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Cool Find: MikuMikuMoving, a new 3D animation creation program to replace MikuMikuDance

MikuMikuMoving LogoI’ve written before about MikuMikuDance (MMD), a really powerful (and totally free) 3D animation creation program put out by members of the Vocaloid fan community, that said community uses to create those really awesome Vocaloid videos you see on sites such as YouTube and NicoNicoDouga. (In fact it is often used to create videos from other fanbases as well.) The fact is that it is a really powerful 3D animation package, so powerful in fact that it has even been used to create anime.

Well I’m not entirely sure how I missed this bit of news when covering MMD, but as it turns out, MMD has been discontinued by its creator. The program is still available for download, and it runs on all Windows versions from XP up through Windows 7 and even the newly-released Windows 8. And apparently there are still a few fans trying to keep the flame alive and updating the code. And if you want to experiment with it yourself, there are really good tutorials online. But in my eyes, the writing is on the wall, eventually MMD may start to fade away.

However, do not worry, because a new contender has emerged! MikuMikuMoving is a completely re-engineered 3D animation creation app in the style of MMD, but with a more modern, easier to learn user interface. The good news is that the program claims to be 100% compatible with MMD format models and motion data, and indeed I was able to successfully load and use the K-ON! MMD models with no issues. Also, the program is available in both Japanese and English straight from the get-go, and the English translation seems fairly credible. (it is my understanding that the English translation of MMD came after the fact) And, like its predecessor MMD, MikuMikuMoving is also completely free.

If you feel like giving it a spin, head on over to the MikuMikuMoving site to find download links and a complete user’s manual. Tutorials are starting to appear as well. The program runs on all 32- and 64-bit Intel systems running Windows XP or later, including Windows 8.

Incidentally, if you’re of the Mac persuasion like I am, the good news is that the program does seem to run pretty nicely in emulation software such as Parallels or VMware Fusion. However you might be interested in a similar software project, MMDAI. Whie it doesn’t feel quite as finished/polished as MikuMikuMoving, the program is available natively for the Mac, and tutorials for it are starting to appear as well. So you might want to keep an eye on this project.

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