||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (August 2013)|
A model of Hatsune Miku rendered in MMD
|Original author(s)||Yu Higuchi (樋口 優)|
|Initial release||February 24, 2008|
|Stable release||9.26 / December 2014|
|Development status||Active as of June 1, 2013|
|Operating system||Windows 2000 and later|
|Available in||Japanese, English|
MikuMikuDance, very commonly abbreviated to MMD, is a freeware animation program that lets users animate and create 3D animation movies, originally produced for the Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku. The MikuMikuDance program itself was programmed by Yu Higuchi (HiguchiM) and has gone through significant upgrades since its creation. Its production was made as part of the VOCALOID Promotion Video Project (VPVP).
The software allows users to import 3D models into a virtual space that can be moved and animated accordingly. The positioning of the 3D figures can be easily altered, the facial expressions can be altered (as long as the model has morphs to use), and motion data can be applied to the model to make it move. Along with these functions for models, accessories, stages, and backgrounds can be added to create an environment, and effects such as lens flares and AutoLuminous (an effect that makes things glow and light up) can be applied as long as the MikuMikuEffect (MME) plugin is installed into the interface. Sound and music can also be added to create music videos, short films, and fan-made stories. The motion data used to animate the characters and the pose data mainly used for making screenshots can be exported as .vmd (Vocaloid Motion Data) files and .vpd (Vocaloid Pose Data) files, respectively. The exported files can then be imported into other projects made with software that can use the file types. This allows users to share the data with other users. The software also uses the Bullet physics engine. Users can also use Microsoft's Kinect for motion capturing. map shadowing, screenshot rendering in several picture file formats and full movie rendering in the .avi file format are also possible.
With the exception of a few models, stages, motion data and accessories that come with the software upon download, all content, including the 3D models, is distributed by the users, meaning all rules and restrictions (or lack thereof) vary greatly from case to case. Most models' rules may be found in its Readme file, which may be a .txt, pdf or a webpage file. The creator, HiguchiM, has stated he can make no promises regarding how other users' fan models can or cannot be used, and is exempt from all responsibility relating to this subject. Models created by other users are often available for public download. As MikuMikuDance is exclusively a posing and animation software, modelers use 3D modeling software, such as Blender or Metasequoia, to create the model and UV map, while the majority of conversion to the MMD platform (such as facial morphs, bones and physical bodies) it is done with a program made exclusively for MMD model conversion, PMD Editor or its successor PMX editor.
The software itself comes with a small number of models of well-known Vocaloids and an invisible grid, to which particle effects can be attached to in MME, a stage, some accessories, and two samples of what MMD can do, in the form of .pmm files; the file type that MMD projects are saved as. The software was originally only released in Japanese, however an English version was released at a later date. Videos using the software are regularly seen on sites such as Nico Nico Douga and YouTube and are popular among Vocaloid fans and users alike. A magazine which hands out exclusive models with every issue was also produced owing to this popularity. Some models for Vocaloid may also be used for Vocaloid music, going on to be used by studios working with the Vocaloid software.
Many people also buy Windows 100% magazines which give models exclusive to the public. These come out once every month and due to popularity, model creators are giving out secret models, as well as the models people have paid for. Most of these tend to be Vocaloid or models that do not have a particular copyright holder.
On May 26, 2011, continual updating of the software came to an end and the last version was released. In a closing statement, the creator left the software in the hands of the fans to continue building upon. Despite this, the source code has not been released, and the developer has no intentions of doing so, making it impossible for people to continue building upon the original software. However, there are alternative programs that provide similar functionality, such as MikuMikuMoving (MMD's "replacement" that is updated frequently and has many of the features of MMD, as well as new file formats unique to the program, support for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display and a new UI, among other features), and the free software, Blender.
