Bokaro P ni Naritai, vol. 13

(Images used for review purposes only.)

I want to be a Vocaloid Producer, vol. 6, 1,500 yen, plus tax.

New magazine features:
In the 4-panel comic, Rana is stuffing herself with the candies she got for White Day (Mar. 14) when Robo-panda yells at her to get to class. Teachers Jasmine and Satchan then eat the remaining candy. The classroom section covers how to upload a finished music video to youtube. Next, there’s a discussion of New Pops music and an interview with Band Sound genre composer Last Note. There’s a bit more talk about notes, scales and chords, then the last page highlights the Cyber Diva package, and the pickup artist is Nana again.

New DVD Features:
The pickup song is a bouncy little piece by Nana, called Electrotrain. Very buzzy, and it sounds like Rana has been heavily autotuned.

The MMD accessory file this time is another dance stage – Class Room.

It looks like the publisher has decided to stop including voice sample files. Instead, we get the finished video of Rana doing the sidestep dance in the Chocolate Room from volume 12.

(MMD tutorial detail for Rana doing a dance spin turn.)

The primary goal this time is to get Rana to whisper. This is pretty easy, in that you right click on each phoneme in the music editor, choose Note Property, and then append “_0” to the end of the pronunciation part within the Phonetic field. It’s something of a pain, because you have to do each and every phoneme one at a time, though. Afterward, the volume will be too low, so you drag the portion of the track you want to edit into a separate blank track, bring up the Mixer and then change the Compressor settings for that track. Unfortunately, this does add noise, and you need to remove that as part of the SSW tutorial. The next part is to add a bit of hissing to the beginning of a word that starts with “Shu”. To do this, go to the other blank track, add a new phoneme in the same place as “Shu”, set the new phoneme to “Shu” and open Note Property to change Phonetic to “Shu_0”. This causes “shu” to be sung twice, but the second one is in a whisper, making the overall effect more sibilant.

And, I finally figured out why I can’t work with anything shorter than quarter notes in the editors – for some reason my version of the demo song files are set to “Quantize” 1/4 notes. I changed this to 1/8 and everything works better now.

I was hoping for the use of a noise removal filter. Instead, the tutorial discusses the use of Automation to zero out the volume at points in the whisper track where the pops occur. Automation is a misnomer, because nothing’s actually being automated here. Instead, you have a parameter (i.e. – volume) level than can be segmented and dragged so that a particular track will be affected more or less by that parameter at specific points. It’s automatic in that you can create linear ramps between points and SSW will figure out how to take the steps between those points, but that’s about it. In any event, you can use the Volume parameter track under each instrument, or click on the Controller Entry button in the toolbar, select Volume from the pulldown and then manually enter start and end points for the ramp and if you want the ramp to go from 0 to 100, or whatever other values you need. And this works for both analog samples and MIDI tracks. So, what you do is look for “bursts” in the whisper tracks, which represent a noise pop, and set the volume to 0 only for that burst.

In the last volume, there was a discussion of the Chip Tune genre, which uses the sounds from 80’s video games. To get something of that “chip” sound, you can turn the Equalizer (EG Bandpass) effect on and off. This can be done from the mixer for the entire song by assigning EQ to Output 1 and then clicking the On/Off button. OR, you can go to the automation track for Output 1, change that to EQ Bandpass, and set the levels as you like throughout the song. In the tutorial, you set EQ to 0 for the first 10 bars, and jump to 100 for the rest of the song. This gives the feel of listening to the beginning of the song on a cheap transistor radio and then switching to a good stereo amp.

Ok, honesty time again. I didn’t even try to do the exercises for MMD for this volume. In part I was just too busy over the last two weeks to get to it, and in part I’m at the point where I want to do something other than recreate dance video poses. The tutorial concentrates on creating a pirouette cycle for Rana. There’s a motion file for the foot movement, but we’re supposed to set the key frames for Rana’s arm and head rotations, and modify the motion curves to speed up and slow down appropriately at the keys. There’s nothing really new for MMD itself; instead, the majority of the lesson concentrates on dance video, and animation, theory. Eventually, all of the dance portions – the sidestep dance, the turn, and another movement cycle coming up in the next volume, will be stitched together to make a full video.

(Rana starting the pirouette, in the new classroom stage.)

As mentioned above, I’m starting to think of a project I want to do for myself, so rather than following through on the future tutorials, I’m going to try to make time for my project, and hope that a future volume will have the kind of accessory dance stage that I need.

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