) ) and Blend Tuts (thank you Oliver V ;) ). We ran a lot of stuff on facebook, twitter, our youtube channel.

    We got donations, and they were quite high on average, about $50 :D, so the community that turned up, their actions spoke of generosity and belief in our project. But sadly we fell short of our target by a long way. When we crunched the numbers, we reckoned we needed about 50 times more people on our lead list (e-mails) than we had when we started. So many people just tuned out, for whatever reason, before they got to the donation page.

    In summary then, even with a lot of promotion (including running ads and feature articles on BN), we still missed the mark by a long way. So when I hear of Manuel's case, and I feel for him, really I do, so much effort went into that project, all I can say is that without knowing more detail, I'd have to say the issue wasn't with the community at all, its was probably just not having enough people know about the campaign to reach the targets.

    Incidentally, we're still going with our project. If anyone is interested, you can check us out, just google crowdrender or I think our URL appears on this post somehow?

    And Manuel, if you read this, you have my compassion mate, Crowdfunding is a brave thing to attempt and dealing with the downside in these cases isn't easy, I hope that you will stay a part of the community and that perhaps one day you can again bless us with your talents :)

  10. Just wanted to say I would donate $50, to Manual Bastionlab. I just started teaching blender at the university of alaska Fairbanks and was bragging about this add-on a few weeks ago. Some students seem to love it, too.

    Hope it can live on into 2.8

  11. For someone who has given serious thought about donating at least $500USD, being blamed among others who didn't do anything wrong in this, for taking what he has done for granted simply because there wasn't enough time to even be aware and react to it, I find that hurtful, ouch.

    Having made a decision to quit a project is fine, but pointing fingers at others who did nothing wrong, when things don't go their way unreasonably, that has gone too far.

  12. What about if a group of developers assume the project? It happened with Sigil (ebook editor) which was created by one only guy and when he needed to leave the project, it was assumed by a group.

  13. I hope people here can recognise the fact that this project was shut down, not because of how toxic, selfish and ungrateful people in the blender community is. Rather, it was shut down primarily due to the point of view of the founder of Manuel lab.

    Probably from his point of view, the lack of responses within the 7 days absolutely meant that people in the blender community aren't bothered or feel inclined to support him. Regardless, this couldn't be any further from the truth.

    If he had made it clear that the fund raising campaign is open and available for more than 7 days, but limited to a reasonable period of time (maybe 3 months), I'm quite sure that the outcome would have been different.

    It wouldn't be fair to attribute the failure of this project to "people who didn't donate".

    It seems impossible that within 7 days, those who are interested in supporting the project would be aware of the fundraising in the first place.

    I know truly and personally that there's a young person out there, who is truly a hard core fan of this project, who worked extra hours on a side job, who put the time and effort just to earn "enough" so that he could donate to the project but was disappointed to only find out that the fundraising was closed before he even had the opportunity to donate anything.

    Regardless of whatever that has happened now, I believe that maybe someone new would step in and fufil the heavy responsibilities, commitment and passion of creating a similar "character creator" program for blender.

  14. With all respect for the great great work of Manuel Bastioni, I have to agree with you.
    Bastioni worked in the MakeHuman team, and leave that project to create his own, the current Lab. Now he leaves his own work. Ok, It's his decision, and we should not contest. But the Lab must continuos!!

      • I will answer with my opinion, but I'm totally open to hear others about this situation.
        First we must to remember that Blender developers are in a crucial moment where they are overloaded with the cyclopic work of bring Blender 2.8 to life. So, any decision will be converted on action only after this important event. So,

        item 1) Blender Foundation should ask Manuel Bastioni if his decision is final and irrevocable or he accept help from the Blender community (donations and developers help) AFTER Blender 2.8 Beta come out.

        item 2) One important point here is that we are talking of a personal project, which carries the name of his "owner". So, we should ask Manuel Bastioni if he agree on convert Lab to part of Blender itself, like Grease Pencil, Cycles, VSE.
        No matter if the answer to this question is yes or no, Blender community can help, of course. But would be much better if the answer is yes.

        What are your thoughts on these points?

        • from the FAQ

          Characters matter requires a more complex license than the standard Blender output.
          The lab is expensive in terms of package size. With the completion of texture editor, it will require more textures and perhaps it will gradually reach 100 MB
          The lab is released more frequently than Blender, and an integrated version can be quickly obsolete, creating confusion.

        • Rombout Versluijs on

          @Roberto Locatelli,

          sorry but Blender Foundation has nothing todo with this addon and probably wont do anything about it. They dont have time and power and i guess will to keep all addons going if the org devs quite or stop their own development. Thats insane task to do and impossible.

  15. As harsh as it sounds, I hope Bastioni is not the "miner who gives up" I still hope that one day, he realizes the value and worth of his project.

  16. This sounds as much as forcefully running a project against a wall as i've never heard of before.
    I've seen Projects running for support and failing, but this anti-marketing campaign seems most exclusive designed to warrant its failure.

    Manuel Bastioni seems to be both a great Artist and a great software developer, but to say he's poor at comunication and marketing seems an understatement.

    Manuel wrote:
    "I’m sorry, I did my best, but I cannot continue the development of the lab."

