Crazy Animation Creation yields fun video and good practice!


A Feature Article by Reggie Dentmore on LearnMMD.comHow can I get inspired to do some animation creation from scratch in MMD? Is it hard to create your own motion files in MikuMikuDance? How do I get started with my own animations?

Crazy Animation Creation…
…Practicing Animation Skills yields fun video!

Last night I came cross this crazy “free online slot machine game”. … It makes fun of old-time classic opera in a small time opera house production. … plywood clouds, wooden horses, and a fine collection of “valkyries” to sing the instrumental opera.  (You must be age 18 or over to play those games.)

Animation creation inspiration can happen at any moment!

I have been playing the games of www.vegasslotsonline.com for over a year and I have had no issues with security or, really, no issues of any kind, so I feel OK with sharing that link with you. (DISCLAIMER: I have NO commercial affiliation with them and no connections to them, whatsoever! … I just like to visit that page and play the games.)

The animation in this game is a hoot! Plenty of fun to watch and analyze as you think about how it would look if done using MikuMikuDance!

Valkyries… Fun to watch…

If you GO there, just BUY the bonus to watch the animation. It’s all no charge… Free…

To see the animated features of this game, simply click the BUY Bonus Game button. There is no actual cost; the game is free.

While I was watching…

I was captivated by that brown-helmeted figure, with the wings.

I could not do a video capture, so I made this little GIF for you
from a handful of screen captures….

This image was the inspiration for my animation creation.

I was inspired to see if I could create that model’s attitude with our Miku model!

Mmmm… not exactly…

Animasa’s Miku can’t DO what we see there… but I wanted to create an animaion that was as fast-paced and nutty.

Here is a GIF of MY result…

My animation turned out to be not much like my inspiration image!

Not the same and nothing LIKE…

Yup. My animation creation is not the same and not much like the inspiration animation, at all. But I got some good practice with Miku and MMD.

Animation creation… how I did it…

I started with an empty white GUI… just like we MMDers always do.

 

Click the Picture to see a Larger image of Reggies .vpd poses file collection.I added Miku Ver 2. I then put my “Livlier” pose on her so that she looks to be standing comfortably.

For THIS animation, I strated by moving Miku’s neck forward… one of the things I see in that inspirations model’s animation. I then went to work on bouncing Miku’s head around. Adjusting ONLY the head, I registered a bunch of moves at random intervals apart… tilt left and down, advance 8 frames… adjust to the right and tilt up, advance 12 frames… adjust the head, advance 5 frames… adjust the head, advance 15 frames…

When I was out to about 60 frames, I pushed PLAY and saw that all was happenig WAY too quickly! … so I used the EXPAND function with a factor of 4.0 and found the resulting animation to be much more sensible. I then did a Range Select for my head-bone, copied all and then pasted that to the end of what I had created so far. So, now I had over 400 frames.

Next… the eyes!

The wild eyes of that slot character was a real inspiration. I used Miku’s “Confuse” eye morph to reduce her pupil size. I wanted CRAZY, not those big soft Miku-eyes of hers. … I then started at the beginning of my animation and moved the eye-bone at random… not in time to the head gyrations, hardly, at all. Sometimes I would let the eyes lead the head’s movement; letting the eyes look left before the head turns left, and like that. Sometimes the eye motion has nothjing to do with anything! … “It’ll all work out, right?” … I did the whole 440 frames with my randome eye movements.

Upper Body to work with the head tossing…

That’s what I did next in my animation creation: I worked the upper body to rock and roll with that head motion… swiveling a bit left, right, and tilting a bit fore and aft to yield something of a natural look for that body movement.

 

DUPLICATION…

At some point, I did a Range Select and selected all bones and did a Copy/Paste to double the length of my animation. I think I wanted to do it now so that any future animation work would be in addition to what I had created and duplicated.

Shoulders, Arms… and Elbows…

With my animation up at around 900 frames, I started to work on only the left shoulder. I watched the head’s action and the upper-body action and tried to add some LEFT-SHOULDER action to balance against those other motions. Rolling back, up, down, up, forward, and so on until I had my 900 frames-worth. … Then I did it, again, with the RIGHT shoulder… start to finish.

