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A featured article by LearnMMD's Mae Blythe!How can I figure out what I CAN fix and what I cannot fix... and what needs to be fixed and what really is OK, after all? How can I keep a leg from poking through a skirt? Where should the eye-bones be placed in the model I am making from scratch?

Making Your First Model Part 27
Troubleshooting Your Model for the Last Time

You did it! You made your first model!

Now . . . You want to be one of the cool kids. You want to download the coolest shader and pick super awesome motion data with a ton of camera movement . . . And you want it to turn out awesome!

. . . And this is what you get:

Yikes! There’s a lot of stuff there that just doesn’t look that great!

Let’s categorize the problems into things we can’t fix, things that we can fix, and things that aren’t worth fixing.

What can we not fix?

If after hours of bashing my head against the wall didn’t make skirt physics work . . . Skirt physics just aren’t going to work. There could be several reasons – the skirt mesh is too close to the body mesh . . . The one sided skirt mesh messes with the physics . . .  PMXe is messing with me . . .

In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a lot of things we can’t fix!

What can we fix?

The first thing that comes to mind is just the fact that her ruffle won’t stay connected to her skirt! While this would be rather quick work in Blender, I’m doing it in PMXe.

To connect them, we just need to connect the vertices.

Path to connect vertices

You can either follow that path, or press “Ctrl + J”. If there’s no vertices on one of the items to connect them at a particular spot, feel free to use the knife tool in Advanced Editing!

. . .

Scratch that. This is annoyingly tedious. 

I moved over to Blender. It’s the same process, just easier to see. “Alt + M” to bring up the merge menu . . . I’m choosing “Merge at Center”. If the ruffle has a vertices where the skirt doesn’t, I subdivide an edge to add a vertex so that the ruffle is fully connected to the skirt.

Before and after merging vertices

Before and after merging vertices

Woo-hoo! Now, we run into a problem due to the lack of skirt physics. The way the ruffle moves is extremely jerky and robotic . . . Let’s try weighting it slightly differently! . . . That didn’t help much either.

Now, let’s move focus to her elbows. Above, you can see that her naked elbow moved somewhat naturally, while her clothed elbow moved like a crushed can.

Even after weighting it to fix it a bit, we run in to a problem . . . Her arm pokes through her sleeve when you move the bone!

Note, I’m not showing visuals . . . I’m going to avoid giving vertices dual citizenship when weighting. It sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t seem to work out for me.

. . . Oh, wait. The voice in my head kindly reminded me that you can’t move most bones in MMD! If it looks good as it rotates, that’s all that matters!

Thank goodness . . . I was contemplating just cutting a chunk of her arm off!

If you saw the video, you probably noticed that her skin tears through her dress. At one point, I wasn’t having that problem. I don’t know what changed, but something had  to have! I distinctly remember weighting the bow to the upper body, and half of it was weighted to the lower body! Let’s  just get rid of any pesky dual citizen vertices and see if that fixes it.

And . . . It didn’t. … … Let’s just take a deep breath, save a new file so we can revert, then cut her midriff out of the picture.

Most of midriff deleted

I’m sorry, Camila.

Now, let’s talk about something – If I push this model to a point where a normal human’s back would break, her legs poke through her skirt! . . . I feel like I should fix it, but I also feel like that’s insane to want to fix something for a thing people generally shouldn’t do.

The only reason I should fix this is if the legs poke through in a normal motion data.

Before plopping her into MMD to test her, let’s go into transform view and make sure that at least her basic facial morphs aren’t an utter disaster.

A facial morph that is a disaster

That’s her smile facial morph . . . and it IS an utter disaster! But . . . At least it isn’t clipping!

Note – have you ever noticed how there are few frowny mouth facials? Looking at this list, there are only two that look remotely sad. For Camila, those were almost impossible to do due to her somewhat realistic lips.

Now let’s talk about eye bones. They’re kind of confusing.

Eye bones not working right

Eye bones not working right

. . .

oh. I’m a baka.

Location of Eye Bones on MEIKO model

The eye bones . . . go inside the head. Just a bit of editing and her eyes actually kind of do the right thing! As a note, it’s not perfect . . . But this is for beginners, and beginners need to know when to say “It’s not the biggest deal!”

Let’s open her in MMD and . . .

Skin poking through clothes mesh

Skin poking through clothes mesh

Oh. I borked it.

Something hit me like a ton of bricks – maybe, just maybe, removing a giant chunk of her midriff messed with the weighting. To test this, I opened the copy I saved before I chopped off her midsection.

Stranger and stranger still, that was not the case. Well . . . I’m sorry Camila . . . But I’m feeling a bit like a Soprano with all of this pain you’re giving me.

If your model is relatively low-poly, use the knife tool to add a line of vertices so that you can chop a part out without gross, jagged lines all over the place.

Thinking of the knife tool, I wondered if it was possible to cut up the elbow of the dress a bit to make it bend in a more realistic way. I tried it, but I get so annoyed with working in Transform View that I won’t know until I test it in MMD.

Now, let’s get one thing straight –

When you’re new to making models and PMXe, many things feel like a Catch 22: You’re danged if you do, danged if you don’t! … The way I fixed her legs poking out of her skirt was by making lines of vertices down the center… And then I thought “I know! This will finally work if I use the skirt plugin!”

I wasted several hours of my life staring at the skirt plugin and it simply not working.

However, using the knife tool I was able to make her skirt stick to her legs better! This came at the cost of making her skirt behave very unnaturally.

Skirt working somewhat better

Hey, Bandages saved the day again!

This section was going to be called “What’s not worth fixing”. However, I popped up one of Bandage’s tutorials on the Transform View . . . And I learned how to make the hands smaller with virtually no effort! The giant, creepy hands creeped me out. But it just takes a few keystrokes to make them not as horrific! But, onward from that!

If you have a model and the arms are clipping through the body, there are two possible reasons. The first is that the arms are positioned poorly. To fix this, you simply need to use the Transform View window to move the arms to the correct place and save the transformed model as a new model. The second is just that your girl’s too thick. If you make your model thinner just so that her arms won’t clip through her body, you lose a lot of what makes that character that character.

Camila's Full Body

Camila’s Full Body

We have a few problems with this model. The first is that she’s extremely curvy, and MMD isn’t a fan of that. As we saw in the tutorial above, we could just select her lower body and scale it so that her hips aren’t as thick. We could scale her upper body so that her chest isn’t so full. But if we did that . . . would she still be Camila?

Honestly, the fact that it takes a few seconds to change the scale makes me want to go crazy!

I’m all about that bass, so Skinny Camila just seems wrong to me! I prefer her thicker. However . . . I’ll probably include the Skinny Version with the finished model, because some people prefer skinny models!

Now, remember how I’ve said that the next part would be the last about five times now? Well, next time will actually be the last when we make a demo video! Tune in next time when it really is over!

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