Yu Higuchi is the developer behind MikuMikuDance (MMD) for Windows. The software is free to use and lets you create animations and videos. It's helpful if you have a PC with a strong graphics card and a mouse to use this software.
The star of MMD is Hatsune Miku. Fans use the software to create various 3D animated characters and share them as videos on YouTube and other sites. With this software, you get started using the available tools included or add special effects with the MikuMikuEffects (MME) library. Or you can try Blender, which is an open-source option to create 2D or 3D animations.
Download and install
After downloading MMD, extract the ZIP file on your desktop. You don’t need to install this software, as it runs from the folder on your desktop. Double-click the exe file to start MMD. Have a look at the sample.pmm file to get an idea of what you can do with the software.
Creating animations with MMD
The MMD user interface presents you with many options. Open a model by selecting ‘Load’ in the brown model manipulation box. Now, use the different colored boxes at the bottom to put together your animation. You can manipulate the model, camera, light, self-shadow, and view. There’s also an option to change the interpolation curve.
At the top left, you will find the frame counter, which shows your current frame, as well as buttons to navigate through them. At the top right, you’ll find a magnifying glass and arrows to move up, down, left and right.
In manipulation mode, you can select one or more bones and use red, green and blue rollers to generate movement. Click ‘Register’ to save your move, and use the frame rate to ensure smooth movement.
You use a camera view to see your model from all angles by right-clicking and dragging the stage area. Roll the thumbwheel on your mouse to zoom in and out. Once again, click ‘Register’ in the camera panel to save the new view or angle.
Complex animation software
Use MikuMikuDance for free to generate animations and videos. It’s easy to install and run from a folder on your desktop. But since it is a complex program to master and needs a considerable amount of computing power, it’s not for everyone. But if you decide to take on the challenge, it’s best to follow the tutorials on learnmmd.com to build your character animations.