Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good Lip-Syncing

    Song: Ted and the Gooch - I Like You. This is a good example of lip-syncing. The creator describes AMV as his stepping stone, in lip-syncing.

    "The main purpose of making this amv was to expand my Lip-syncing prowess, and I definitely got the chance to put together a number of complicated shots. The shot on the line ".. to be less of a loser" is the most difficult shot I've ever had to lipsync with 2 layers of moving background, a bar in the foreground, a shadow over her face briefly, and hair swaying over her jawline on either sides of a side-profile shot."

    Original Post @ animemusicvideos.org in 720p

Linux Digital Artisan Tools
    Lets take a look at our tools and get familiar with them. When editing I prefer a combination of LiVES, Cinelerra, and customized Gimp script that interfaces it with LiVES, but in favor of the K.I.S.S. method, this site will use KdenLive. It is easy to use and is often compared to Sony Vegas Pro.

  All the tools on this site are Linux tools, and any Linux distro, should have KdenLive in its' application repository. In Linux most of the users install all of there software, from one source, that is maintained by the developers of the operating system. They do so using a package manager. It is one of the top priorities to look into when choosing a Linux Distro. The package manager makes or breaks a good Distro. New users are recommended to use Ubuntu.

    This quick tutorial will teach you how to put together a video complete with titles, transitions and effects! It's easy to learn the basics of video editing, especially in Linux! It's like Sony Vegas, except it's free and open-source!

    This tutorial will teach you how to create a picture in picture transition.

    This tutorial will show you how to overlay several images over a video and animate them.

    As seen above, video editing is easy, just make a couple videos, do a slide-show, and get to know the layout. Skills in gimp are also a must for adding lot more functionality tool your toolkit as a digital artisan. The star animation in the last video was made with GIMP, and synfig, both of these apps are also available on windows. The animation was basically a slide-show.

    Here is a two part introduction to GIMP Basics. Gimp is a photoshop substitute. The tutorial covers the scale, crop, cut with transparency, flip, and rotate commands. It was created by Mike Lively of Northern Kentucky University.

This part covers saving and file size reduction. While the creator of these tutorial recommends, saving as a jpg, gif, or png, when I save an image for editing in a video I save it an the OpenEXR format. OpenEXR is a high dynamic range imaging image file format. TGA File Format, often referred to as TARGA File Format, is a raster graphics file format, and is also ideal for games design.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You're Amazing

Song: Seal - Amazing. This AMV used sources from twenty-three different anime. To get the original or list of anime sources follow the link-> Amazing IC - animemusicvideos.org
 P.S. I think everyone agrees we are amazing. :)

Shattered Love

    Song: Trading Yesterday - Shattered, Anime: Reaching You but the intro where the guy is playing a piano is from D-GrayMan.

    A nice romantic themed AMV. Never seen that anime before, but I think the artist does faces really weird, from what was in the AMV.

     Nevertheless, the creator, put allot of effort into this AMV and it shows. I particularly am a fan of the way the artist utilized the imaging software and the perspective camera to slide the character across the screen at the right time. The light flash between transitions gives it in even nicer touch.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FooLy CooLy - Coldplay

    This is AMV of the week #34 @ www.JustDubs.net. JustDubs has been a great resource for me for years. As the name implies, it only posts english dubbed anime. Recently they have added a section that gives an overview of the series, making it easier to pick up a new anime, and have even started a new website www.justreviews.net, but have yet to explore it.

    Regarding the AMV it is based of the anime FLCL. FLCL follows Naota Nandaba, a twelve-year-old boy living in the fictional Japanese suburb of Mabase, and his interactions with Haruko Haruhara.

    Naota's life is confined to going to school and living with his father and grandfather. His usually boring life is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Haruko Haruhara, who bursts on the scene by running Naota over with her Vespa scooter, then giving him CPR and hitting him on the head with a blue vintage Rickenbacker 4001 left-handed reverse strung electric bass guitar. Later, Naota is shocked to find Haruko working in his house as a live-in maid

   A couple years ago I tried to watch this series, but just didn't like it. Don't know what it was, it just didn't keep my interested, I guess. This AMV is awesome though, the creator did a very good job of capturing and presenting the emotion of the audio. On the other hand I can see that this creator only used basic techniques, and tried lip-syncing, but didn't succeed. Again this is still a great AMV.

    Lip-syncing is a very time consuming process. There are two ways that I can think of. The first method is easy and for this method, you need a clip in which NOTHING is moving except the character's mouth. Simply place the clip on the time-line in Lives , and then use the left and right arrow keys to skip through the clip frame by frame. Just move through each frame until you get to one where the character's mouth is completely closed.

