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I am sculpting a human model. I want to eventually rig it, so I am planning ahead with good mesh topology etc. I want it to be as realistic as possible so I was brainstorming on some ideas for the rigging. Lets say I have a human skeleton rigged with all the muscles that stretch and contract according to joint positions and rotations. Is there an efficient way to overlay the body mesh around the skeleton and muscles? The idea is to give it accurate movement and mesh deformations that simulate real flesh and bones. The problem I've had with other rigs is certain positions and rotations of joints just don't look right. Has anyone ever tried this?

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I will share my technique for muscle deformation:

You can use shape keys. However, there is a difference in the approach between a hinge joint (elbow, knee) and a ball and socket joint (shoulder, hip). In the first case you only need one shape key (if you ignore forearm pronation / supination). When dealing with shoulder however, it is necessary to have a shape key for every extreme pose and then blend between them.

In the image are some of the poses that need to have shape keys, but there can be more (arm raised in the back + rotation) enter image description here

The way I’m applying the shape keys is to reduce one to 0 and to raise the other one to 1 at the same time. Blender will calculate the transition. Then it’s up to the user to estimate the “arm’s” position relative to the extreme and to blend the shape keys. enter image description here

I posted this because I don’t think a more complex rig or muscles system will make the difference. I hope it helps.

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