Thursday, 25 December 2014

Pokemon meets MMD!! (aka A Pokemon -themed beginner's guide to MMD)

If you have been on the internet as of late you may have noticed a new trend sweeping sites such as Youtube and Tumblr involving what appears to be in-game models of Pokemon characters, most prominently Maxie, Archie and Steven, busting a move or two to the tune of some well known songs.
Reading through the comments of these videos I have noticed a number of people asking exactly how these are made so I thought I'd provide a run-down as well as provide a bit of a concise beginner's guide to MMD using Pokemon models as an example to anyone who is interested.
An example of the videos I am talking about are these two in featuring Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire bad guys Archie and Maxie as well as Champion Steven and the male protagonist:

First and foremost, these are made using a program known as Miku Miku Dance (often abbreviated as MMD). Using MMD it is possible to import 3D models of characters and, well, as the name of the program suggests...make them dance!

MMD can be downloaded for free in English from here (make sure you get the latest version):
http://www.geocities.jp/higuchuu4/index_e.htm

Got the program? Good! If you open it, it should look something like this:

It looks rather empty at the moment so next we need the dancers aka the 3D models to import into MMD.
The source of these 3D models is usually DeviantArt where a lot of users are kind enough to post up their MMD models for general use. Here are just some of them: http://mmdsatoshi.deviantart.com/favourites/55779542/Pokemon-Models

There are also stages you can download from around the internet (DeviantArt is a good starting place for resources though!) so the background isn't just plain and white.
Once the models are downloaded and you unzip the folders you should these .pmx files in each of them.
If you have the latest version of MMD you can simply drag and drop the file into MMD from the task bar. If all's good you should run into a prompt similar to this:
Click "OK" and voila! (do the same for each individual character model you want)

At this point you would have your character(s) just standing there so time to animate them! There are two ways to do this: a) individually pose your characters using the rotation tools frame by frame b) download some pre-made motion data. In regards to the dance moves you see in the majority of MMD videos, more often than not they're made using pre-made motion data which is imported alongside character models and stages in a similar manner to how you imported the other things (except you have to keep in mind that for some parts of motion data you need to be in the camera/lighting mode).

Some of the more popular motion data used in MMD videos is some choreography to Britney Spears's Womanizer which can be found available for download here:
http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm23154603 (password is "open")

Once you click and drag your motion data for each model & add a stage and some music give yourself a high five because you've just made your very first MMD music video!

& that concludes this guide! Feel free to share with me your creations and ask if you need any help on anything else or just tell me what you thought of this article in the comments section below :) Considering MMD is a program with many different features and there's a lot to cover, I might do future posts on it with more in-depth tutorials and links to more free-to-use MMD resources. 

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