    No, Manuel, you didn't
    You did the best in your effforts to develop the Lab, which was a really great work, so thank You for all of that. I really loved it and checked the website frequently.
    Since updates frequency has dropped , i recently checked every some weeks. So not having a chance to even see an anouncement on your Site is related to the fact thyt you choosed to call for support in a time where not much was going on on the Site.

    So, you did really great work in building the Lab, but the horribly worst in marketing it.
    You did anything possible one can do to prohibit people from even recognizing that there is a way to give you money, or even to sugest that you where asking for donations.

    You even denied people in helping out, as Bart reported.
    So in the first place, i suggest you have no right to blame the abandoning of your lab to anyone than to yourself.

    Which is a shame, as the project was a really great one, and your skills as an Artist and a coder are undeniable.

    Sorry to say it that harsh, but i need to.

    You really Really REALLY should give it another try, and maybe allow people to help out in marketing it, as marketing obviously isn't something you are any good in.

    • I believe you are speaking the truth that needs to be heard, even if it sounds harsh. Yes, he really did denied people in helping out.

  17. Speaking of harsh and needed truths, anyone wanting to 'help out / preserve / improve' etc this or any open source project can:

    1) learn the codebase and do so directly.
    2) pool funds with the many (apparently) like minded folks to entice a dev, maybe even Manuel himself, to further develop the lab.
    3) work on old personally uninteresting projects according the whims of internet strangers (in solidarity with Manuel should he acquiesce).
    4) work with what they've been given so far.

    • I really don't mind the 2nd option, once a fundraising campaign has been set up. The code base is really complex and I really do not have the skill, passion and talent, so I am not up for the challenge.

      So, I would really want to contribute via donations. But the question is: ''Who is already well established and trusted among the blender community to set up a fund raising campaign for this''?

  18. I think manuel bastioni need ads / marketing in instagram, twitter, facebook, youtube, donation websites. You can put ads / other ads / google ads on your web for get money too. Make more 3D news so people can look your websites. I hope your websites grow up and get more funds. Thank you.

  19. #makehuman has collected 17$/month on patreon.
    Its not "Manuel choosed wrong marketing channels". Its "i want it for free" attitude... Saddly.

    • But keep in mind that make human is a VERY DIFFERENT software as Manuel Labs. You can't simply assume that people have the "I want it free attitude". How much do you know about Manuel labs'supporters personally in the first place?

      Frankly speaking, I don't feel inclined to donate to Makehuman because I prefer Manuel Labs much more even though the creator of Manuel Labs worked on makehuman before.

    • I went to Make Human Patreon page. There's nothing there. There's no reason to believe the Make Human developers even set the page up. Who knows where that money may end up? Marketing requires actual marketing. There's a reason some companies can do big business selling a "Pet Rock" (look it up youngsters), and others struggle to sell the most amazing plugin Blender has ever seen. Not fair but very consistent.

  20. I still don't understand why he chose to stop the project entirely in the first place? If he had made it clear, that he needed a minimum of XX amount within a reasonable period of time, and if he had also sounded confident that the project will evolve into something much bigger, I believe the outcome would have been different :(

    Anyway, enough of my rant. It's time to move on. Though this project will be most likely buried and forgotten, hopefully, even as a ordinary simple man who uses blender and manuel labs, I can come up with a progressive solution to this, I will see what's the best I can do. (:


    Manuel Bastioni is a very nice guy and I have a great respect for him. But unfortunately his product can't find a niche on 3d scene. MBL models are very accurate and detailed, so they are not useful as background low-poly characters. And they are not useful as main characters because there are no props and clothes ready to use for them. I have waited a long time for the new MBL but it was a bit frustrating and I went to Daz.

    • Now we have MBLab an attempt to create a fork to ManuelBastioniLab. Perhaps the developers of this fork should try to talk with Make Human developers to join forces.
      Make Human (from which Manuel Bastioni came) is a software that can shape facial features of characteres, like shape of eyes, mouth, nose etc. In other words, you can create a unique character face, made by you. Join the two softwares would be great, in my opinion.

    • Everyone had a different idea of how they wanted to use MBL. I know one Blender artist felt the need to re-sculpt the figures so they wouldn't be "cookie cutter." He wanted to display an original vision in his work. I was hoping Manuel would finalize the shapes so that a community of prop and clothing makers might pop up. In its current form it's a nice jump off for those who don't want the whole process done for them.

      If it got ported to 2.8 I would enjoy making clothing for these figures for my own projects. I think Manuel burnt himself out with his incredible ambition. I thank him for his effort though.


      I use MakeHuman characters a lot. They have props, clothes hair and accept mocap files for animation easily. It would be great if MBL could have such props and clothes as well, something like Mixamo. But it all takes time and work to be done. Let's hope for the project reborn.

      • Rombout Versluijs on

        @CLaudio , so disrespectful... Use MH than or code it yourself, you have absolutely no idea how much effort, time, ambition, knowledge these addons take. Especially the size of this one.

        I find it very phetatic every one whining now, you should have should more gratitude with support instead of " i want, i want, i want".

        So if you use MH a lot, why are you crying about MBL actually?

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