    Now, select the razor tool, and cut your video clip EXACTLY where the edit line is intersecting it. Now, tap the right arrow key to advance forward one frame, and use the Razor tool again here. You may need to zoom in to be able to do this accurately.

    Now click the selection tool, and select the frame that you just cut out. You may want to move it to a different video track so it wont get in your way while you are cutting out more video frames. 

    The other method for lip-syncing, will be posted shortly with another AMV :) See you then :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

OpenShot 1.1!

    OpenShot is an excellent example of free and open source software. It is easy to use, even for people who have never used an NLE (non-linear-video-editor).

 About OpenShot
    Behind every great program, is a great story. Well... I'm not sure if this is a great story or not, but here it is. The author's name is Jonathan Thomas. He is a resident of Arlington, TX, USA. Jonathan Thomas is a professional software / web developer (12+ years experience).

    In early 2008, Jonathon first installed Ubuntu. He was very impressed, but like many people, realized immediately the lack of a video editor. For weeks he researched, downloaded, configured, compiled, and installed any Linux video editor I could find. It turns out there are many, but none that met his simple criteria.
  1. easy to use
  2. stable
  3. powerful

     It doesn't get much easier then OpenShot, not that microsoft movie maker ins't easy, it's just that it only gives has two options, so it doesn't even count.  With openshot, adding a slideshow is super easy, but you can spend hours making look the way you want, by adjusting transitions, picture in picture, add text, and more.

Another cool feature is, you can edit a picture that is black and white, and open shot will fade the shape of your pick, in or out.

OpenShot 1.1.0 Released! from Jonathan Thomas on Vimeo.

It seems that open-sourcing his project was a good idea, because the project has been moving ahead of schedule.

OpenShot's Features include:
OpenShot provides extensive editing and compositing features, and has been designed as a practical tool for working with high-definition video including HDV and AVCH

Screencast of OpenShot Chroma-Key Effect

Screencast of OpenShot Chroma-Key Effect from Jonathan Thomas on Vimeo.

OpenShot Key-Frame Demo!
Getting to understand and use key-frames is very important for getting into more advanced control over your videos. Say I put a thirdy second clip in the timeline. A key-frame can be placed at, the five second mark and another at  the end, and then set it to fade, rotate, zoom, and many other thing much more precisely with key-frames.

OpenShot Has Effects!!!
There are plenty of effects to add, and most of them have multiple variable
OpenShot Video Gets Effects!!! from Jonathan Thomas on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ergo Proxy - Slave of Chaos

    Real Mayer is the main character, and is in charge of investigating a series of brutal murders apparently committed by AutoReivs infected with the Cogito virus.

    In an interview,[.pdf] Dai Satō (writer) describes the project:
"It is set in the future. A group of robots become infected with something called the Kojiro [sic] virus, and become aware of their own existence. So these robots, which had been tools of humans, decide to go on an adventure to search for themselves. They have to decide whether the virus that infected them created their identity, or whether they gained their identity through their travels. This question is meant to represent our own debate over whether we become who we are because of our environment, or because of things that are inherent in us. The robots are all named after philosophers: Derrida and Lacan and Husserl."

Anime: Ergo Proxy - Click to Watch the Series

After watching Ergo Proxy I must say that this is one of the most enjoyable series I've watched yet. The story is so complex and can at times be very agonizing because you are just so clueless as to whats going on. Then usually by the end of the episode or by the next episode all of your questions like, "What the hell is going on!?" will be answered. Why did I enjoy this series so much?

    First, this series is a real psychological mind boggling experience. I don't see too many series that make me question things about whats going on until the very end, yet Ergo Proxy did it. Even during the last episode, I was asking myself the same question as I had been throughout the entire series, "What the hell is going on!?" This kind of experience kept me wanting more and left me trying to fill holes myself, which is exactly the kind of thing that I enjoy. Something that makes me think for myself and makes me WANT to figure out whats going on or say, "Hmm, I wonder what that meant.."

    The setting of the story is another thing that made me enjoy this so much, a post apocalyptic world where everyone is being kept in the dark and left wondering whats just beyond their grasp. Theres not much that I can say about this plus for me, it's just something that I enjoy. If you enjoy stories set in this kind of environment, you'll like this aspect of Ergo Proxy.

    Ergo Proxy makes use to a lot of different aspects of psychology and history, which is a good thing. I believe it was only the first fourteen episodes, but at the end of each respective episode there would be about two minutes when they would reflect back on things throughout what you had just seen. It was a very nice touch that I felt was something more series should do. It basically would tell you things that the author of the series/story used as a reference or what something that occurred in the episode was based on. I thoroughly enjoy history and psychology so this aspect of Ergo Proxy really appealed to me.

