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Mobius's Journal

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
The "delay" is called "latency". I have 2 MIDI keyboards and I use them in Studio One, there isn't a lag. I DO have a lag with my guitar when I record it, though! The problem is because guitars aren't MIDI instruments and you have to hook it up to an audio box to record in real time. Studio One has their own (PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2x2 USB Audio Interface), so if you use a different brand of audio box (I have Behringer), there is lag and it's disorienting. When you use Studio One's audio box, they have a faster setting for allegedly no lag. But if you have a MIDI keyboard, you won't have to worry about getting an audiobox (all you need is a USB cord). If the keyboard is not MIDI, then you need an audio box.
Ah, that makes sense. I was wondering if I'd need a box. I'll be sure to make sure any keyboard I pick is USB then; I'd rather avoid the expense (and space, I suppose) of the extra hardware if I can. That's interesting to know about the analog-digital/digital-analog conversion, too--explains what the box is for and where some of the latency issues people talk about might come from.
Lastly, for using Miku's name/image in a song, it's perfectly fine if you aren't making money from it. But once you start wanting to put it on a CD and make loads of cash, then you have to get a character license. They don't care about tiny amounts of money (ex: paying for a table at a convention, paying to print a few short comics, and selling them because you are basically spending and gaining the same amount of money).
Thank you!
I did find a solution, which is usually selecting all notes after the fact and messing with Length, Quantize, and Stretch until I find something I like. I’d never used them before and just revently started to, and it is extremely helpful both with and without MIDI input. I would still say wait a bar or two before playing and just move the part back as to save from the beginning notes potentially getting cut off.
I'm glad you found a fix for the recording problems you were having, Kona! I'll keep those methods in mind, too--I'm sure I'll probably need them for something with/without the keyboard!

It sounds like we're pretty much all in agreement about the general size range I would be looking for. Since my goal is to make note input easier, I'd like to have a decently wide range of notes available without having to hit any buttons to shift up/down. Just as an estimate, Miku's advertised optimal vocal range is a little over an octave wide (though it can go a good bit further on the high end), so composing for her would seem to require 14 keys at a minimum. (As an aside, Ruby (I think? Or was it Cyber Diva....) is more or less similar in terms of breadth, IIRC, and Gumi is crazy wide.) Assuming the instrumental requires at least as much again on either side (since you don't want too many things to be in the same tonal range), I'm looking at 42 keys at a minimum. Honestly, I feel like the 25-key models are probably best for triggering stuff (like beats, loops, etc.) during live performances, rather than actually playing on like a traditional piano. On the other hand, of course, the number of keys looks to contribute dramatically to price, as well as the issue of simple space considerations. So I'd be looking to go middle of the road :) .

Thanks very much to you both!
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Overhead, gray clouds linger, as cold winds rush beneath. The sun comes through occasionally, but it won't try for much longer: the autumn is here. On the horizon, one can feel the coming of change.

I thought this would be a good time to post an update about what I've been doing for the past few weeks.

Melodyne
To begin with, Melodyne is just as awesome a program as I'd suspected. I'm only using it to identify notes from what I've recorded and turn them into MIDI events, but even in that, it's really impressive and useful. There are some caveats, though.

First, Melodyne comes in multiple tiers, and to be able to edit the detected notes inside Melodyne itself, you need to have a higher version than what you get with Studio One Pro--you need Melodyne Editor, at least, I believe. That's like the third tier, the tier below the third version, and it's a few hundred dollars. Melodyne's a badass tool, so I think it's worth the money, but it's something to be aware of. If you do decide to get a paid version of Melodyne, though (Though even their lowest version isn't free; you pay for it along with Studio One Pro, I suppose.), I'd recommend getting the lowest tier you can, as they are very solid about making the pricing tier fair. At the moment, you could upgrade from Elements (lowest tier) to one of the higher tiers, and if you needed to go higher still at some point, you could upgrade for only the difference in price. So you're not losing any money by being conservative in your purchasing. Really, really solid of them, since Melodyne isn't necessarily what I'd consider cheap, though like I said, it's probably worth it.

Second, Melodyne works best when you can give it a good recording. So don't do what I did and try to record on your cell phone in a secluded corner somewhere, as your results will be subpar and you'll have to spend lots of time cleaning up. (I didn't have a lot of choice, though--it was that or lose the idea.)

