Bokaro P ni Naritai, vol. 18

(Images used for review purposes only.)

I want to be a Vocaloid Producer, vol. 14, 1,500 yen, plus tax.

New magazine features:
In the 4-panel comic, Rana has gotten lazy during the Golden Week break, and wants to keep sleeping. Robo-panda rouses her by announcing that everyone else that entered the school at the same time as her has been uploading finished music videos to Nico Nico. The classroom section then goes on to describe 10 of the videos already online. There’s also descriptions of 2 new accessories – Rana’s headphones, and a Trance version of Morio (Robo-panda). The next music genre article is for Trance, and the interview is with Hana Soumen. The SSW tutorial includes more detail on using the Alpha Delay and SSWGMS Autopan effects. MMD mentions the stuffed toy accessory file, and lists all of the visual effects packages included on the DVD. The final page talks about the UR12 USB audio data capture box from Steinberg, and this volume’s pick-up artist, Daiki Ogawa.

New DVD Features:
Pick-up song: Word and World. This is a simple J-pop ballad that sounds really auto-tuned. The instrumentals are ok, but the vocals are distracting.

Lots of stuff for MMD, including the stuffed toy and 10 effects plug-ins. There’s a copy of the Live Stage model, for anyone that missed buying the earlier volume that had that on the DVD. Oddly, instead of the headphones, we get Rana’s guitar accessory again. I’m not sure if this was intentional, or if the publisher screwed up (we never did get the other instrument file that was spotlighted in the magazine months ago, the keyboard sax, I think). We’re now also missing the Trance Morio model.

(MMD page with Beemuman-P explaining how to use effects in a Rana video. The scan came out muddy; the original page with the ColorShake effect in the left-middle doesn’t look this bad.)

Simple continuation on music theory, focusing on creating melodies following fixed patterns, such as having a 4-note sequence repeated 3 times, and then adding a variation of the sequence for the fourth sequence, repeating this full section a couple times, and then changing to higher, longer notes for the “B melody” section. Not a lot of content, but possibly useful to people new to the idea of writing canned music.

The SSW tutorial discusses drum fills and synthesizer effects as used in Trance music. Initially, this is just a matter of opening up the phrase list window, picking the Trance genre and Drums instruments, choosing which pre-written rhythms you want to use and then dragging and dropping the desired phrases into the A:Fill track where you want them. For the synth sounds, two of the pre-loaded tracks are for arpeggio and SuperSaw (SuperSaw was a waveform provided by the Roland JP-8000 synthesizer back in the 90’s.) In the Mixer, send the SuperSaw output to Alpha_SSW9, and attach the Delay effect to the Alpha_SSW9 channel. Set the Delay Balance to 22.5 to get a popping sound. Next, Arp goes to the SSWGMS channel, and we set that to Modulation -> Auto Pan. Done. The last part of the tutorial is a playback of the finished demo song, “Identity”.

(Screen cap from the demo video from the DVD showing AutoLuminous, LiveLaser and WorkingFloor. Note that the model file for this tutorial keeps crashing my laptop’s video card, so I can’t render the finished file myself.)

The first half of the tutorial is just instructions on where to copy the files from the DVD to various folders on the PC, plus a run-through of the finished project file. This is followed by a step-by-step breakdown of the effects (ColorShake, ExcellentShadow, LiveLaser, RanaToon, etc.) used at each stage by their guest artist, Beemuman. For the most part Beemuman breaks the stages up into applying the Base Effects, Kime (grain), Makeup, Camera and Lighting, then Preview. AutoLuminous, RanaToon, ExcellentShadow and PostAlphaEye are the base effects, adding lighting to white objects and making Rana look more 2-D. “Kime” includes ColorShake (applied sparingly for when Rana stops after big, sudden actions) and LiveLaser (for the laser show sections).  “Makeup” consists of WorkingFloor, SoftSmoke, SoftParticleEngine and PostMovie. WorkingFloor provides a spotlight effect, while SoftSmoke and SoftParticleEngine can haze out the harsher lights or add smoke pots. PostMovie is applied to the guitar for various tweaks. Once the affects are applied, Beemuman sets the keyframes for animating the camera movement and lighting, then goes through a preview-tweak loop phase.

The DVD does come with a pre-loaded movie data file, but the .x and .pmx files are all in different directories than what I’m using. I spent several minutes browsing to the correct folders, only to have the movie crash windows before I could save the updates. I restarted my laptop, and tried again with all of the other windows closed, and I got hit with a series of “display controller stopped working, has restarted” messages before MMD crashed. I guess there’s just so many effects running at one time (or that one of them is 64-bit) that my little 32-bit laptop can’t cope with it all. In any event, I can’t complete this tutorial.

Additional comments:
I’d mentioned in the past that I kind of dislike the need to buy every other volume in order to get the serial numbers for extending the lifetimes of the different software packages. Lately, though, this hasn’t been as necessary. I think the last set of serial numbers came out close to 2 months ago. So, that part’s getting a little better. The missing accessories, though, like the sax, and Trance Morio and the headphones this issue, do highlight a certain sloppiness on the publishing side. Having MMD crash my laptop HARD was also a double-plus ungood. The fully rendered MMD demo music video on the DVD looks really nice, though, and I’m getting ready to make my first background sound file in SSW for a time-lapse video project I’m working on.

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