    The character development didn't fall short of my expectations either. It was done quite nicely. I wish I could go into further detail about it, but apparently I'm not supposed to say anything to spoil the series and I'm not quite sure how to go about this aspect without doing just that.

    The animation was extremely well done. The way some of the faces are drawn may look a little odd at first, but I didn't mind it at all. It matches the show quite well and really compliments everything around it. Everything that was done in this series, animation wise, was completely believable. Sure, there are somethings that you just know can't be true/made from something real, but it just feels true/real with everything else about the series combined.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

True Godfathers

After writing about Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers had to be the next to be discussed.

The story is about 3 homeless people (a washed-up father/husband, a homo, and a runaway teen) during the Christmas Holidays. The story gets going when they find an abandoned baby at a dump site. Even though one of them wants to raise the baby himself, they knew that they couldn't, so they go on a search for the baby's parents. As this search goes on, they start to learn about each others past's and we see how it ties into the present.

While it may seem like a pretty straight forward concept, Kon Satoshi manages to fully utilize it by putting all these twists and turn that keeps the movie exciting. What makes the story so special is how Satoshi manages to portray the homeless urban hood and how he cleverly ties everyone's pasts together. So if a funny, compelling, heart-filled story is what you're searching for, then look no further than this. 


Probably the best aspect of the movie was the characters. The first thing I want to point out is the realism. While they may be "weird" characters, their situations are really similar to society today. I can see a teenager running away from home. I can see a washed-up husband/father becoming homeless. Another fascinating thing about the characters is the growth that they go through. Because of this baby, we see the subtle growth of each character and the bonds between them becoming tighter.

The main theme of this movie is the importance of family, which is a huge shift from Kon's usual work involving diminished divides between fantasy and reality. Even so, there are little indications of the man's handiwork woven carefully into the backstories of the individual characters, which I found interesting. After all, you don't immediately think of hobos when you think "family values," but the homeless might be among more believable subjects for those who may want to disassociate themselves with reality. It was subtle, but I really think Kon did a superb job blending the two themes together, and that was just what I needed to tide me over. 

Paprika - Dreamscape

In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people's dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts. Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer's personality while they are asleep. Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic alter-ego, code name "PAPRIKA," in an attempt to discover who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention.

Paprika, Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers) latest movie, is a whimsical and imaginative journey into the concept of dreaming. As with each of his productions, Paprika is a distinctly unique and fresh film, while also retaining tones of Satoshi Kon’s usual quirkiness and style. While this is a film that revolves around exploration into the farthest reaches of human subconscious, it has traded the introverted and claustrophobic psychological tension seen in Perfect Blue for a decidedly free and open approach to the human mind, fitting with the theme of the limitless expanse of dreaming. This gives it a more relaxed and fun feel, whilst also retaining its depth and profoundness. In quite the same way as Tokyo Godfathers was, paradoxically, a light-hearted melodrama, this film is an accomplished juxtaposition of emotion, as the dark themes of jealousy and hatred are played out in the hallucinatory escapism of the dreamscape.
PaprikaTokyo GodfathersPerfect Blue
Dreams as a concept have always captivated me, and never before have I seen such a well-done representation of dreams in any form of media. Movies usually treat them as either being pointlessly strange, or pointedly symbolic, but Paprika captures their essence to fascinating effect. Dreams are as much about flow and direction as they are about the immediate situation, and this is something very apparent when watching Paprika, as the dreams flow and change fascinatingly with mundane illogic, moving from one setting to another with only a thematic thread between them. Looking back at my own dreams and how they shift from setting to setting based on the emotional context, and I see that Paprika portrays this perfectly. I can see that the dream sequences were thoughtfully brought to life, and were not just crazy for the sake of crazy. But through all its fanciful imagery and creativity unbound from realism, Paprika has a story behind it that deals with very strong human emotions, and it excellently weaves this emotional content throughout the films, particularly in the dream sequences, where the subconscious expresses the truth behind each character’s external, day-to-day personality.

The way it tells this story is simultaneously a strength and a flaw of the film; on the one hand I am inclined to say that it was obfuscatory in the way it obscured the plot from the viewer. While watching this movie I felt like I was trying to get my head around a particularly long riddle. As I followed it, the only understanding I really got of what was actually going on was in retrospect, and while some may call this clever, I found that not having an idea of the direction of the plot was a detriment. However, given that the movie revolves around the theme of dream analysis, it is also a fitting method of storytelling: the audience itself has to engage in the movie as though it were analysing a dream, and hence can only be understood when looking back at it. However, my advice to anyone planning to watch the movie: pay close attention to the dialogue and symbology of the dreams, because it is all too easy to get caught up in the zany fun of the dream sequences and lose track of the plot.