Songs
For those of you interested enough to read my journal, you will probably be happy to hear that I'm currently working on 3 songs. That is, there are three songs that may hopefully potentially see the outside world. (That second sentence probably is a bit of a let-down, but as I've scrapped a few songs/versions of songs by now, I'm trying to be honest.) Though the most recent one, I should admit, is extremely tenuous--I only have the lyrics for it (most of them, anyway). It's a cool idea where Miku beatboxes (Does that count as music? The planned instrumental for it would be really really simple....). The trouble is, I think it's really too dark and could hurt some feelings of people who would never hear it anyway; it's not like it's explicit, but still, it's something I should be careful about. It's the second iteration of a particular theme/subject, and I scrapped the previous one, too, partially for the very same reason (Which makes you wonder why I bothered generating the lyrics for version 2....). The other two, though, are more promising, and I'm really hoping that both of them will finally make it!

Vocal Doubler Plugin
I want to put a shout-out here to a free plugin I found, which I'm planning to use for one of the above songs. It's another iZotope one, the Vocal Doubler (Vocal Doubler Overview).

The premise behind it is one I sort of noticed on my own by accident and also read about elsewhere: if you have two identical instruents doing the same thing in your DAW, you'll only hear one instrument when you listen, and it will sound louder/fuller. That's basically the essence of doubling. People have been using that effect for a long while, apparently, simply by rendering the output of an instrument and layering the wav file over itself multiple times (i.e., putting the same wav file on multiple tracks and playing them together).

You could easily do that with your instruments/vocals, but the nice thing, I think, about this plugin is that you can continue editing your Vocaloid's output without rendering a new wav file each time. I don't know how well the plugin might work with instruments, though it's possible I'll try it out someday. Additionally, if you look at this blog post about the plugin (Double Tracking: 2 Basic Vocal Doubling Techniques), you can see that it can be set to change the amount of "space" between the original signal and the "double" signal, which can lead to different effects. I'm really looking forward to experimenting with it and am hoping for some good results!

(I'll also mention that I've been using the Nectar plugin, also, so I'm really glad to have been pointed toward iZotope back during the Nectar Elements giveaway!)

Lyrics
I'll close by mentioning that I'm also thinking about having Miku address the audience (so a large crowd of people) with a call out of something like "I love you!" during one of her songs. Thing is, having her use Japanese in the first place when it's not my primary language (or secondary language, outside of a few words I've picked up) is intended as a reference to/acknowledgement of her Japanese heritage, and the Japanese, as I understand, don't necessarily say those words with the same freedom/shades of meaning as Westerners do. I've done a bit of research and found 11 possible ways of saying "I love you" in Japanese (https://www.fluentu.com/blog/japanese/i-love-you-in-japanese/; There was another result that listed something like 45, but I'm sure that must be so excessive as to be nearly useless.), but the fact remains that this sentiment seems to be rarely expressed, even among married couples. As this is intended as a nod to Miku's cultural identity, I'd like to avoid eliciting the ire of the old-generation anime Japanese guy in my head who yells, "Loose, moral-less, ultra-Westernized girl!", so I'm wondering if anyone knows an expression that might be appropriate for this situation? As it is, assuming I go through with it, I'm leaning toward "aishiteruyo" (Which is supposedly such a strong phrase that using it is regarded as a joke; it's sometimes yelled by FANS of performers on stage. So somewhat the reverse of what would be the case here.), or possibly "sukida yo" (Which is somewhat shier and more reserved, as I understand.).

Ruby Pronunciation Trick
Oh, one more thing (So, I guess I wasn't done yet before.)--here's a pronunciation trick I picked up while working with Ruby. I don't know if other Vocaloids behave this way at various times, but I did see it with her:

Sometimes you might notice that your Vocaloid will pick a different pronunciation depending on what pitch you're playing. If you have Ruby sing "u:" at E3, you'll get a pronunciation that sounds like "oh;" if you move that up to F#3, you'll get "ooh." I wanted "ooh" at E3, but I was stuck for a little while on how I might get it.

It turns out that Ruby was picking her phonemes based on what pitch she was singing as per the piano roll; if I cheated and had her sing "u:" on F#3, but then used a flat pitch bend to shift that down to E3 for the duration of that note, she would sing "ooh" at an effective E3. Yay!
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Streams of icewater drips pour from the eaves. The summer sun, warm and gold, offers a final show of valiance against the coming cold, as the icy wind clears the sky.

Hey everyone!

