It’s taken me way too long to get this posted, but I’ve finally got the third variation of “The Lovers” ready. Well, not ready ready, but I’ve got the test render ready.
And this time I think I’ve finally found the pose I want to use for all three versions. So I’ll have to go back and do the Luka/Miku and Fukase/Oliver versions with this pose data.
Of course I used KAITO/MEIKO for the straight version. Though there’s no such thing as a canon Vocaloid pairing, they’re one of the rare pairs that comes close to being “canon.” Certainly, their voice banks were actually designed to go together well (just as Luka’s and Miku’s were), so in a way they were “meant to be.”
One big improvement for this version over the Fukase/Oliver one is that I’ve gotten back the view of the background that I had in the Luka/Miku version, giving that incredibly cool stage room to fill up a lot of the card with its assorted implied meanings.
Anyway, next up is re-doing the first two versions of “The Lovers” to match this one. Then I’ll probably do “The Chariot” because I already know what I want to do there. :)
TDA “on the rocks” KAITO and MEIKO by Jjinomu
Pose data by…actually, I forgot to check whose pose data it is. (And it’s on a different device than I’m currently using, so I can’t check.) I’ll try to remember to grab the credit for the pose data before I post the updated Luka/Miku and Fukase/Oliver versions.
So, before Pride Month is over, here’s the male-only version of “The Lovers.” This time, I used someone else’s pose data, so they don’t look quite so awkward. Quite.
There’s still a lot wrong with it. Their hands aren’t quite reaching each other, Fukase’s fingers are clipping into Oliver’s back, and that view of Fukase’s face is really kind of creepy. (Though maybe that’s a good thing?)
I dunno. I kind of wanted a romantic pose that wasn’t kissing (especially given how young Oliver is), more of a cuddling thing, but this was the best I had available. I may go back looking for more pose data before I try the m/f version next month (or maybe not until August, since I’ll be doing Camp NaNo in July)
I’d have liked to be able to shift Oliver’s cap some, but I couldn’t find a bone that controlled it. There was a slider to turn it off, but I didn’t want to get rid of it, just move it a bit. May have to do a light edit to connect it to a bone, if it turns out it really isn’t on one.
Oh, and if anyone’s wondering why Fukase/Oliver for the m/m pairing, well…honestly, when I first heard Fukase (his version of “Ghost Rule,” of course) I loved his voice and went looking for other Fukase songs, and I found a ton of duets with him and Oliver. Some of them did have accompanying art that paired them romantically, and the idea just stuck in my head of them as a couple. (Not sure how old Fukase is supposed to be, so maybe that’s inappropriate…) I can get pairings stuck in my head like that pretty easily; one image of Rin and Nekomura Iroha together during a duet was enough to cement them as one of my Vocaloid pairings…
Given that it’s June, I realized I should get a move on and try to get two of the three versions of “The Lovers” finished at least to the test render stage and posted while it’s still Pride Month.
So, I set about the f/f version first, and after working on the pose for a while realized that it was not going to work.
Looking at the pose, you may wonder why I thought that. Well, the simple truth is that it’s too complicated a pose. If it was any card other than “The Lovers” it would be fine, but I wanted to make “The Lovers” available in m/m and m/f formats as well, and trying to copy and adjust this pose to two different sets of models (one of which is of drastically different heights) was going to be way too much work. (Especially those interlocked hands. OMG, those are a nightmare. It was while I was trying to get those in position that I realized this was never going to work.) Also, it’s a bit too close to the official art for the song “Magnet.” That didn’t help, either.
So, I decided to go for a pose that would be easier to alter…
And I got a pose that would be much easier to adapt to different sets of models.
I also got a pose that looked more like “friends posing for a photo” than “lovers in any context at all.” So…yeah, still a fail.
I know I have, at some point, downloaded a lot of “couple poses,” so I think I’m gonna brush the electronic dust off them and see if any of them will work. And I’ll try them with the m/m couple, post the results that way. Then I can worry about the m/f version sometime in July, and update this one whenever it seems apropos to do so.
I like this choice of background, though. “The Lovers” should have an inherent possibility for disaster, and while all those floating chunks of land look pretty, they could potentially signify that the world has been mostly destroyed. I mean, are they in some mystical Skies of Arcadia-like land with floating islands, or are they in a Fantastica where Bastian failed to give the Empress her new name in time?
