Create models from OBJ files using Blender and PMDE


Feature article by ZoidsFanatic on LearnMMD.com.

Can I create models from OBJ files? How can I make a PMD model from a .obj file for use in MikuMikuDance? Can I make MMD models from object files? Where can I get Blender? Where can I find .obj models?

Create models from .OBJ Create models from OBJ files using Blender and PMDE!files using Blender and PMDE!

Making MMD models has never been an easy task, regardless of which method you use … be it creating a model from scratch or making it from legal spare parts. But have you ever been online and seen a 3D model and thought to yourself “Wow, I wish I could have that for MMD”. If it was a .OBJ file, I’m about to tell you how you can have it for MMD! .OBJ files, as according to Wikipedia, are a

OBJ (or .OBJ) is a geometry definition file format first developed by Wavefront Technologies for its Advanced Visualizer animation package. The file format is open and has been adopted by other 3D graphics application vendors. For the most part it is a universally accepted format.”

To put that in an MMD-perspective term, .OBJ files are sorta like accessory files. They contain a model (like a house, car, etc), but that model really can’t do anything until we make it do something. So, that being said, how are we going to convert a .OBJ file into something MMD can read? Choose the ZIP version of Blender that matches your computer's operating system.Well, we’ll need a couple of programs. First, we’ll need Blender 2.49b, a freeware 3D modeler program. Second, we’ll need PMD Editor (which you can conveniently find on our site). If you already have those installed, then you can skip the next bit. If not, listen up!

For Blender, you’ll have many different options of what to download when you look at the previous versions (second tab on the download screen), though for this project I will recommend downloading Blender 2.49b. This is because it can export a model as a .X file (I’m sure the newer versions of Blender can do that by downloading a plugin, but let’s not add extra hassle). Now, as for PMDe simply go to the Downloads page. So, we got the two softwares installed and are ready to go.

Now we need a model…

Visit TF3DM for a ton of models in the .obj file type/format. Looking around Google, there are many websites that offer free  models (along with paid models). Personally for myself, I enjoy TF3DM. It has a lot of free models in a variety of formats. Now, looking around the site, it may be overwhelming at first and you may have the urge to download everything you see! Well, let’s remember K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). For a first time conversion, let’s pick something simple and easy to work with. Ah, a pumpkin. Now, looking around the screen, you’ll notice that the apples come in .OBJ format (formats are listed below the download) and is free to use for personal use. When looking around for models, make sure you are allowed to use them and that they are in .OBJ files. Other file types don’t really work well with the conversion. Also, make sure that the file comes with textures (which will normally be listed underneath the image). If the model is pre-textured, it usually won’t survive the conversion and PMD Editor will reject it.

So, let’s download the pumpkin

Our pumpkin object model on TF3DMIt usually takes around twenty seconds on the TF3DM for a download to be ready, at which point the file will automatically download or take you to MediaFire. So, now that we have the file, let’s unzip it. Our folder name will be “3e1suflbyikg-Pumpkin”. Open up the folder, we’ll see the .OBJ file and texture files as well. So, seeing everything is in check, let’s load up Blender.

If you haven’t used Blender before,

I’ll provide the bare essentials necessary for our project. Upon loading Blender, we’ll see this rather unattractive square.

Click to see the Blender GUI @ full-size.

The square is, here, in around the same sense that Miku would pop up on the older versions of MMD, to give modelers a quick start. For our purpose, we’ll need to delete it. Simply hit the delete key on your keyboard, and you will be asked if you want to delete the square. Click Yes, and we’ll have a blank screen ready to go.

So, let’s add the pumpkin…

Go to “File” and scroll down to “Import”. In the new table that appears, select “.OBJ” (Wavefront). Now, the next screen that appears may be a bit complicated and will differ from computer to computer. Simply click the “..” in the next screen

Click the little dots ...

until you get to your download screen (it will take a little bit of getting used-to, but it’s not that hard) and finally your “3e1suflbyikg-Pumpkin” folder. Once there, select your .OBJ file and Import it into Blender. Another screen will appear, at which point select import.

Now another square will appear.

This is the pumpkin (well, the square is the “bottom” of the pumpkin, the pumpkin itself is on top of the square). Let’s add texture now by selecting the “Draw Type” tab and then selecting “textured”.

Blender Selection Menu

Not much difference, eh? Well, let’s export the pumpkin as an .X file, by going to “File”, “Export”, and selecting the .X option (DirectX). A screen similar to the one before will appear, at which point navigate back to our pumpkin folder and save our file.

Now close Blender…

and open up PMD Editor (for those of you unfamiliar with PMD/X, see this guide).

With PMD editor open, we’ll go to “File” and “Import”. Once again, go to our See our Pumpkin accessory in PMDE.pumpkin folder and import the file called “untitled.x”. In the new screen that appears, make sure you select “A New” under import system and not “adding” (which will cause your model to not appear). Tada! The pumpkin is in the editor! Now, at times the model will appear white which is do to texture not being read correctly (such as the file being a TGA), which will require some conversion and working around. The texture issue is another reason why we want our model to have textures, and not be pre-textured. Other times the model may appear small, which will require some working with to get to proper size. Though as you notice the model is laying at a 90 degree angle, which will require you to flip it to correct angle.

So, that being said, the last thing we need to do is figure out what format we want to save it in. The PMD Editor we used will allow us to save the model in either .PMX format or .X format. For our pumpkin, let’s save it (export) as a .X file (accessory) file. For actual models, you would want to save them as .PMX formats (or .X to transfer to an editor that allows .PMDs). When exporting, keep the size as 1/10. Now, load up MMD and load up our new pumpkin model!

See your new pumpkin accessory in the MMD screen!Now, keep in mind that models made this way are not fully rigged in any way or form. You’ll need to bone the model up and give it morphs for that. But this guide should help with the process of converting an .OBJ to .PMD/PMX/.X format. This process can also be tinkered with to best suit your needs, so feel free to experiment.

And remember to Keep the Faith-MMD

Always giving credit to the original model maker and never distribute a completed model unless you have permission.

There you go … now you know how to create models from OBJ files.


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