Bokaro P ni Naritai, vol. 25

(Images used for review purposes only.)

I want to be a Vocaloid Producer, vol. 25, 1,500 yen, plus tax.
New magazine features:
In the 4-panel comic, Rana is panicking because she can’t draw the artwork for her video storyboard, and Robo-Panda ends up doing all of it for her. In the classroom section, Rana learns about some of the folk music instruments that are included in the General MIDI instruments file, such as the fiddle, the tin whistle, the Janbe (a kind of hand drum), the conga drum, the Irish harp and the sitar. The music genre this time is folk pop, and the interview is with folk pop artist Yanagi. The SSW section discusses the various scales for some of the string folk instruments (the Sou (similar to the koto) and the shamisen), while the MMD section shows some of the facial expressions you can get with the Rana model, as well as mentioning the new Asian cityscape dance stage model. The final page describes the W1 Limiter effects package from Yohng, and the Ambience program from Magnus. The pick-up artist is Hayakawa. He likes using Studio One 2, and the Zola Project vocaloid voice package.

(Screen shot for the W1 Limiter package.)

(Screen shot for Ambience.)

New DVD Features:
Not a lot of new content this time.
The pick-up song is “Chouyo Hanayo” (literally, it’s “butterfly, flower”, but it’s actually a fixed expression meaning, “Bringing your daughter up like a princess”). Unlike most of the previous pick-up songs, this one uses a deeper, male voice (KYO, from Zola Project) and is a fairly decent pop rock piece. It’d be almost impossible to tell the vocals apart from a real, live singer. It certainly doesn’t sound like any of the real-life cookie cutter j-pop boy bands that are popular in Japan now.

The MMD data files include the Asia stage, and ten hand poses for Rana.

(4-panel comic plus 1/2 of the classroom section on folk instruments.)

The first half of the tutorial talks about the different major and minor scales. This is followed by a short demonstration of the harmonic minor scale used in the demo song and then a playback of the full song itself – “Last Dream”. There are no instructions here lesson-wise for the student to follow along with. The song is kind of a heavier rock piece that uses ethnic instruments. Pretty fun.

Part of the video just focuses on the Sou (like a koto), and gives examples of the scale it’s tuned for. Then we get the demo song and suggestions for tweaking the notes to match them up with the harder rock feel of the song. The publishers then repeat this pattern with the Shamisen, but add some touches for vibrato as well. They finish off with a mention of the Japanese flute, and a replay of the full song.

(Example expressions.)

The primary concern this time is on believable facial expressions, blinking, and whether to move Rana’s eyes when her lids are down or up. Everything is then tied together with last volume’s “Happy Birthday song” video, combining body poses and facial expressions to get different emotional effects throughout the video. The tutorial ends with Rana doing a simple sideways step dance in front of the Asia stage, and the promise of covering camera work in the next volume.

(Rana in mid-swirl using an earlier motion file, plus the Asia stage.)

Additional comments:
Lots of lecturing this time. If you want to follow along in the work files, you can, but the idea seems to be more one of “here’s some ideas, now go along and use them in your own work, on your own time.” Which would be fine, if I had enough free time myself…

Anyway, only 5 volumes left. Back last year, I had strong ambitions of making a fairly difficult video using Gershon Kingsley’s “Popcorn”, with Rana running around the set throwing Robo-panda in the air Now, there’s absolutely no chance of even transcribing the music, much less doing the animation. I really wish I was independently wealthy. Sigh. On the other hand, I still intend to use Rana for something else, regardless of how long it takes to get to it. With luck, I’ll be able to keep buying the remaining volumes, so I can mail in the proof of purchase seals and get the serial numbers to unlock the commercial versions of all the software when all of this is done.

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