After breakfast this morning I decided I wanted to give Rin a hug.
It’s one of the Zero-to-450.com Challenges offered on that site. The challenge is simple: Rin needs a hug… give Rin a hug. The idea is to create your own animation from scratch with a 15-second, 450-frame time limit.
My new “Rin Needs a Hug” Animation
The hug, itself…
My plan was to create a nice embrace that I would set-up in frame 320, or so… knowing I had a 450-frame limit… and then start animating from frame zero so as to culminate in that nice hug. I spent, like, an HOUR setting-up that hug pose in frame zero. I started to form the hug based upon my mental image… and then I decided I should get an actual reference picture. I Googled animation reference hug pose and found that nice reference image which I printed-out and kept desk-side as I worked.
The problem was complicated by the fact that those Animasa models do not have “human” proportions! For instance, take a look at that reference image… see how the lady’s right elbow extends well across the man’s rib-cage. Rin’s short little arms cannot DO that! So I had to strike a balance between that sketch and the reality of my MMD world.
Change of story-line…
Now that I had the pose, I was proud of it and wanted you to be able to see it from all sides. If I stuck to my original “getting into the hug” plot-line, there wouldn’t be time to show-off the pose… so I decided to start with the hug already under way in frame zero and run the camera in a full circle around the models.
I didn’t want to bore you… not even for the 15-seconds of my animation, so I decided to add a little drama by having someone peeking into that private moment. Miku?… maybe… Neru? Oh yeah! That Animasa Neru model can really burn with anger!… perfect!
I chose to have this “event” happen at school… I used the “MMD inside of School” from Harner Productions (ShikaneNara on Devialn Art). It’s a rather large complex with hallways and fully furnished classrooms. I attached it to a dummybone and slid the whole stage until the portion I wanted to use was at my stage-center.
I actually started the scene in a classroom but then decided to take it out into the hall.
I always try to keep the camera moving in my animations… never let it sit still… and in THIS animation, that was no problem. I circled around my models and then raced-over to see Neru peeking around the corner… and then time was up!… 450 frames go by very quickly! I used an interpolation curve in every registered camera position; usually a simple S-curve, diamond to diamond… I experimented with several shapes.
Lighting and Effects…
The position of the main lights was very important to the look of these models. I slid the sliders around until I could see nice shadows on the faces. I chose to add the SSAO-Lite effect to get a nice depth of color. I also used the Blackout effect to fade-in-from-black and a final fade-to black.
Creating my soundtrack was the final step. In my collection of WAV files I had the “Mars bringer of War” by Gustav Holst… the piece of music I used in an earlier “fight scene” video I had made… and I decided to use it for the final moments as we zero-in onto Neru’s angry face.
For the gentle opening-scene music, I Googled Folk Guitar WAV file and found a link to BenSound.com where I found a nice piece of royalty-free music.
I opened Audicity… and imported my old “Mars” WAV… I opened a new window and dropped my mP3 into it… Then I copy/pasted the resulting Audacity tracks into my “Mars” window. I did a little editing… audio fade-in/fade-outs… chopped it off at 16-seconds… and did an Export as a WAV file. Audacity makes it easy to do these things.
FOUR HOURS… !
Seems like these 15-second Zero-to-450 challenge animations always take me at least three or four hours! Crazy to think that for four hours effort, I get 15-seconds of video. But there is concept… and bending that concept into reality with your animation… and then fine-tuning the animation, the camera, the lighting… putting together the WAV file… getting everything”just right”… making a test Render to AVI in which you spot something requiring your attention… It just takes time. Luckily it is all fun to do… and I’ve got plenty of time.
The “Rin Needs a Hug” idea is only one of several “Challenges” offered to you at Zero-to-450.com, where the tagline is REALLY Learn MMD! The goal is to offer an MMDer ideas for animations from scratch; made easier by making them be only 15-seconds long. You will find that once you get started… those 450 frames go by very quickly!
Have fun with MikuMikuDance!
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