To begin, I believe the metaball is the key to realistic, smooth features that are needed to realistically model human muscle, skin, and fat tissue. They handle joint movement more elegently than meshes (in my opinion).
Here is a screenshot of a metaball-created dummy.
What I need to make this dummy into a full human:
- * Metaball performance
* Metaball enhancements
What to notice: the dummy is made up of about 30 metaballs. At this point, the performance is bad enough that it's difficult to add any more metaballs. To flesh out (so to speak) this dummy into a realistic human, I would need to add about 120 more metaballs (20 per hand, 10 per foot, 30 for the head, and 30 more misc for things like rib cage form, belly button, musculature, etc)
I think that modifying metaball code to only recalculate the polygons of metaballs that are affected by the currently-active metaball would make a 120-metaball form possible and even fast/good.
Notice that where her arm comes close to her body, the metaball does its job and starts to blend. It would be nice if metaballs could be set to blend in only with listed classes of others, for example: the UPPERARM metaball will only blend in with the SHOULDER metaball and the ELBOW metaball, but not with the FOREARM metaball.
What Won't Work
I have already looked at Make Human. It's a great project, but it doesn't have the power or simplicity needed to create smooth, realistic humans. It is possible that Make Human will progress to the point where it is good, but it has a few flaws:
- * The mesh it creates isn't smooth (not enough polys)
* It is difficult to make an attractive human
* A mesh does not deform well at joints