Have you ever wanted to create your own animated film with loads of characters? Creating your own animatable characters takes a lot of time and effort. You’ll need to model, rig, texture, give hair, clothes, etc. If you ever wished to create a character on the fly, fully rigged and animatable, then this post will show you exactly how to do that using the tool ‘MakeHuman’! You can use the characters freely for your own films, games, art or whatever!

We will be using a tool called MakeHuman. With this tool you can define exactly how you want your characters to look and export it to Blender (or any other 3D application you use). It seems more compatible with Blender though.
Step 1: Download Makehuman here. Open Makehuman and you should see this default screen.

Step 2: Change the body proportions to suit your own preference. Whether you want your character to look like a boy, girl, man, woman, old, young, skinny, fat, is all up to you! Feel free to experiment with this!

Step 3: Click through the tabs (highlighted in red) to add finer details to your model. Here you can customise your rig, materials and geometries. I don’t really touch the rendering, settings and utilities as much as I don’t see much use to it.

Step 4: To further play around with our character, click on the Geometries tab and you should see the Clothes sub-tab. Pick out clothes that you want by left-clicking on them.

Step 5: Select a rig type that you like in the Pose/Animate tab. You can choose a rig depending on what you prefer, whether you want a Second Life type rig, a game rig, or a basic rig. For most purposes, I’ve found setting this to ‘None’ seem to give the most detailed rig when exported to Blender, especially in terms of face rigging. As of writing, there were no shape keys available with this rig, and you may need to create your own if you want your character to have facial expressions.

Step 6: When you’re happy with your character, go to Files -> Export. Choose your export settings (highlighted in red). Then select options you want for that setting (highlighted in blue). Finally select the destination of your exported mesh and rig (highlighted in green). The setting that worked best for me is having the export setting at ‘Blender exchange (mhx)’ and the options left as default. You could select ‘Export for rigify’ if you’re more comfortable with that.

Step 7: Open up Blender if it isn’t already. Go to File –> User Preferences –> Addons and select ‘MakeHuman (.mhx)’ as well as ‘Rigify’. Then instead of the Addons tab, go to the nearby Files tab, and select ‘Auto Run Python Scripts’ (highlighted in red).

Step 8: Close the User Preferences window and then select File –> Import –> MakeHuman.

Step 9: Select the file where you exported it and you should see your generated character!

Step 10: Now your character is fully rigged and ready to animate! All in the space of about 5 minutes (obviously depending on how long you tweak your characters look)..

Further steps
You should also build shaders for his skin, eyes, hair and clothes. Makehuman conveniently creates all the materials for you, and with the mesh all UV-unwrapped. Only issue is MakeHuman, at the time of writing, only built materials for Blender Internal renderer. You’ll need to convert them to Cycles if you plan to render your animation in Cycles renderer. This can take time, but hopefully, MakeHuman will create shaders for us in the next build..
Here is a short film I made where ALL the characters were generated from MakeHuman. Not the best film, but shows the potential of the tool.