Hopefully, this will be the last of the Major Arcana to feature Miku. I don’t want any of the Vocaloids to get over-used in this deck, but especially not Miku, because she’s so ubiquitous in, well, pretty much anything Vocaloid. (Especially merchandise. Man, that’s frustrating. I want some merch of the other Vocaloids in their different costumes, not fifteen thousand versions of Miku! (I say in a room that has like four of her in it.))
Rather than try to polish up “The Fool,” I thought it was best to forge ahead and get rough drafts of all the other cards, and then try to polish things so that they match each other best. Also this way is more fun. ;)
So, card I, “The Magician.” In looking through the various meanings and symbols associated with the card, I noticed that the magician is usually depicted with a lot of tools, sometimes those of the magical trade and sometimes tools representing the suits of the minor arcana. That put me straight away into thinking about a particular song, “Straight Faced Science Girl.” From there, I knew what I wanted…
OMG, I hope that doesn’t display as poorly on the final page as it’s displaying in the post editor.
Uh, anyway, there are a lot of reasons this is still obviously a WIP. For one thing, she needs more tools on her table. I plan on adding an open book, and maybe some non-scientific tools (paint brush, maybe something in the middle of a small magic circle, stuff like that), but those will probably be partially decided on after I see what other symbols I end up using in the other cards. Also, I want to get the Theory of Relativity to line up perfectly over her head, to take the place of the infinity symbol usually shown over the head of the Magician. (It had been lined up perfectly earlier, but then I wanted to change which table she was at, and I lost my angle and couldn’t get it back.) I also need to edit her beaker and especially her test tubes. And probably put something in them.
You see, I totally can edit the beaker and test tubes all I want, because when I realized I didn’t have any on hand, I decided that rather than boot up my disposable computer (ie the one I use online), I would just refresh my memory on how Metasequoia works and make them myself. Overall, I think I didn’t do too badly. The test tubes need to be longer, and both are a little too clear. (Technically, they have the right clarity to be glass, but they’re not super easy to see. As, realistically, glass tends not to be.)
Other than that, the positions of her fingers are still a bit awkward, but since the items in her hands are going to change, perfecting the hand positions at this stage seemed silly.
Moving away from the image itself, I want to talk about the song that inspired this choice. “Straight Faced Science Girl” is one of many shippy songs written for the Kagamine twins, Rin and Len. Rin is one of my favorite Vocaloids, and I love Len’s voice, so I like a lot of their songs, but I have to admit that the ones framing their relationship in romantic terms tend to bother me. Because they’re twins, and I’m squikked out by incest. Not to be too blunt about it. Anyway, it’s still a nice song (and it’s somewhat vague in its shippiness), and I do love the idea of Rin as being hardcore into science, because STEM girls rule. More importantly for the deck as a whole, this means that I am including the shippy side of the Kagamine twins without having to explicitly or even implicitly condone the idea of incest between fourteen year old twins. So I’m kind of meeting the twincest fans halfway. (Though I guess by saying all that I’ve stepped back far enough to only be meeting them about a quarter of the way…)
The downside of using Rin for this card is that she’s now slated for two Major Arcana appearances, and I want to limit the use of any Vocaloid as much as possible, but especially the main Crypton six; I don’t want them to dominate the deck the way they dominate the fandom as a whole. (Which is difficult, since most of the good models seem to be the main Crypton girls, with Miku making up at least half of them…)
From here on out, I may jump around a bit, moving to the cards I’ve already decided which Vocaloid or UTAU to use on, and then head back to the beginning to get the ones I haven’t made up my mind on. Or I might not. Not sure yet. I’m pretty much working on this only when inspiration strikes, and/or when I feel like I ought to be writing but can’t think of anything to write. So it’s sporadic, to say the least.
Every journey has a beginning. Every journey has its fool.
And every journey should have its record, too, right?
Well, even if it shouldn’t, this one is having its record.
And what is that journey?
I’m working on creating a tarot deck using Vocaloid and UTAU characters. (For those who don’t know what Vocaloid and UTAU mean, see my About page.) Since I can’t draw, I’m using the free program MikuMikuDance (MMD) to make the images. That means, among other things, that even if I should perfect the deck, I could never have them printed up and sell them, because almost every MMD model, prop and set has a rider on it that it mustn’t be used for commercial purposes. (There’s also the fact that I don’t own any of the involved characters, but decks containing fan art are not unheard of. I’ve got a Sailor Moon deck in my collection…) However, should I ever finish the deck to my satisfaction, I will provide free downloads of the finished cards arranged in print-and-play files so anyone who wants a deck can print their own.
