Friday, March 1st, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Imbalance releases Ragdoll for Blender 1.0

Imbalance has released Ragdoll for Blender 1.0, a new version of its much-praised Ragdoll Dynamics real-time physics solver for the open-source 3D software.

The release makes it possible for Blender artists to use the previously Maya-only technology, used at leading VFX and game development studios, in their character animation workflow.

A powerful physics solver, used in production at leading VFX and games studios
First released in 2021 for Maya, Ragdoll Dynamics is a real-time character physics system.

The underlying technology has been used in production at leading visual effects and game studios including DNEG, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Kojima Productions and CD Projekt Red.

So what does Ragdoll Dynamics actually do?
Ragdoll Dynamics streamlines the process of adding realistic physics to character animation.

Artists can establish the timing of a shot, feed in the basic keyframes, and have Ragdoll add secondary motion automatically – for example, for hair, clothing, or even muscle dynamics.

The software is lightweight enough to make it possible to work in real time, and unlike conventional simulations, output is deterministic, meaning that each playthrough is identical.

Other key features include Live Mode, which speeds up the process of posing characters by letting animators drag geometry directly in the viewport, rather than having to use rig controls.

You can find more detail in our story on Ragdoll Dynamics 3.0 for Maya, which came out in 2022.

Is the new Blender edition an open-source tool?
Since then, Imbalance has rearchitected the software from a Maya plugin to a standalone application with separate integrations to other DCC software: initially Maya, and now Blender.

The Ragdoll for Blender plugin itself is open-source, but to do anything practical with it, you need the commercial Ragdoll Core application.

How does Ragdoll for Blender compare to the Maya edition?
The new Blender integration supports most of the same features as Maya, including Live Mode.

Those not currently supported include Force Fields and the option to import physics as a base from which to work. You can see a feature comparison table in the release announcement.

It is currently only available on Windows and Linux, not macOS: Imbalance is working on support for Apple’s Metal API, now used for viewport rendering in Blender.

According to Imbalance, the Blender version – much of which is written in Python rather than C++ – has around “0.6x performance compared to Maya”.

You can get a feel for how this translates into practice from the video at the top of the story.

Pricing and system requiements
Ragdoll for Blender 1.0 is compatible with Blender 3.4+ on Windows and Linux only.

For individual artists, perpetual Freelancer licences cost $199. For studios, Complete licences cost $799 or $79/month for node-locked licences; $999 or $119/month for floating licences.

Unlimited licences, which add a Python API, and advanced features like physics export, cost $1,999 or $199/month for node-locked licences; $2,999 or $299/month for floating licences.

The source code for Ragdoll for Blender and its bpx library is available under a MIT license.

Read more about Ragdoll for Blender 1.0 in the release announcement

Visit the Ragdoll Dynamics product website

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