14 September 2009

MakeHuman Makes Open Source More Human

One of the canards about open source is that it only produces hardcore hacker programs - dev tools, infrastructural stuff etc. - that have little to offer the general, non-technical, *normal* user. While that may have been true ten years ago, things have moved on.

For example, here's MakeHuman, an amazing program that lets you create photorealistic 3D humanoid characters:

MakeHuman is an open source (so it's completely free), innovative and professional software for the modelling of 3-Dimensional humanoid characters. Features that make this software unique include a new, highly intuitive GUI and a high quality mesh, optimized to work in subdivision surface mode (for example, Zbrush). Using MakeHuman, a photorealistic character can be modeled in less than 2 minutes; MakeHuman is released under an Open Source Licence (GPL3.0) , and is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

The MakeHuman 0.9.1 Release Candidate was published in December 2007, prompting considerable community feedback.

Development effort is currently focused on the 1.0 Release, based on a new GUI and a 4th generation mesh. This release also incorporates considerable changes to the code base which now uses a small, efficient core application written in C, with most of the user functionality being implemented in Python. Because Python is an interpreted scripting language, this means that a wide range of scripts, plugins and utilities can be added without needing to rebuild the application.

Even the alpha version is incredibly impressive - real drag and drop 3D humanoid manipulation (*very* eerie), with a simple-to-use interface. If you think that free software is only about important but boring stuff, try out MakeHuman, and be amazed.

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