Between then and now, there have been several additions to MMD version 7.39, mainly the addition of the x64 version, which runs better than the normal version and is designed to use the power of 64-bit computers that 32-bit computers lack. This results in better performance, faster render times, and higher quality, to name a few. However, on June 1, 2013, MikuMikuDance's creator began to release updates for the program very suddenly. After he began releasing updates again, there have been 18 new versions and the 64-bit versions of them: Before June 1, the latest version was 7.39dot, which was released on May 26, 2011. MMD ver. 7.39dot received several program updates between its initial release and the time of ver. 7.39m's release. Most of these updates were only made to increase compatibility with newer, more advanced .pmx models. It is unknown why the creator began editing the software again.
Major file types associated with MMD
MMD can use files of several different types. These are the major ones:
|File Format||Name of File Extension||Usage in MMD|
|.pmm||PolygonMovieMaker File||MMD uses this format when saving and opening project files.|
|.emm||MME Savefile||MikuMikuEffect uses this format when saving and opening the effects used in MMD projects. They are saved automatically when MMD projects using MME effects are saved by MMD.|
|.fx||Direct3D Effects File||MikuMikuEffect uses this format to open effects for use in projects.|
|.x||DirectX Model File||MMD uses this format to open accessory files, such as a sword, a microphone, etc.|
|.vmd||Vocaloid Motion Data||MMD uses this format when saving and opening the motion data for models, accessories, the camera and lighting, etc.|
|.vpd||Vocaloid Pose Data||MMD uses this format when saving and opening the pose files for models: their positioning when the .vpd file was created.|
|.avi||Audio Video Interleave File||MMD uses this format when rendering projects into videos, as well as when loading videos into the background of a project.|
|.bmp||Bitmap Image File||.bmp is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.jpg||JPEG Image||.jpg is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.png||Portable Network Graphic||.png is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.dds||DirectDraw Surface||.dds is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.dib||Device Independent Bitmap File||.dib is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.pfm||Portable Float Map||.pfm is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.hdr||High Dynamic Range Image File||.hdr is one of the several picture formats that MMD can render to when it renders screenshots. These files can also be loaded into the background of a project.|
|.wav||WAVE Audio File||MMD uses the .wav file format when opening sound and music to play in MMD. Since MMD cannot be used to create sound files, it does not save anything using this format.|
|.pmx||MikuMikuDance Model File||Many models (and some accessories) for MMD are .pmx files. They usually have morphs that can alter their appearance in some way. Morphs for .pmx files can be more advanced than those for .pmd files, and can alter model transparencies, colors of components on models, positioning of model bones, etc.|
|.pmd||MikuMikuDance Model File||Most models (and some accessories) for MMD are .pmd files. They usually have morphs that can alter their appearance in some way.|
|.vac||MikuMikuDance Accessory Settings File||.vac files are the settings for accessories in MMD. They can be loaded to automatically position .x accessory files to a saved location. They can be considered the .vpd and .vmd files for .x accessory files, since they can also give accessories motion.|
|.vsq||VOCALOID2 Project File||.vsq files are the save files of projects in the VOCALOID2 engine (the VOCALOID3 engine saves projects using the newer, more advanced .vsqx format). MMD can load .vsq files to allow models to lipsync the vocals of songs that were made using the VOCALOID2 engine. As of MMD ver. 8.03, .vsqx files are not supported.|
The software was released as freeware. The models of the Vocaloid mascot series provided with the software are subject to the PiaPro Character License, and are not allowed to be used without permission for commercial reasons. Although the software is distributed freely, models released independently of the software may not be — original produced models, motion data, and landscapes may be subject to their creator's own rules. The program does not standardly include all of the Vocaloid characters, but it includes Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, Kaito, Meiko, and Megurine Luka. And although the next three characters are not official Vocaloids, they became so popular that Crypton officially licensed and added them to Project Diva: Yowane Haku, Kasane Teto, and Akita Neru.
MMD also has a related freeware called Dance X Mixer where characters can be made in any way people like and the indoor and outdoor stages exist. To bring characters to life, you can make them talk, sing, dance and do other actions.
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