It's been awhile! I've been kind of buried since the last time I wrote here (still am and will be for awhile, as a matter of fact), so I haven't been around as much as I'd like. But there's lots to update on.

I'd like to begin with a big thank-you to @Kona and @uncreepy for the info they've offered over the course of the last month or so!

Keyboard
The first item related to the above is the fact that I've picked out a MIDI keyboard! I got a 49-key Nektar, so it's sort of a combination of both of their recommendations. It was the only keyboard I examined that actually said it was designed with Studio One in mind (Not that others wouldn't have supported it, but none of them prominently claimed it.). Plus, it has both velocity-sensitive keys and the ability to adjust the velocity curve, or, I believe, make it flat. I can see the use of both, but it's good to have the flexibiltiy. I've tried it out, and it seems like a solid choice. As per the diagnostic steps they offered, everything seems to have mapped up perfectly, and I'm really looking forward to using it for actual work...once I get a little time to do some actual work. Getting the keyboard situated in the MikuCave (Which is what I sometimes call my studio, not because it's crammed with Miku merch (which it isn't), but since my work with her has a largely Rukia Kuchiki-like existence.) was a good bit of work, but it came out really well.

Sound Sets
The other item related to the above is the Zero-G sale, which concluded a few days ago. Thanks to that info, I picked up a number of useful things that should be useful for projects I've thought of over the past two years. There's a little for New-Age music, a little for a summery piece I've had in mind, and some other things besides. I'm really excited about what kinds of use I can make of them!

Kontakt
I've also started exploring Kontakt, as you can tell from the Kontakt resource I put together. The full version of Kontakt is...really expensive...but the player is free. I think to make use of effects and such, you might have to have the full software, but the player is really really useful for a starting point. It opens the door to a whole other instrument ecosystem outside of the VSTs sold by PreSonus/other places, and I've found some really good-sounding instruments there (also related to projects I've had in mind). Their workflow/documentation are somewhat confusing, from my point of view, so hopefully the resource will help with that for anyone else who is coming into Kontakt from scratch.

After all that, I'm really looking forward to getting back to actual work. Bargain-hunting is useful (and there's been a lot more opportunity for that lately than probably at any other time I've experienced), but buying new stuff alone isn't what makes better music--it's the work you do with it. So I'm glad to stop this somewhat alarming shopping spree and put these new tools into action.

(As an aside, it hasn't really been the best couple of weeks, aside from the above. Lots of pressure, lots of stress, though I've had worse. "Así es la vida," though it's easier to say that at the moment than it would have been a few days ago. I did have a really nice morning one Monday, though: I fell asleep Sunday after watching a Mirai video and woke up Monday morning with "Sand Planet" in my head. That made for a very nice day.)
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Something I forgot about yesterday: it seems that winter is more or less here, and whether you've seen it already or soon will, for many of us that means the arrival of snow and ice, along with the associated travel difficulties. I have no idea how it happened, but a number of years ago I realized that I'd developed a reasonably successful technique for coping with walking over ice. So I thought I'd share it here, and maybe people will find it useful.

How I Walk over Ice
It goes without saying that the wisest thing is to avoid walking on ice whenever possible. But sometimes you can't see it. Or sometimes you do what I sometimes do and take your life in your hands when the alternative is a huge detour, accepting the fact that if you slip and crack your head, it's your fault and you may or may not get help in time :miku3_move: (Don't do that if you can help it, it's stupid....).

Anyway, a few ground rules/points to keep in mind that don't really fall under the umbrella of "technique." This is as best I can figure it out from having avoided falling on the ice a number of times and having to look back and wonder how I did it:
  • I'm a reasonably self-aware person, by which I mean, in this context, that I'm aware of the state of my body and its position in space. This is really something that everyone is, and I honestly have no frame of reference to compare my own awareness to anyone else's. But some of the things I have done over the years have impressed me with the degree of cognizance I seem to have in this area without realizing it.
  • When I'm walking, I'm not focusing on much else. Not that walking is so difficult that it requires intense concentration or anything; I just typically don't let my mind wander too much while traveling for whatever reason. Probably because I'm often in a hurry, for one thing.
  • When I walk, I don't lift my feet too far off the ground. I'd estimate that my heel stays about 1" off the ground; my toes maybe 2".
The latter two of those three points might be immediately actionable; the first, I don't know, maybe focusing on that area, one could practice it if they wanted? Directing one's awareness onto the state of his/her own body is one of the techniques people use to begin to induce a meditative state, so I suppose it should be possible to practice/develop that capacity, as well.