Left Arm… frame zero to frame 900. RIGHT ARM… … Left Elbow… … RIGHT Elbow…

Movnig the arms added a lot of “reality”… and then bending the elbow was a lot of fun as I was able to brings the hands up to the face, wave to the left… wave to the right… bring the hands back up to the face… that was fun.

HAND POSES… The Hand Pose Collection.

Download Reggie Dentmore's "Hand Pose Collection" on LearnMMD.comNow that I had the arms waving about, I could see how to position the hands. I used the many pre-built hand poses in Reggies Hand Pose Collection. I liked the Point-Relaxed and the Point-Pistol… and the Open relaxed and the Fist… and a few others. I just rolled the animation, frame by frame and determind where I wanted to see the hands in which pose… and I made it so. First I did all of the left-hands… and then went back and did all of the right hand poses. Remember to push REGISTER every time you load a saved pose.

Lower-Body was next.

I stared from frame zero and rocked the lower-body bone as well as I could. By now, this animation was nearly complete and so I could tell, pretty easily, how to position the hips/lower-body.

 

The CENTER Bone…

Starting from frame zero, again, I tried to add some natural life to this motion by raising and lowering the Center bone for some natural looking swoop-and-jive… rotating a bit, to the left and the right… trying to make things look “active” but still natural. … After workng my way through all of the frames, I backed the camera way back and saw that, often, Miku’s feet were not touching the ground… I had moved the Center a little too high PLENTY of times. … So, I went back through it all, again, at that far distance camera setting, and smoothed out the hopping and jumping. … AND THEN, as you will see in the finished animation, I never DID show the legs and feet… so it didn’t much matter, after all.

The Mouth … “Lip-Sync” action.

I rolled through the animation adjusting the GRIN and A mouth setting to give a nice, busy mouth-action. I had no particular words in mind… I just watched all that I had going on, there, and did about a couple of hundred frames worth of lip-flapping. Then I used Range Select and All Facials… and Copy/Pasted those mouth motions across the whole width of the frame sequence.

So… What had I created?

Why didn’t you come HOME last night? 

My animation was out to about 60-seconds… just over 1800 frames. I was almost done.

When I watched it, I could see that I did not get the “excited, curious look” of my inspiration “valkyries”. It looked more to me like I had created a Miku who was telling a story… maybe a story that she was making-up, on the fly… like an excuse? … She had some “splaining” to do!

So I decided to entitle the Video: “Why didn’t you come HOME last night?”

My "stand Dejected" pose... easy to drop that pose onto a model. CLICK to get that pose.NOW, with the title, I knew how to finish the animation. … I needed to have Miku move from her story-telling stance into one of my old, stand-by poses… the Stand-Dejected pose.

It was easy to add the pose. I just took a look at the frame chart, moved out about 30 frames from Miku’s last registered frame, and pasted that Pose onto her. … In the animation you can see how smoothly she shifts from the “bright” pose into this sombre pose.

I added that dark background art as a way to put Miku on the spot… no “light and fluffy”, here… dark and hard.

CAMERA…

Now, I again, started from frame zero and moved through the entire animation… using the camera to add some interest to this already fast-action scene. I can never let the camera sit still. I always have it in motion.

At the end, as Miku is drawing herself into that “Dejected” pose, I decided to back the camera away so that she gets smaller and smaller… poor kid.

EFFECTS…

I added one of my favorite effects, SSAO, in order to get a good depth of color on my Miku model. … I also added the BlackOut effect so as to add a “Fade from Black” at the start of the film and a Fade-to-Black as Miku’s tall-tale fades out.

 

Music!

I dove into my WAV and Mp3 folder to find some music that might sound like a fanciful tale was being told. I used a clip I had recorded from one of those online slot games for my music. I knew I needed about 67-seconds of sound. I imported my Mp3 into Audacity, trimmed the clip to length, and addad a Fade-in athe start and a Fade-out at the end. … and exported as a WAV for MikuMikuDance.

So… What had I created?

I can WATCH that video again and again… I am very happy with it.

Enjoy MikuMikuDance!


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