Development news

Roadmap for 1.6.2 updated

04 February 2018

Just completed the roadmap for version 1.6.2 [See the roadmap]

Version 1.6.1!

20 January 2018

The new version 1.6.1 is available! [See the release notes]

Anatomy improvements in female models

30 December 2017

Improvements in anatomy and details for all human base female models. [See the image...]

Improvements in asian female base model

26 December 2017

Improvements in anatomy and details of asian female base model F-AS01. [See the image...]

Improvements in afro female base model

23 December 2017

Improvements in anatomy and details of afro female base model F-AF01. [See the image...]

Improvements in caucasian male base model

21 December 2017

Improvements in anatomy and details of male base model M-CA01. [See the image...]

Improvements in cel shader

14 December 2017

Video preview of new hair models and shaders for Blender Cycles. [See the video]

Improvements in cel shader

10 December 2017

More improvements in anime skin and hair cel shader for Blender Cycles. [See the image...]

Preview of anime hair

02 December 2017

Preview of the high quality hair model for anime girl. Improvements in anime skin shader. [See the image...]

Proxy tutorial

16 November 2017

As requested by many users, here is the updated tutorial about how to create and use proxies in lab 1.6.0. [Read more..]

Shapekeys mapping 1.5 -> 1.6

08 November 2017

Since there are various animation systems based on the lab 1.5 that need to migrate to lab 1.6, here is the conversion table that maps the shapekeys 1.5 to 1.6. [Read more..]

Roadmap update for 1.7.0!

05 November 2017

Roadmap update with detailed tasks for lab 1.6.1 and 1.7.0 [Read more..]

Version 1.6.0!

26 October 2017

The new version 1.6.0 is available! [See the release notes]

Improvements of teeth and eyes

10 October 2017

Better teeth shader and shape, improved eye shader [See the image...]

High quality expression system 1.6: animation

05 October 2017

1.6 WIP: See the high quality results of the new expression system! [See the video]

Preview-tutorial proxy system 1.6

23 September 2017

Tutorial-preview about the new proxy system that will be included in ManuelbastioniLAB 1.6.0 with two long waited new features to handle skin intersections: offset and auto-mask. [See the video]

New preview of IK and muscles

09 September 2017

Development and integration of IK and basic muscle system completed: see how they work in the new preview. [See the video]

Improvements of anatomy

02 September 2017

Better 3D feet, toes, nails. Also improvements of 3d tongue for professional phonemes animation. [See the image...]

Hair shader and physics

24 August 2017

Testing the hair shader and the best way to use physics with polygonal hair [Read more...]


Since Jan 2016

See the full development history. [Visit the archive]

[Back to development log]

Changes in ManuelbastioniLAB 1.6.0: Graphical User Interface, usability and philosophy.

27 May 2017

Current lab production pipeline: pro and contra

Over a year ago, the first version of ManuelbastioniLAB was released. The goal was to create a laboratory to implement new ideas and algorithms (as the automodelling and the measure system, still experimental) in order to provide to Blender community a new powerful state-of-the-art tool in the field of 3d humanoid generation.

In these 15 months the resources were focused on:

After the release of 1.5.0 new goals can be added to the existing list, for example the improvement of production pipeline.

Studying the software usability and listening to the community feedback, it was realized that the lab can be even more productive, standardized and easy-to-use just changing some elements of the current production pipeline philosophy.

Currently there are two main steps in using ManuelbastioniLAB:

  1. Definition of the humanoid: age, muscle mass, tone, face details, body proportions, measures, expression, proxies, pose-animation, ecc.
  2. Finalization of the humanoid, in order to transform it from a lab-character (suitable to be modified in the lab, but not usable in production) to a standard-character (suitable to be used in production, customizable by hand, but no longer editable with the lab tools).

Graph of the current production pipeline

This design has pro and contra.

The pro is that in a lab session the elements are "under control": there is only one character in the scene, with a well defined skeleton that use lab-standard bone names, an human mesh with an exact topology and with a series of custom properties to provide information to the lab engines. These conditions make the tools very stable and reliable.

The contra are that after the finalization, the lab expression library, the lab proxie fitting ,the lab pose library and the lab animation retargeting system are no longer usable. This creates redundant cycles in the production phase, for example the user needs to produce a finalized character for each animation.

Improvement and optimizations in production pipeline of ManuelbastioniLAB 1.6.0

Until now the lab was focused only on the editing of non-finalized models. After the finalization, the humanoid was out of the lab scope: a standard character to be posed and animated using the normal Blender tool. In 1.6.0 this behaviour will change.

We will have two production phases:

Graph of the new 3d character production pipeline

With this new pipeline philosophy, that extends the scope of the lab to finalized models too, we will have many advantages:

The lab users will be able to change the animation, the pose and the expression on finalized character, without the needing to restart a creation session each time.

Sketch of the new GUI for ManuelbastioniLAB 1.6.0

Of course, any design has its contra. In this case the main problem is that a finalized character can be subjected to customization from the user: it can have more or less bones than expected, different names, altered topology, different shapekeys ecc.

This is a challenge for the lab developer, that will try to handle all the cases. Anyway the recommendation will be to customize the topology and the skeleton only if absolutely necessary, considering that in case of noticeable changes the after-creation tools may not work.

This is a little cost in comparison with the benefits of the new pipeline.

[*] Under evaluation the possibility to move it to after-creation panel.