Finally, the point: as I'm walking in a hazardous area, I try to take small steps, not stretching my leading foot out too far or letting the other foot fall too far behind. If I become aware that one of my feet has lost traction (Because, theoretically, you should only lose traction on one foot at a time while walking.), I immediately stop the movement of everything from the waist down. Everything from my waist to my feet tenses up and freezes. Both feet should be on the ground at this point, and even if one of them has no grip on the ground, it should still be useful for maintaining a balanced weight distribution, provided I can keep that leg from sliding forward and making me fall on the ground. Once I've stopped the motion of that foot, I can take a moment and get myself back into a stable position before continuing on. Even if both feet slide a bit, as long as my legs are locked and my body is balanced, I should be able to ride it out until I stop moving and have a chance to figure out how to continue safely.

As you can see from the above, I didn't mention my arms at all. I usually don't have a problem with overcompensation, but you hear about that issue all the time: someone overcompensates, and that's why they fall. Maybe I've just been lucky, but handling things with my legs, I typically only really compensate by shifting my weight from the waist and maybe lifting my arms out for balance a bit. It's hard for me to give advice here, because that reflex is so automatic. It's possible that I don't overcompensate because my entire being is focused on stopping moving.

That might be the crux of this whole rambling post: when you slip, your goal isn't to get out of the way of something or to escape from some danger, it's to arrest your current motion so you can regroup and move forward with yourself back under control. Your goal is to stop. I really feel like if you keep that in mind, when a slip happens, your body might do what it has to to make it happen automatically.

Hopefully all that helps someone. It's not like I'm...certified?...to teach this kind of thing, and it's purely what I've made up after observing my own behavior, so your mileage may vary. But maybe this will help keep people around here from getting hurt.
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Another quick update, this time on the MIDI keyboard front. I got inspired and used my keyboard for a little actual work last night.

:kaito_smile_lili:

Love that thing. It's so nice to be able to try out different notes without having to precision-point my mouse and jab the key on the virtual keyboard in Studio One. Ignoring that, you can get away with the virtual keyboard for single notes, but chords are obviously pretty impossible to test there, short of laying the chords out, listening, editing/deleting, and trying again. The keyboard, of course, makes that easy. I had a blast trying, discarding, and putting together chords into a potential melody. :)

I kind of wish the volume came out louder by default (Connecting the keyboard doesn't change the track's volume in the DAW, at least until you use the keyboard to tell the DAW to change the volume, but hitting a key on the physical keyboard is a good bit quieter than hitting a key on the virtual keyboard. I'm sure there's probably a setting somewhere for that, or else volume adjustment I can do in the DAW, though.). The keys are also a bit less sensitive than I might like, but I wouldn't be surprised if you had to push the keys on a physical piano down a bit before you get sound, too--being physical hammers/strings and all. It wouldn't be good if the keys were too responsive, either, and it could be there's some kind of setting for that, too.

All in all, good times :kaito_move:.

Edit: What do you know, just found instructions for editing the velocity curves. That might well fix both of the above items. ;)
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
I wanted to add something here about a discovery of mine from a little while ago that I didn't mention earlier: a program that comes with Windows 10 called Video Editor.

Video Editor seems to be the current successor to Windows Movie Maker. Based on a little poking around inside, it seems like it lets you put in photos or video clips and add a music background.

This is a good find for me, since I've been wondering if/how I could put together a video to share the songs I create. The discovery of Video Editor means that, with the tools I have now, I could at least put together a simple video.

The only thing is that the program is really...simple, to put it kindly. Simple is good at this point, as is cheap/free (since video editing isn't something I've ever done before), but simple things like animating the text or changing the text color aren't possible, and I think it would be hard to get the text to look good/clear if you were using it for something like lyrics. I've also hoped sometimes to put in little visual effects, but that is something I've always acknowledged is probably the domain of non-free video editors.

There is a way around those deficiencies, though: hypothetically, I could use some graphics software to put the text on the background, and then use a different combined (text + background) image at each point where the text changes. As long as there's no transition animation, it would just look like the text is changing. That is a questionable choice from a disk space perspective, since there would be a bunch of image files just to change the text, but it might be workable if I don't want to get some better software. Even the little visual effects might be doable, if Video Editor will accept an animated gif...but that might be a bridge too far...? Or you just do it with the usual pictures, provided you can make Video Editor switch them fast enough so that they appear animated.

