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I'm working on a small crowd scene and trying to figure out the best way to set it up from a workflow perspective. I have addons or particle systems to place the characters, but I need to generate a bunch of characters to feed into those.

I need to place ~25 characters total. For that, I want to have a few unique bodies, and a few unique pieces of clothing, hair, etc. I will then mix and match to have ~25 unique combinations, even if they share a lot of parts. I'm looking for a way to avoid doing this manually. I also want to keep all the parts instanced, although it's not totally essential (but would be for bigger scenes.)

I'm looking to be able to do something like link/append a character, and each time I do it gives me a random body, shirt, pants, hair, etc from a group. I know it's possible to have a particle system use a random object from a group for each particle, but can it be done for something like this?

Does anyone know the proper way to do this, or something similar? Is this even the correct way to approach this problem?

EDIT: I am looking at making a script for this. I'm looking for the best way to approach it, or to get input from anyone who has made something similar.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest MakeHuman. You can get a variety of clothes as well as preset characters in the community assets. Depending on the detail you want, you can also use animations on planes or in compositing. $\endgroup$ – sambler Jul 12 '18 at 4:13
  • $\begingroup$ I am familiar with MakeHuman and may use it to generate the base assets. But the question isn't about making the body or the clothes, its about putting them together in different combinations with instancing. $\endgroup$ – Drudge Jul 12 '18 at 5:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Drudge You are asking too much from Blender, either you script all this functionality yourself using python, or you grab a tool like Houdini. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Jul 12 '18 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ I'm looking at scripting it with Python, but I'm trying to understand more about whats available, or what approach is best. There's many ways to build it. $\endgroup$ – Drudge Jul 12 '18 at 18:19
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If you're great at scripting, one way might be to use the shape keys. If you instance the objects and randomize the shape keys for different body heights and shapes and randomize the texture indexes, that probably should do it. With shape keys you can completely do a seamless remodel, so it might be good to start with... for example long sleeve, long hair- then model all other changes into shape keys.

It can do a final scene check in the strange event that two bodies match by checking first if any two parameters are the same, then continuing the check until it is negative. Switching a parameter if all parameters match two objects.

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