When it comes to the plot itself, I’m not so enthusiastic. Nor am I so aflame with praise when it comes to the characterization. Both of these factors are the reasons why I am hesitant to label it as my favorite Satoshi Kon film; Tokyo Godfathers had excellent characterization, and a simple yet powerful story; and Perfect Blue, with its introverted character study, delivered a great emotional impact. It may well be impossible to create a perfect film, but if these factors had been better incorporated into Paprika, then it would be among my favorite anime films, possibly my very favorite. It is a shame that Satoshi Kon’s vision and creativity is let down by a lack of depth in his characters and stories now, after his consistent accomplishments in the past. I think the main problem was that the movie tried to involve a too larger cast, to whom it could not provide ample depth in its limited feature-length time-frame. The other problem was that there was very little attention given to delivering a sense of conflict, a crucial element to any story. Perfect Blue had the internal conflict of the subconscious and the conscious; Tokyo Godfathers had conflict between its characters and society; and this movie tries to incorporate an antagonist-protagonist conflict, almost as an afterthought, with neither party given enough profundity to their perspectives to make the conflict intense. There was mention of their different ideology when it comes to the exploration of dreams, and a subplot of jealousy, but little more. So the story lacks the optimal ‘beginning -> conflict -> end’ structure, meaning it felt like it just went on and on until it finished, as entertaining as it was.

I have little to say about the technical achievements behind this film, other than the fact that it was fantastic in almost all aspects, with only the score music lacking. It is clear he used the same musical producer behind Paranoia Agent’s score track, and I simply cannot find his style of music appealing; it feels immature and cannot contribute effectively to the mood of the movie. Much better was the use of music in Perfect Blue, the score of which really sold the hauntingly intense atmosphere. The visuals are much better; this is his best looking film yet, with vivid animation and, as expected, brilliant direction.

It was not given enough weight, but I liked the message that dreams are the final sanctity of the human mind, which should not be intruded upon. This movie beautifies dreams, and attaches importance to them (as seen in Atsuko’s acknowledgement of her feelings for Dr. Torataro through her subconscious), and the suggestion that veil between them and reality is sacred really spoke to me, even if it came from the mouth of the antagonist. Paprika is a thoroughly enjoyable, visually captivating movie, which does overwhelming justice to its theme of dreaming, but which has flaws in its plot and characters that prevent it from being a great achievement as a film.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


    Okay, I'm going to repeat what many others have said, and state that Texhnolyze is NOT a series for everyone. The pace is slow and punishing, and if your main squeeze is the straightforward action side of anime you will probably hate this.

However rather than bore me, I personally found the pace to be a breath of fresh air. This slow and steady treatment of the story is more realistic and true-to-life for me, and while it might not be as instantly gratifying as some other series it's truly enveloping and convincing. The plot itself is highly complex, and as with Lain, Texhnolyze's spiritual predecessor, you probably won't be able to take it all in with one viewing.

The art is beautiful and highly atmospheric. The world of Lux springs to life with many lush, yet dark and gloomy settings. The characters are soft spoken but oddly compelling, especially in the case of Ichise. They're also weirdly real. The cast of Texhnolyze is one of the more believably human ensembles I've ever seen in an anime, and it's difficult not to become attached to them.

Another point I'd like to bring up is the weird disconnect it establishes between the events that happen on screen and the viewer. Right from the getgo the perspective seems grimly neutral. Texhnolyze isn't telling you how to feel about what's happening, just presenting what happens and letting you make the call. The realistic presentation and attention to detail add to this sensation. It's almost as if the story was told from the point of view of the mysterious city itself.

Between the realistic pacing, heady plot, and gorgeous settings, Texhnolyze was one of those rare anime that, for me, made everything else seem not quite as good. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a contemplative, challenging series.

Anime: Texhnolyze - Click to Watch the Series
 Texhnolyze - Inhumane & Beautiful (Vol. 1)Texhnolyze - Spectacle (Vol. 2)Texhnolyze - Retaliation (Vol. 3)


In a man-made underground society, descendants of a banished generation vie for control of the crumbling city of Lux. Ichise, an orphan turned prize fighter, loses a leg and an arm to satisfy an enraged fight promoter. On the brink of death he is taken in by a young woman doctor and used as a guinea pig for the next evolution of Texhnolyze. With his new limbs, Ichise is taken under the wing of Oonishi, a powerful leader of Organ, an organization with some hold on Lux. As Ichise is drawn deeper into a war for territorial control of the city, he learns of his possible future from the young girl prophet Ran, who guides him from the shadows in his darkest times. With the explosion of the warfare, Ichise must uncover the truth about Lux and fight for his survival as he realizes his destiny. (Source: ANN)

Texhnolyze: TV Series Complete Box


Awesomely eerie instrumental.