I guess the only thing to be sure of at that point is your rights regarding what you can do with the picture(s) you use. If you create them yourself, that's fine, but if you borrow them from someone (via Piapro, say), you would need to know that you have the right to edit the image by adding text to it/possibly cropping it, etc. (Though in a certain sense, that's no different from what you'd be doing with a regular video--videos are just still images flipped past each other really fast, so on a basic level you're always adding the text directly onto the original image, even if you're using better video software.)
 
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patuk

The typo queen
Oct 8, 2019
544
Openshot is a pretty decent free option, it's not super complex compared to other editors but it's not as bare bones as Video Editor. If you just need simple video editing it should get the job done, maybe give it a shot? I'm not sorry for the pun.
 
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Kazumimi

Guess you could say I’m a TEIniac?
Staff member
Moderator
Sep 21, 2019
1,018
www.robocheatsy.com
There's also DaVinci resolve. I haven't used it much because it doesn't support the AVI container that I render MMDs to, but it's pretty much the same thing as higher-end stuff like Premiere Pro, but it's free. Might be worth playing around with! ^^
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
I've been relatively swamped with work and other things, but I had a little time recently to pick at the first of my new songs.

Mostly, that involved working with a small chorus of Vocaloids. Getting them to work correctly together was a little more difficult than I'd thought it would be, mostly because I apparently screwed up at some point when tweaking the intended/base melodic line for each of them, so relative to each other those notes weren't falling correctly. (I wish there were some way to copy notes from one to the other better, but when you're making a chorus, the notes don't end up being the same anyway, or at least mine won't be. Maybe if I'd used a transpose command instead of dragging notes manually....) I also had to second-guess my transcription abilities again; things sounded a lot better after questioning if all the intended notes were correct in the first place. And, of course, there was the obvious point to re-remember that when you're doing a chord in C-major, you don't use the black keys. What was it about the copy-pasting and editing of the MIDI sequence between singers that made me forget that, and just move each note up two semi-tones instead? orz It still seems kind of weird when dragging notes on the piano roll, with the intention of making the singers mirror each other but at a higher/lower pitch, but it won't always be a flat same number of semitone rise/fall. And it really will sound better afterwards; staying on key improved it much.

Something else I learned, as I should have probably expected: as anyone who has put multiple CDs into a playlist on an MP3 player knows, not all CDs are rendered at the same volume. The same goes for Vocaloids. I'm guessing this is true at the least when they're from different companies, if not possibly just between individual VBs in general. Luka had to go all the way up; most of the others went all the way down; I think Avanna is somewhere in between, or at least was at one point.

Anyway, it might not be entirely done yet, but I think that little chorus bit is close. It doesn't sound exactly like what I imagined, but I think it sounds like how my synths would sing what I imagined.

My few hours of picking also gave me the chance to use some of my new tools. My chorus has Nectar working on it. One of the instruments is from Kontakt. It isn't new, but Miku (who's getting in on things, too) has a volume adjustment on her, too--I'll always wish the default volume in Studio One was set to something like halfway along its adjustable range, rather than up at like 60-70%.... And that doesn't include the effects from inside Vocaloid 5; Ruby's using a style with like 4 effects on it.

All in all, still a good ways to go, but the work's been interesting and fun. And, at least we are working! :miku_ani_lili:

Edit: Almost forgot--I'm sure I'll be around between now and then, but I hope everyone who observes it has a good Thanksgiving!
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
This might be a weird question, and I don't want to make something out of nothing, but did I do something wrong in that last post? I'm kind of getting a vibe like I broke the first rule of Fight Club or something.

I mean, the post did its job, and I feel better now, and I might even delete it soon, but I'm surprised by the awkward silence.

Edit: I've deleted the post I mentioned.
 
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cafenurse

Still misses Anri Rune
Apr 8, 2018
1,205
18
USA
Haha, I don't think you did anything wrong Mobius. Maybe people just missed it. I don't usually tend to comment on journals even if I read them.
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Ha ha, thanks, I'm glad I didn't do something weird. Yeah, it could be that people missed it, or don't comment on journals as a rule. I think the latter's pretty common. I did basically say I was alright, too (which was true, despite not feeling great), so that could be the reason for people's reaction, too. Come to think of it, I might've done the same thing.
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Hi all!