I’ll be using this new blog to share my progress and — if anyone ever starts reading the blog — maybe get some feedback and advice along the way.
I’ll also probably post photos of tarot and oracle decks in my growing collection (most of them ones I backed on Kickstarter, so they’re rare, unusual and very creative), and maybe post about readings I do if I ever get back in the habit of doing readings. *cough*
But enough of the introductions! I have a draft of “The Fool” to share with you!
This is the second draft of the card, and I think it’s much better than the first. I put up a post about the first draft on my main blog, so you can check that out if you want to see how this one has improved. This definitely reflects the meaning of the card better, but her pose is still a bit stiff. Also the ribbons on her legs aren’t going to move to my will without my editing the model. Which is technically forbidden, but I hope that low level of modification is mildly okay, because having the ribbons hanging straight down despite that she’s supposedly moving forwards would drive me bananas.
As a tarot card, obviously it still has problems. The chief of which of course being that it doesn’t yet have its number and name on it. :P There’s also the fact that her chasing a butterfly is kind of me ripping off the design of a deck I just got have (the Girls Drawin’ Girls Deck which I had to buy off Etsy because I missed its Kickstarter the Children of Litha deck, a really gorgeous deck I backed on Kickstarter and which is now available from the creator’s website) where “The Fool” was reaching out for a bird. There only being so many motifs that fit around “possibly about to fall off a cliff,” I hope that much copycatting is at least mildly permissible. There are also basic formatting questions: do I want to change the framing of the main image, what kind of labeling will I be using, do I want a frame on the image, etc. But I don’t want tackle those questions until I’m sure I have the basic image correct.
On the MMD side of things (and this may get slightly technical, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you don’t know MMD), I see all sorts of little problems with the image. As soon as I turned on AutoLuminous to make the butterfly glow, I noticed that white line along the edge between the path and the hillside. Not sure if it was always there and I just didn’t notice it, or if it’s something about the black background caused by AutoLuminous that made it show up. A bigger issue is that this is a YYB Miku, and I wanted to exclusively use TDA models for this deck. (Partially because I just really like TDA and partially because I already had a ton of them. And because I’ve been away from MMD for years, and TDA was still pretty hot when I left. (No idea if it still is or not.) Appearance/Api was “the newest thing,” but it was limited to Crypton characters, which wouldn’t do since I want to use non-Crypton Vocaloids, not to mention UTAUs.) I really wanted to use this costume, though, since it had the animal built in, and I couldn’t find a TDA version available for download. I think it’s all right, though, because we’re only seeing the side of her face. It’d still look different if it was a TDA Miku in there, but…that’s minor compared to the posing woes. Most of which are the fact that those finkin’ ribbons are set to move only by Physics, and that I suck at posing. I suppose I need to go looking for pose data that’s similar to what I want. Or maybe check individual frame data from movement data for running or walking…
Finally, looking at this from a Vocaloid perspective, it only seems fitting that the starting card has to be Miku. She wasn’t the first Vocaloid released, but she’s the most famous (because she’s the most advertised and merchandised) and she’s the one with 01 tattooed on her arm. ;) (Which I guess would actually make her a better fit for “The Magician,” since that’s card I, while “The Fool” is card 0.) If anyone has any ideas about who should be on which cards in the future, I’m open to hearing them. Can’t guarantee I’ll agree, but I’m willing to listen. Though I’ve already decided on a few: “The Chariot” and “The Lovers” are already decided for sure (though “The Lovers” will be in three versions, f/f, f/m and m/m), and I feel like there was at least one other I’d already picked out, only now I don’t — oh, it was “The Devil.” And I know I need to use Sukone Tei on one of the Sword cards. :P Not sure which one, off-hand, but where else would a yandere go?
Stage: no info, but when I open it in PMX editor (PMD editor can’t handle it) I get a screen of Japanese info, which Google Translate says means “Model data for custom girl PolyMo: Custom girl physics operaton compatible model) Model editory: … MOD creator: Data conversion: Tso2Pmd Ver. 0.2.4 Copynight: TechArts 3D & —” (Yes, it really says “copynight.” That part is in attempted English.)
Miku: YYB, Sega and Malik-Hatsune
Butterfly: Paul Spooner and HarukaSakurai
Basket: there’s a readme that actually displays in proper text so I could use Google Translate on it, but it doesn’t seem to list a maker. I found it on Bowlroll via a deviantART link from someone I think called hack-girl or something like that. (Basically, not much comes up if you search there for “mmd picnic basket” so the linking work should show up.)