Alright, so here starts my newest excursion into the coding world: 3D modeling. I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time on games like VRChat with my friends, and it’s gotten to the point that I want to try my hand at creating my own content in the third dimension. So, today I set out to learn what the heck this all entails. And let me tell you, it’s a fucking doozy.
Now, I’m not going to say that I haven’t lightly experimented with this before; last year, I successfully imported a model into Unity, rigged it, and uploaded it to VRChat via their SDK. But that was as far as I got, and I never attempted anything else in that same vein. The thought always lingered in the back of my mind though, so I guess this was a long time coming.
I knew I would at least need Unity for this (as to upload content to VRChat, you have to go through their SDK). So, I downloaded the latest version and crossed it off my list. [As a side note, I’ll include links to all of this stuff at the bottom of the post.]
Up next was Blender, which is used for creating the actual models themselves. Now, I’ve fiddled with Blender before, and in my opinion it’s one of the craziest, most awkward programs I’ve ever experienced. The controls are absolutely nothing like what you’d expect, so learning Blender is weird to say the least. They say that it’s designed for ease of use by artists, but coming from Photoshop, absolutely nothing works the way I want it to. That’s okay though, I’m always up for a challenge. So, I grab the latest version of Blender and pop open one of the tutorials I keep seeing posted around, only to find that my copy of Blender (2.81) looks completely different than theirs (2.70). Rather than mess around with trying to find the new settings in my latest copy, I simply uninstalled and downgraded to 2.70. Once I have a better idea as to what I’m doing, I may revert back.
Lastly, I needed MikuMikuDance, or MMD. This is a Japanese animation studio that was originally used for vocaloid performance videos. It’s now used to create animations for models simply and easily, and the animations can be ported for just about all models that are rigged properly. But I’m not interested in animations, you might be saying to yourself. You should still probably get it, because a lot of models that you can use for VRChat are uploaded as MMD files (.pmd, .pmx), which Blender and Unity can’t read.
Alright, so I downloaded all of the junk above, and sat myself down to think about what I wanted to create. Setting out to model something without actually knowing what it is you want to do is how you end up floundering around and learning nothing. I decided on a fairly simple goal (or so I thought): combine two of my favorite models from VRChat into one. The two in question are:
Using these two models, I would take Derp’s dumb face and transplant it (or “Frankenstein” it, as the process is commonly referred to) into the Penguin Suit’s hood.
Thankfully, the Penguin Suit comes faceless, so I won’t have to worry about selecting and removing anything there. The issue comes in that I’ll have to find a way to make these two models work together: the first one is a .pmx file, while the latter is a .unitypackage file. This is pretty much where I am now. I have both of these models open in their respective programs, but I need to be able to smash them together. If I had to wager a guess, I’m most likely going to have to import both of them into Blender and combine them there, then import back to Unity and add the details necessary. Another big plus, bobilly89 included texture maps for his model so I can see how he did it and create my own, most likely using Photoshop.
This is going to be a long, stressful project for me (since I’m impatient and want instant results), but it’ll be a great learning experience, and hopefully afterwards I can start attempting to make my own custom models for use.
Here goes nothing!