(Images used for review purposes only.)
I want to be a Vocaloid Producer, vol. 26, 1,500 yen, plus tax.
New magazine features:
In the 4-panel comic, Rana is wandering around the school wondering where everyone has gone. Meanwhile, the school staff is in Rana’s room, preparing to throw her a surprise birthday party and they’re starting to ask why she’s so late in getting back. The classroom section talks about the use of noise in electronica music, and introduces two new synth plug-ins for Singer-Song Writer (see below). There’s also a mention of the most recent 2 dance stages – Night View and Arena – as being a kind of sop for the students that don’t get to travel on international trips because their study schedules are so strict (that is, if they can’t travel, they can at least stand on one of the stages and pretend they’re in Hong Kong or Greece). The genre this time is electronica, and the featured artist is Miktronica. The MMD tutorial section introduces the Greek Colosseum-inspired arena, and the Unity-inspired ribbon models. The final page talks about Unity (a video game development community), and their official Japanese mascot – Unity-chan (see cover above).
The VST plug-ins are:
Oscine Tract and Wind, from xoxos.net
— Oscine Tract models bird songs.
Vinylizer, from Plektronfx.com
— Vinylizer adds the skips and scratches you get from old vinyl records.
New DVD Features:
No pick-up artist this time.
The extras include the arena dance stage, and Unity ribbon accessory model files for MMD. And, there’s a jpg image of Rana saying “Don’t pirate or illegally copy this software”. The MMD models are good, but I’m not seeing a lot of call by users for the “don’t forge me” picture.
(“How to use the camera.”)
While the magazine talks about electronica, the video tutorial goes into great depth regarding soul, and how the soul genre uses different motifs for the melody. There’s virtually no mention of electronica at all, while the demo song itself doesn’t remind me of either format. In fact, I think it’s got a bit of a fast, bouncy goth vibe to it. Anyway, the video just discusses the theory behind the construction of the melody for the demo song (“Little Hunter”) and has no instructional element to it this time.
The focus is on the use of noise within an electronica song, and how to generate it. The first of the two approaches shown here are to use the Alpha3 plug-in, and mess with the envelope, filter and noise mix settings to get a hissy pink noise effect that varies with the pitch of the notes on the piano roll. The second approach is to take an analog instrument loop, such as a bass guitar, or one of the drum voices, and cut and paste only the attack portions of the envelope on the piano roll. The publishers refer to the results as “glitch types”, and the second approach as “cut up”. Then, the Alpha3 has the filter MIDI cc code mapped to the Velocity settings in the strip chart, so when you change Vel for each of the notes, Filter Cutoff varies instead. With the second approach, the publishers go to the SSW Mixer to play with the Distortion and BitCrusher settings for the Drum channel. In this example, Distortion works more like Reverb, while BitCrusher applies a Sample and Hold to the track, making it very noisy for large Sample Divide values and small Bit Widths. They demo BitCrusher on Rana’s vocal track as well, creating some really ugly muddy sounds with high pitched ring noise. Interesting, but of rather limited use outside of turning the vocals a little bit mechanical. The finished demo song has so much noise on Rana’s voice that it’s sort of painful on the ears. The good part is that the tutorial does encourage a lot of experimenting by the student.
(Rana 1.1 with the Unity ribbon accessory and the “Europe arena” (AKA: the Colosseum) stage.)
This section is primarily just laying down the basics for using the camera, relating terminology (fixed shot, pan, zoom, dolly and rotate) with how MMD handles the camera for each move, and what it looks like on the screen. This is then coupled with the need to storyboard the camera along with the rest of the video components to establish the mood or atmosphere you want before you get started. It’s all just primer. The main warning is to avoid changing focal length while doing close-ups of Rana’s face because you’re going to get an unpleasant fish eye effect (unless that’s what you’re trying to get).
In a way, I get the feeling that using Singer Song Writer is really more a matter of picking whatever vocal track you’ve pre-recorded, and then building up the instrumentals behind it. What I mean is that using Rana is kind of getting in the way of what the music could sound like. Sure, she’s just another instrument and the point is to create a finished song using her, but in the last few demo songs, the editors have her voice pitched so high that it clips fairly badly and sounds auto-tuned. It’d be just as easy to record your own voice, save it as a .wav file and import that to SSW. The software works the same either way and it might be a lot less work…