Serendipity or happy accidents are one of the great joys in life and especially in research. As I was researching my article about squash and stretch, I found out that a MMEffect creator, named 豊作P, has created the Squash and Stretch Effect for MikuMikuDance. It’s here:
Surprisingly enough it’s labeled “Squash and Stretch.” Click on the link and it will take you to a NicoNicoDouga page, which will give you another link and password. I realize that this has become a mantra, it is important to have MMEffects properly installed in MMD. Please see Noko2’s article on that It’s here: http://learnmmd.com/http:/learnmmd.com/download-mme-install-mikimikueffects-add-effects-mmd-7-39/ or this article by our fearless leader Reggie: http://learnmmd.com/http:/learnmmd.com/download-mme-v036-in-english/ Make sure you put this into your “Effects” folder. Now open up MikuMikuDance and load up your model and motion data.
You will notice four items (a Read Me file, 2 FX files and a PMD file). You need to load up the squash and stretch effect onto your model. Many effects are loaded this way, if you are an ardent reader of our articles, then this should almost be routine for you. However, a review is never a bad thing.
Go to your MMEffect button at the top right hand corner of your screen. Click on that and then select the Effect Mapping (M) option. Another window will open up, double click on the model’s name and load up the Squash and Stretch FX file. Now click the Okay button in the Map Effect window.
Loading the squash and stretch controller is our next task. It is listed as the SQUASH AND STRETCHControl pmd file, so it’s loaded up through the Model Manipulation Panel (MMP). Controlling the squash and stretch effect is done in the Facial Manipulation Panel (FMP). You can create and assign original motion data for one axis or all three axes.
The squash and stretch effect will greatly distort your model. I made the demo video devoid (intentionally) of any stages or accessories and left up the display coordinate axis and grid to help visualize the amount of distortion. Mind you, you probably won’t need to go to the maximum levels I did. However, I do really enjoy torturing Kaito (Honestly, who doesn’t)? It’s at our YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/-NYoulwFQ8I
The Squash and Stretch Effect can add a whole new cartoon like dimension to your animations. So let your imaginations go amok, and play around with this effect. Imagine a scene where two characters that are mad at each other, enter a house and close the door. Applying the Squash and Stretch Effect will show the house twisting and distorting with their fight inside.
Have fun with this.
Default Animasa Len.
Squash and Stretch Effect by豊作P.
Squash and stretch is the first of a dozen articles about the 12 Principles of Animation. First codified in the 1930’s by Walt Disney Studios, the 12 Principles of Animation were listed as guidelines for their junior animators. They address issues of believability, appeal, and storytelling. These principles were made “public” in the highly acclaimed book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston (ISBN-10: 0786860707 or ISBN-13: 978-0786860708). Mind you, that these principles were created for pen and ink animation, that doesn’t mean that we can’t apply some of them to MikuMikuDance.
Squash and stretch is a graphical (animated) representation of weight, rigidity and volume. The most famous example of squash and stretch is a bouncing ball. A rubber ball falls; hits the ground squashes itself; then recoils up; stretches out, and then reverts itself back to normal shape. I applied it to the animated GIF.
You have to remember that everything in animation is weightless and animators have to create the illusion of weight. Squash and stretch allows you to create this illusion by manipulating the character’s body. So, whenever you are animating, think about the muscles you would use to accomplish this illusion. Smiling is a good example of this, as you smile your cheeks will squash up into a tight mass and your lips will stretch open to reveal your teeth (You’re smiling now. Don’t deny it).
Another illustrative point is a principal you probably studied in your health classes-muscle recruitment also called motor unit recruitment. Place your favorite arm on a table and make a loose fist. Now, slowly, make your fist tighter. Notice how the rest of your hand and your forearm are now recruited in this effort. Take note of how some of these muscles are stretching and some are contracting. If you make your fist as tight as you can, then the muscles of the upper arm and shoulder join this squash and stretch party.
Another concept in Squash and Stretch is rigidity. Rigidity can be defined as “How much ‘give’ is inherent in the base material of what’s being animated.” Basically, a tennis ball will have less rigidity than a 16-pound (7.260 kilogram) shot put; both will bounce and roll, but a shot put will not squash and stretch.
Using squash and stretch on something that has little or no rigidity can be a funny effect. If I were to animate dropping that same shot put and have it ricochet around a room, then that would make a great gag. So an aesthetic choice you would need to make, in advance, is “How realistic do I want to make the film?”
Another thing to keep in mind is that whatever you’re animating; its volume will be constant. An example of this is to replace the rubber ball with a water balloon. If I take a 1 quart (946.353 milliliters) balloon and fill it with ½ quarts (473.176 milliliters) of water, no matter what I do to this water balloon its volume will not change.
Now that we know all know a little more about squash and stretch. I hope you will start looking for it in real life and in the television programs you watch and applying it to your own animations. You should always want to stretch out your abilities as an MMD-er.
Have fun with this.
Beach ball by Bolloz111
Squash and Stretch by 豊作P
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I wanted to set up a scene in a theater with steeply inclined seats so that I could pan the camera from above the stage and still capture some of the audience in the scene. Always, before, I have had to have the camera well back from the stage or close to the floor to catch the audience as I panned into the action … because I have always set the seats … on the floor, of course!
It occurred to me, today, that I could tilt the standard Theater Seats that come with the LearnMMD Auditorium Stage download … tilt them up for a more arena-like appearance. (I was using the Auditorium Stage at 150% size … so I had room for TWO sets of the seats, side-by-side!)
Yes … it looks BAD from a distance … especially when you can see all of those little legs dangling down below the seats…
… but if you position the camera to avoid seeing the underside of the seats, you can make a believable scene!
This realization started me to thinking about what other “reality shortcuts” might be available to us. Things like trees and furniture, and other models in your scene, don’t necessarily have to take a stationary position on your stage … you could mount them on dummy bones and simply wave them past the camera when you need to see them … I feel like I have discovered a great freedom … a freedom that experienced filmmakers have taken advantage of forever, now that I think about it!
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