More details of roadmap for lab 1.7.0
18 March 2018
Expression system, GUI, topologies and anime characters. [Read more]
Facial animation. Rigging vs shapekeys.
11 March 2018
Rigging vs shapekeys. What's the best solution to implement in lab 1.7.0? [Read more]
The new ear
28 February 2018
Modelling the new base meshes: the ear. [See the image]
20 February 2018
Modelling the new amazing base meshes for lab 1.7.0 [See the image]
Roadmap for 1.6.2 updated
04 February 2018
Just completed the roadmap for version 1.6.2 [See the roadmap]
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...]
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..]
Since Jan 2016
See the full development history. [Visit the archive]
Evaluating the best solution to implement in ManuelbastioniLAB 1.7.0
11 March 2018
The final version of roadmap for ManuelbastioniLAB 1.7.0 is almost completed and it will be published soon. It will include the new generation of amazing base meshes for humans and anime, with new topologies, UV maps, textures and rigging. This means a complete remodelling of all the morphings and rigging weights. There is still one thing under evaluation: keep the current expression system, with shapekeys, or replace it with a rigging system? Here are the pros and cons. I'd like to know your opinion (discussions are available on the official Facebook page and on the thread on Blenderartist forum).
Solution1: shapekeys only (currently implemented in lab 1.6.x)
- Shapekeys permit to reproduce details of muscles and skin behaviour. Also shapekeys can easily create the extreme expressions of anime and toons.
- Few shapekeys (less than 50) are sufficient to create most of existing expressions and visemes.
- Shapekeys are easy to export.
- Shapekeys require a lot of modelling work.
- Shapekeys need an algorithm to fit them from the base character to the specific character.
- Shapekeys are linear so the bending of some elements (for example the tongue) is often wrong when applied with values smaller than 1.0.
- Shapekeys require a different database for each character.
Solution2: Face rigging (without corrective shapekeys)
- Doesn't require dedicated modelling.
- More flexible and easy to customize.
- Bones are easy to export.
- The armature animation can include expressions too.
- Rotations don't need to be scaled, so an expression based on rotated bones should fit better than shapekeys (for example jaw rotations).
- Expressions can be exported and mixed as poses.
- The same database of expressions can be used for all similar characters (example: a database for humans and one for anime).
- A realistic face expression requires an high number of bones.
- To create an user-friendly realtime interface for an high number of bones it's required a very complex driver-based system.
- A driver-based system is practically not exportable out of Blender.
- Coding a driver-based system is prone to some problems too long to describe here.
Solution3: Face rigging (with corrective shapekeys)
It can reach the same level of realism of pure shapekeys system, with better results in rotations (jaw, eyes, tongue) but has the sum of all cons of shapekeys and bones with the addition of new cons caused by the complexity of implementation.
Shapekeys are easier to code and to maintain, easier to port in external engines, but they require a lot of modelling work and sometime the results are not perfect. Probably a system based on facial bones is better, but to avoid the cons listed above perhaps the lab should provide only the rigging, without the controllers. Then the user will choose his preferred method to animate them (for example linking them to a motion capture system).
The development of an hibrid system (solution 3) is excluded due to the big number of cons. In case of development switching to facial bones, the current utility based on shapekeys will be not supported in future versions and the user will have a more powerful and flexible tool, but (at least for a couple of successive releases) the interface will be less friendly (probably it will be required to manually pose the bones in order to create an expression).