I watched a video of Magical Mirai 2019 last night! I know one or more others have probably covered some or all of these things in one or more places in the few months since Mirai happened, but I wanted to share my thoughts. So if you're like me from a few days ago, you may want to stop reading to avoid spoilers.

The very first thing you'll notice after the concert starts is Miku herself. The first few songs are done with her R3 module, and it's lightyears separated from the R3 I remember seeing coverage of from Snow Miku awhile back--the one where people took exception to certain aspects of her face. To my eyes, those concerns are gone. The R3 I saw was stunning. It's like Miku in HD--her flesh looks much more like flesh than something animated, there's a three-dimensional quality to her that wasn't there before, her lines are clear. She's more realistic in every respect, so much so that it even took a little to get used to, if you're used to her comparatively more "anime" appearance. Don't get me wrong--she's still undeniably herself, and her anime qualities are still there, but if you were to convert an anime character into flesh and blood, this is what you would get at some point along the way. The only thing I found difficult to accept were her eyes--the camera gets much closer than I think even people in the front row enjoy, and for some reason, when it got relatively close, her eyes looked bright blue, rather than the usual teal. I was concerned for awhile that that was a planned change, but I can't really imagine them making a design change like that at this point. I'd guess it's some aspect of how the coloring is done--the audience sees the correct color, but her optometrist sees something different.

The next thing I noticed was the show's "props." In the shows I've seen, it's been normal for there to be a screen above the stage, as well as two Jumbotron-type screens on either side for the benefit of audience members further back. All of these are still there, but this concert featured, for the first time to my memory, additional tall rectangular panels on both sides of the stage, two on each side, I believe. Like the "prop" panel above the stage, these were used for visual effects, particularly to create the recurring circus tent motif (And the concert theme being driven home like no theme before it this year was awesome to see, in my opinion.). The use of lasers and colored lights seemed particularly heavy this year, and between these things and Bring It On's smoke jets, I think this concert had the heaviest use of effects beyond the holograms of any concert in the series. It's obvious that CFM went all-out to make this show spectacular.

I'll make a quick mention here that I really enjoyed the tribute for Luka's 10th anniversary. She had a good setlist that I enjoyed, with both high-energy songs and more poignant ones, both classic ones and newer ones.

The tribute to wowaka was also really nice. Only one song long, the classic Rolling Girl, but how many producers get honored with custom "prop" graphics, and, unless my ears deceived me, the entire audience chanting his name?

The next point I'd like to discuss is Until I Give Up My Dreams and Become an Adult.

As a brief aside, this is one of the concert's new songs. CFM really delivered on their promise to put a BUNCH of new songs into the lineup. There were older favorites in there, but it felt like new stuff was coming up all the time. To an extent, I can be the sort of person who enjoys hearing the things I've loved in the past, but honestly, I find the idea of Mirai fading away under the complaint that the songs never change to be intolerable--the CFM 'loids have discographies associated with them that are among the absolute largest of any performers in the history of the world. It was incredibly good to see so much new blood.

Returning to my first point, Until I Give Up My Dreams and Become an Adult seemed to me to be clearly intended to be a significant song. Miku always comes out at some point and says something before going into another song that she's introduced in some way. But the silence before/during her appearance before the song started seemed a little longer, the darkness maybe a little deeper. Maybe her demeanor was a little different. Knowing only a small handful of Japanese words, I can only guess that she was asking the audience if she could share something with them. The scene felt that way, and it felt to me like it stood apart from the rest of the concert in a way that the previous similar instances of Miku appearing to introduce the next song didn't.

After speaking, she walked to the side a bit and summoned a keyboard. I haven't seen her do this kind of thing in past concert videos. (She's appeared with a guitar, but I don't remember her summoning anything. The piano is also new. Even in Ai Dee, Luka was the one at the console device, which I think was one of those things a DJ uses.)

The moment after this had sunk in, I realized it was a Yamaha. And not just any Yamaha synth keyboard, but a DX7.

The history of which we're being reminded here is multilayered. To begin with, a newer synth meant to stand in for humans is at the keys of one that is, in a sense, an ancestor of hers. This is true not just because of their shared heritage as older and newer synths, but because Yamaha, of course, created the Vocaloid engine that has been the backbone of all the CFM 'loids ever since Kaito. In Miku's case specifically, at least as I've read, the design elements of the DX7 were some of the inspiration for her visual appearance.

