Is C4D Muscle System Phased Out?



Just wondering, is C4D Muscle System Phased Out? Or is someone using the feature in a production environment?
I’m asking as there it interesting but I don’t see any indepth tutorials about it. In addition, almost all the forum threads I discovered regarding C4D Muscle system are unresolved complaints.

Thank you for your time.


Judging by the manual it’s still a very much a part of C4D. What sort of tutorials would you need for it other than the stuff in the manual?

Does anyone use it? No idea. C4D isn’t really used for character animation in production as there are better, more pipeline-friendly tools out there…


Iv gone through the muscle system in some depth, I just didnt publish any videos on it as I didnt think there be any interest. I came across some limitations in which results in me not using it. First limitation is the 3 morph states can become confusing depending on where the relaxed, compressed and extended is on your model. If your arm for instance is already extended in its relaxed pose then your relaxed pose becomes your exteded, and before long you can be sculpting a shape for a flexed pose while still working on another state.

If you decide to add more segments to a muscle after you set the length the shape is lost and does not auto update. Muscle does not self collide, its hard to get decent deformation, and dynamics has the issue of very bad deformation collapsing on itself, but can be tamed with some time. Now in r19 we have the new pose morph we can create very good muscle deformation along with the giggle deformer. The muscle system is no even close to Mayas system which iv looked into but not exclusively used.




Just for Character Animation. Just want to expand knowledge and realized that I haven’t ventured out to the Muscle System and further realized that there isn’t much about Muscle System in the web. So was wondering, if Muscle System is still relevant for the purpose it serves.?


By the tone of your writing, I get the impression that we can do away with Muscle System and just do driven pose morphs instead. Am I correct to assume that?


I wouldn’t go as far as doing away with it, it may have uses for medical illistration, or when we have situations where we hit the limitations of the jiggle deformer, but to do what Maya can do with its muscle system like rig a hourse up with dynamic muscle, possible but cant see how that would work too well when the muscles cant self collide, and there is the other bigger limitation of no cache, at least iv not found it. Do away with it with a new system in place yes, all up for that. Even on Maxons site showing a demo of the Pose morph PSR they show a arm contracting its biceps, the big difference here is you can sculpt any shape you want more so for the shoulder.

When I tried it, it all worked fine untill dynamics came into the picture, and the set up apart from that is easy to use. If you avoid changing the sub d after shaping the muscle states then thats one hurdle you got over. If it had little better skin deformation with self collision and cache that would make the world of difference. Also to be able to save muscle shapes would be nice as not all muscle is shaped the same, some are flatter sheets much like the pectoralis, and while you can flatten it, I remember encounting some issues there too, cant recall what they where. (Anchor points set up of custom geometry with different topology, not pols)

See in video how Mayas system self collide, this is need to retain volume of each muscle. To add the collision deformer does work but cant be added to two muscles colliding.

You can see in my test last year that the muscle did help, maybe now we have proper PSR its worth combining the two to see how that improves things?



Oh thanks for the clarification Dan. Just saw your link on Maya and it is indeed interesting. Thanks for the heads-up on the limitation but this also piques my interest on the theory on adding Muscles. Thanks again!


Having you had brought up the Muscle system to my mind, I may well take a second look now we have PSR morphs in r19, and used along with delta mush which I dont think I had back when I did my tests, the combined results may be good all round.



Another route for this would be a working cloth muscle in combination with pose morphs like they do in the state of the art VFX pipeline. In Maya ncloth muscles are used quite often. You would get the muscle to muscle collision detection and dynamics from cloth while maintaining control via morphs or an additional joint setup. This can be already done but in current C4D when applying morphs to cloth the collision detection does not calculate the morphed shape and it breaks (not even mentioning the broken collision detection of cloth). Rigging becomes a lot a simulation pipeline with multilayered simulations which makes it maybe not the way to go for the single artist.


Unfortunately cloth dynamics dont work on a muscle object, and if it did, the cloth system in C4D is not very nice to use, which is why many use softbody which has more control, but softbody neither works on a muscle object. Jiggle deformer works on a muscle object, but only as a whole object not on a vertex basis, and the only verts selectable is the cage mesh for the muscle, this dont work along with vertex maps. The end result would be a re writen muscle system after C4D dynamics get updated some time in the future.

This is what C4D should have.




I’ll try to meddle with the Muscle system in the next coming free days soon.


That sounds complicated. Anyhow, out of curiosity, what do you mean by “not even mentioning the broken collision detection of cloth”? In what way it is broken? Just for some heads up in case I’ll encounter something like that.


In r19 there is a new falloff within the jiggle deformer. Apply the jiggle deformer to the muscle, and the muscle a child of the bone then add a sphere falloff. This lets you get jiggle for muscle only where the fall off is applied. The Jiggle unlike the muscle dynamics has cache.




Unfortunately, I don’t have r19 and I don’t see myself upgrading any time soon. But thanks for the thought and file. I’ll keep it in mind when I finally upgrade.