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Introduction to MikuMikuDance

A Classic Post…
LearnMMD’s 2nd Article, August 24, 2011

How do I run MikuMikuDance? How do I download MMD? LearnMMD has MMD Tutorials! MMD is a Free 3D animation program!

MikuMikuDance is a Freeware, entry-level, 3-D animation program that lets you use the included characters and props to create your own stage performances. MMD is a powerful DirectX video game … without the game! You add the elements to create sophisticated 3D animations.

It’s cute … it’s fun … it’s complicated!

MMD comes to you with eleven posable/positionable stage/musical performers (including 3 versions of Hatsune Miku … More about her, later!). There is also a stage backdrop and various lighting and stage accessories to enhance your “show”. You have control of the stage lighting in MMD: color of the light, angle, intensity, shadows, and the color and value of those shadows. There is a “camera” feature that lets you “shoot” your scene … lets you frame your vision for your audience. Zooming in, panning up, left, and right … making a cut as if from one camera to another, and then zooming out to catch the whole scene … all the moves are possible.  The CAMERA function is independent of the CHARACTER function so that you can modify the Camera’s program without disturbing the Character’s program, and vice versa.

Fine motions are possible.

The animated motions that you can create with Miku Miku Dance can be as smooth as silk or as rough as you want them! As the cartoonist, you create Key Frames … and MMD creates the in-between frames … so that you do not have to “draw” every single pose. You can create and save POSE and MOTION elements which helps to speed your production by allowing you to quickly duplicate standard positions and movements. You can copy actions from one animation into another.

Miku Miku Dance has some elegant features, too. Mass, velocity, and momentum formulas are embedded in the characters which allows the fabrics, hair, belts and other attributes of the character to bounce, flap, and flow in a natural way with the motion of the character. There is a Gravity setting which is adjustable in all three axis so that you can increase the bounce along the vertical axis or simulate a wind front to back, side to side, or in combination. These features make it easy for the cartoonist to create lifelike actions and saves him from the chore of having to draw each flap of fabric or curl of hair.

You will want to own software to edit and mix your own movies. MikuMikuDance does allow you to include WAV sound files with your animation and there is an oscilloscope view in a small screen on the MMD control panel that lets “see” the WAV file so that you can match your model to the beat of the song and, perhaps, attempt to lip-sync your model to the lyrics.

MikuMikuDance  is fun … it’s cute … and it’s a challenge to operate! The human eye is very sensitive to human movements. Each motion has to look “just right” or the viewer will be distracted by the flaw. So … practice, practice, practice! See the videos on the web. Some are nice … some are rough. Let’s “Learn How to Do Everything” so that our animations will be the best ones on the web!


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