It took me a moment to recognize what song it was as she started playing. Once I did, I remembered that I'd been confused initially when I'd heard that this song was on the Mirai 2019 setlist. I've skimmed over the lyrics for the song, and I'd understood it to be a sad song about a child facing exchanging their childhood dreams for the generally more mundane, practical pursuits of being an adult. It seemed out of character for Mirai, with its usually cheerier, hopeful disposition, and a very unusual song to be given to Miku to perform there for the same reasons.

And then, shortly after that, I remembered that the keyboard was a Yamaha.

Most/all of us know now about what else happened at Mirai 2019, with CFM announcing that they were going to be releasing their synths on their own new engine and that they were going to be transitioning to relying on Sega less/not at all for the production of their concert holograms.

If you consider the title apart from the rest of the song's lyrics, Until I Give Up My Dreams and Become an Adult could actually be taken in two ways. The first is as a child giving up on dreams and throwing them in the trash can. The other is as a child deciding to give up on dreaming about things and start DOING them. They stop being the helpless offspring yearning for something while being supported by a larger parent, and instead stand on their own, assuming the risks of pursuing their goals. Arguably, this could be considered another way of becoming an adult.

I subscribe to the latter view of the song as it was presented at the concert. In what seemed to be presented as a personal, significant moment for her, as she's playing the keys of the DX7, Miku is giving a grateful nod to Yamaha and saying thank you for everything that's come before. And then, the keyboard vanishes, and she moves on on her own.

I really think you could distill the whole concert down to the performance of this song. CFM has apparently been working on and planning moving to their own engine and their own hologram modules for years. And they had it planned that at this concert, they would be announcing those intentions to the public, and it seems like they wanted to inaugurate the public pursuit of those intentions with a bang--the best-looking R3 module we've had so far; the expansion of their "props" and the biggest/flashiest/most visually impressive Mirai yet; and a ton of new songs. In a sense, Mirai 2019 is, like Until I Give Up My Dreams and Become an Adult, a sort of coming-of-age moment, and the overall message seems clear to me: we cherish what's come before, but we're just now getting seriously started, and big things are coming.
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Sorry I haven't been active too much around here. Actually, I forget how long it's been. It feels like a long time.

I've been in kind of a creative mood off and on lately, so I've created a few rough song drafts. Some of them I hate, some of them I like a bit better. I keep hoping to hit on one I like better than the one I've been working on for awhile.

Mm, other news, I've been preparing for Expo 2020. This basically involves endurance training for wotagei, since it's not a movement that I use everyday. (I realize that there'll be opportunities to let my arm rest, but I'd like to be as active as I can.) Rather than accompanying concert videos (as I mentioned before elsewhere), I've been using Hatsune Miku VR. The game has some issues--for instance, I've had problems switching the kind of controller used to control the game, and I think the animation could be better sometimes (like having Miku's mouth actually open when she's singing for at least one song I can think of), but overall it's pretty fun. I think I actually do much better at it than I do at the traditional Vocaloid games.

Things I've learned:
  • A lot of times, you can do better if you treat the gameplay more like doing a dance or Tai Chi than swinging a pair of swords like you're nuts.
  • Other times, when the melody icons are flying in no immediately obvious pattern, I wind up just pushing my eyes/arms to the limit and going Kirito on its butt :) .
  • It's sort of a good game for mental skills, too. It helps to plan out how you're going to move your arms as the melody icons come toward you. Also, it helps you learn to control your focus; you usually want to avoid letting it suck your attention into one spot, because that's when the melody icons come from a different direction. If that behavior is intentional, it's devious :) .
For some reason, I think the game has made my ribs kind of sore from the higher-speed segments, but my stamina has improved. The more dance/Tai Chi-like songs don't feel as demanding as when I was just going ham with the controllers, though, so I'm thinking of doing something to make the experience more rigorous. Honestly, VR isn't exactly the same motion, though, so it's possible I'd be better served to go back to the concert videos or something of that nature.

Continuing on with the "training" theme, to try to stretch my creative faculties a little, I've been messing around with a single-player choose-your-own-adventure game. I figured that working off the prompts would be a decent way to practice more divergent, adaptive, improvisational thinking. It's been kinda fun, and it's had its really novel and impressive moments, but I've been disappointed at how tropey/papery the characters and events have been at times. And what their nature has implied about people in general. I think the event points (the term I'm using for the stuff that can happen at random times) are sort of crowd-sourced, and I've been given... romantic (*cough*)...propositions by like 2/3 of the characters within a very short period after having "met" them. So it's scary to wonder what the pool of event points from which the game is drawing is like.... I guess a game, where there are no consequences, is likely to attract that kind of thing, though.
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
The wind blowing through the trees is the herald of the coming storm. In the distance, the birds get in the last few notes of their songs before the start of nature's violent percussion.

