View Full Version : muscle rigging - creating "flat" muscles

05 May 2010, 04:52 PM
Hey all,

I'm pretty new to using muscle far I've been able to get good results with simple muscles that have 'tapered' heads: biceps, femoris, etc.

Where I'm struggling is with muscles like the pecs and deltoids, where the origin of the muscle is a broad, flat area. The muscle does not seem to want to have those CVs stretched out over a broad spins around a bunch, and I can't really 'pin' it down. Does anyone have tips or a general approach for these types of muscles?

Also, just in general...I'm curious to hear about any success stories with Maya muscles. It seems like it takes *forever* to create every muscle, shape it properly, create the squash shape, the stretch shape, then paint the weights for it, etc. Especially on an area like the shoulder, where you've actually got 3 main muscles working together and you have to balance the weights between all the different muscle objects. I haven't really had much success making these things behave like I want so far...but maybe I'm just giving up on it too quickly :)

Any other thoughts on muscles always welcome! Thanks all. :buttrock:

05 May 2010, 08:13 AM
Hey, im new to muscles too, in fact im just now researching into them, so i might or might not help, but...
every time i see a muscle rig, it has the deltoid as it is in the body - several simple round muscles. same goes for pecs. look at this for instance:
or this

the second one is maybe better, but you have to look real close. anyway, i saw a picture somewhere where the new muscles were used (the ones in Muscle-> muscle/bones-> muscle creator, instead of the normal Simple Muscles) and those had their flat end stuck to the very bone they were supposed to, and the end was flat. if you got time, this might be worth exploring. i got a deadline on my ass, so i cant go funky with all the diff types of muscles i can create, but if you find something useful, i'd be glad to hear about it! PM me in that case

until then, good luck


05 May 2010, 10:56 AM

I haven't actually maya muscle before so can't help with that but I've been using joints and geometry as muscle influence, quicker and simple.

So for the pec, I have a joint parent contrainted between the bicep and clavicle and then an orient contraint to spineD (assuming you use the same naming convention) and I've managed to get pretty good movement from the pec, just got to add it to the skin and play around with weights a bit, hope this helps at all.

05 May 2010, 01:46 PM
Hey there, i've been thinking bout using joints as influence too, but it just seems so... rugged.. I started with maya muscles and so far, i think it could work, but if it dont, id be really interested on your setup, could you maybe post a wire of your skeleton and templated mesh? im really stuck on them shoulders...

05 May 2010, 04:14 PM
file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-1.pngk, don't know if these pics were exactly what you're after but this is basic setup ive got up top.

if you look at shaded mesh u c there's quite nice deformation around the pec with different volumes just using a joint, and atm, i just use nurbs surfaces as influence for muscle deformation (and Ive noticed a mistake left &right nurbs have dif pivot points, so no need to point out file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/ADMINI%7E1/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-2.png:) )

hope it helps, still learning myself

05 May 2010, 04:43 PM
i like your model btw. the deformation is so great, considering you use only joints and nurbs as influences. Nice technique. And thanks for the images, it helps to visualize it.
I actually just set up the pecs of my char and the front deltoid, using muscles, and got a pretty cool deforms just by playing with the weights a bit. Took me like 20 minutes to set up the muscles, then like 20 to paint weights correctly, and now the possibilities of the shoulder are way beyond the Pose Space Deformer plugin, with which i set my char up for two days and still was not even half-way through. I can recommend them muscles now, they seem really like and easy way to go (at least in these most problematic areas). especially if your on a tight schedule ^^

keep up the good work, your work's impressive.


05 May 2010, 05:06 PM
thanks for the compliments, always helps to have a confidence boost :) so whats this with the pose space deformer plugin?

05 May 2010, 08:07 PM
Pose Space Deformer by Michal Comet is.. well basically a UI for corrective blendshapes. It lets you pose the char into a problematic position, then sculpt it to your liking and save it for this particular position. The thing is, you have to do this for each position of the shoulder, which to me seems endless, haha.. the thing is you have to sculpt each individual position over again. it might work fine for less problematic joints like the knee or the wrist, but with shoulder, at least from my experience, there's no way of knowing what happens if you move the humerus into a position you didn't sculpt, even if it's an in-between one, that it should have calculated in.
To summer up, muscles or influence objects, are the way to go ^^

05 May 2010, 10:02 PM
Building a full character with Muscles is a ton of work. For the flat muscles like the pecs and deltoids I model them and then convert the geometry to a muscle.

05 May 2010, 10:32 PM
good way to go, but i've been scared of that way from the beginning, haha... im talking about only the main problematic zones, such as shoulders and hips, the rest can be handled by other means. I got pecs created by 3 separate simple muscles and the deforms i got are quite nice. right now im sitting here figuring out how to do usable deltoids, haha...
Will move on to the arm later tonight, hope to have most of the muscles setup by tomorrow and at school will start painting weights instead of listening to more boring lectures ^^

thanks for sharing, will try the "convert" at some point for sure.


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