Welcome to the Making Your First Model Using Blender by LearnMMD's mae Blythe!
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A featured article by LearnMMD's Mae Blythe!How can I use Blender to make a model for MMD? How do I assign materials to my MMD model in Blender? Where is the eyedropper tool in  the Blender color-picker?

Making Your First Model Part 12
Assigning Materials in Blender

out on her (the toon shader) just kicked all of the sph files to the curb! Adult Shader works with the sph files very nicely, so you just have to ask yourself what shaders you would use when thinking about being avant garde and texture your entire model with sph files.

The second is that you should segregate your materials based on how you’re going to weight things. Yeah! It probably sounds a little crazy. All of Camila’s hair is the same color . . . So why would I make her bangs and braid a different material?

Simple: Weighting.

I’m considering trying to add physics to Camila’s bangs. If her bangs and her fringe were the same material, I would be stuck trying to navigate around her fringe. However, if I say they’re different materials, I will be able to mask the fringe to get to the bangs!

Now, let’s talk about colors.

When you’re painting on the computer, you have an eyedropper tool. Just click on the picture and you have the exact color!

Guess what?

Right as I was about to write a reason you don’t need the eyedropper tool . . . I found it.

As Blender allows you to open images in multiple ways, you could easily color pick to your heart’s content! However, that likely won’t get you too far.

When you’re painting in SAI or Photoshop, you only need to make sure the one color you’re using is correct. In MMD, you need three different colors to interact to make one material.

How do the colors interact? (Note, skip to next heading if you don’t want to hear a ramble about colors!)

Let’s start by making the colors clash something nasty.

Complementary colors chosen for ambient and diffuse

Complementary colors chosen for ambient and diffuse

Do you remember when they taught you about complementary colors in art class? When placed next to each other, complementary colors pop! When mixed together, they just get nasty.

So, let’s talk about the colors one at a time.

Let’s get the easiest out of the way. Specular is the color of the highlight. To change how the highlight appears, you can use “Reflect”.

This is a little counter-intuitive . . . so bear with me! The higher reflect is, the smaller the highlight is. Why is that? It’s because the more reflective a surface is, the less diffuse the highlight is. Instead of being a relatively large glow, it’s a tiny pinpoint.

While we’re on the subject of “Reflect”. . . Alpha is a little disingenuous in Blender. Using Alpha either washes the part out or makes it entirely transparent. It’s a good idea to not really mess with alpha until you’re a pro!

If you set the specular color to black, then the highlight ceases to exist.

Then there’s Diffuse and Ambient.

Alright, let’s talk turkey right now.

I don’t know how to explain how diffuse and ambient work . . . But I also feel like I can say, “Hey! It’s advanced knowledge! Let’s move on!”

Actually Assigning the Colors

Alright! When you create the first material for an object, the entire object is assigned that material. However, sometimes you want different parts of the same object to have different materials. For that, select the object and go into edit mode. Turn on “Face Select” and select the faces you want to be a different material.

Material Tab with Pertinent Parts Numbered

Material Tab with Pertinent Parts Numbered

First, press the plus button to add a new material. Once a blank spot shows up, press “New”. Then you can press “Assign”! The faces will now have the default material.

Make sure to name your materials!

Arm with Materials Named

Arm with Materials Named

While there is a section called MMD Material where you can input a Japanese name, and English name, and a comment . . . the materials tab is almost never sanitized. For that reason, just naming them in the materials tab is close enough. (And way better than the default MMD models that come with MMD! Those are awful when it comes to materials!)

If you want to use a material from another object, it’s easy! Make a new material the same way you did before . . . but instead of pressing “New”, press the button with the same icon as the Material Tab.

Pick from existing materials from other objects

Pick from existing materials from other objects

Pick the material you want to use, and you’ll have that material on that object!

Now, let’s talk about Camila’s colors.

Is her dress red? Is her hair grey? Is there a blue undertone? Depending on the reference image, any of those things could be true! We’ll need to use our noggins to figure out what looks best, even if it’s a little off-model.

Now, I’m going to be frank. I’m not going to try and get the colors perfect right now. I want to do a lot of work with textures, so the color I actually plop down now isn’t too important. However – if you know you don’t want to do textures, the colors are important.

Textures aren’t exactly required . . . apart from irises, the majority of the old fashioned models lack them. If you need proof, just open up the Model folder in a brand new MMD “installation”!

On lips . . .

I can’t figure out how to do the lips via material. Maybe I’m a little out of it, but I can’t select just the parts that I want to be colored without some nasty jagged lines.

Until I found “Poke Face”. Select a face, and them press “Alt + P”.

While it barely made it better, it made it good enough for me to think that I could leave the lips as their own material. Why is that important? For a woman with lipstick, lips are either way less shiny than skin or way more shiny than skin. Having a separate material that would catch the light differently would just add a little touch of niceness.

After a good bit of thinking and thinking, I realized that giant, plump, red lips were important to Camila as a character. As unhappy as I am with them, they do look like her. 

Camila with Face Materials

Now, I hate to do this to you . . . But I think you know all there is to know about materials! For me to go through and say “I did the same exact thing for the dress. I did the same exact thing for the nails . . . ” Would get pretty grating pretty quick!

Are we going to finally import the model into PMXe?!

Not yet! Check back in next time when I teach you about exporting UV maps for texturing!

If you know you’re not interested in texturing, you can skip the next part.

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