It's been quite awhile since I posted here!

Today, I'd like to talk about an uncommon subject: voting.

It's not a subject that has been particularly close to my heart. To be honest, until the recent past, I joined many other people in my country in being content enough to let the politicians run the government. Sometimes they seemed likely enough to be corrupt in one way or another, but for the most part things seemed to run smoothly enough, and the suspicion that any individual's vote really didn't matter and, honestly, might not even really be counted (as in, those in power were going to do what they were going to do anyway, regardless or in conjunction with election results) was sufficiently comforting to let me stay on the sidelines.

But then, someone I felt abominably unsuited and inappropriate for the task got elected to one of my government's posts.

I never expected the dread guilt that bled into my soul the morning I learned that the government was no longer "running itself," and what had long seemed like business as usual was now to be denegrated, although, I hoped, not horribly mishandled.

As the COVID crisis has shown, my hope was not realized. With help from an entirely unexpected situation, things have become worse than I ever dreamed. Encouraging each other, apparently corrupt individuals are brazenly popping into the sun like whack-a-moles. Racial tensions have reached a fever pitch unseen in decades (although seeing and routing that out is, to my mind, a GOOD thing). People die by the hundreds of thousands, and the cause, in truth, isn't the virus, it isn't an act of God--it's the self-centeredness of their neighbors, and the political maneuverings and/or incompetence of their leaders. We know how to dramatically slow the virus's spread, maybe even stamp it out naturally. Most of us are doing our part to try to protect each other and get things back to normal. But a simply too-large minority just isn't doing it. For that reason, our COVID cases rise, our people die, and other countries around the world shut their borders to us. And to each and every such person, those hurting or now/in the future on the defensive because of this, I offer my heartfelt apology for my small role in letting this happen. I never really understood some of the stereotypes/ill will that other countries sometimes have had toward mine; I believe I do understand some of that now.

I haven't had a lot of time to lay all this out lately, but this is the reason that I recently went through the shockingly easy, few minutes' process to register to vote. Because what I see on the news makes me sick, and I can't stand to let it go unchallenged anymore.

To get to my point, aside from my anger and contrition, the reason I'm writing is this: if your country, whatever it is, affords you a role in the governmental process, I urge you to make use of it. Perhaps it won't make any difference. But even if it doesn't, having done your part to try to make things better will at least let you have a clear conscience. And that's easily worth a few minutes' work.
 
Last edited:

uncreepy

🎃
Apr 9, 2018
1,219
USA
Glad to hear you decided to register to vote. You can further sign up for a mail in ballots to be sent out for each upcoming voting if you'd like, too, so you don't have to wait in lines/leave home during the pandemic (there's a section on my town's website to do sign up for that, I imagine it's the same everywhere, you have to upload a photo of your ID when requesting which dates they should send out the ballots for).

I think that in a perfect world, everyone would vote whenever their town has things to vote on (ranging from presidential to smaller things like electing other officials), but personally, I would prefer if people who are not educated on candidates just not vote at all (I HATE it when people just vote based on the name or gender of someone without even researching a tiny bit before filling out the ballot). Personally, my grandma and some old ladies I am very familiar with (family friends/acquaintances) always work at the polls for each election no matter how big or small, so everyone in my family always gets out and votes.

I also think that too many people just assume the person they want to win will win so they don't go out and vote, or they don't know how the process works/therefore they think it's too troublesome, or they don't care who wins. But I think it's better to be safe than sorry and to try to get your vote out there, some candidates win by very small margins. Political related things also use data from voters/their locations. I guess just attempting to vote for the person you think will do a good job is as least trying to get a message across, even if that person doesn't end up doing what they say they would or maybe they try to, but it gets blocked by other politicians in Senate and stuff like that.
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
1,240
Thanks! Yeah, I was really impressed with how simple and easy the registration form was. That sort of makes not having done it before even more embarrassing, actually.... The language on the form and the info required were really dirt-simple; it only took like 15 minutes or so, and I fill out such forms slowly/carefully.
 
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