Hatsune Miku

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DaFool
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Hatsune Miku

#1 Post by DaFool » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:31 pm

Hatsune Miku (google: Hatsune Miku) is a recent character vocaloid that is so popular in anime circles, that she already has ero-doujinshi and even an upcoming eroge in her name. Vocaloid is an artificial voice synthesizer technology developed by Yamaha. There are several singer libraries released already, including English voice, but it seems Hatsune Miku is the one that grabs otaku attention.

Why am I interested in this? Well, imagine if you were a one-man studio. If one can already write, program, draw, and compose music, the only thing lacking to make a complete product -- whether animation or a visual novel, is character voice. Having access to this 24-7 virtual voice actress means that one can have total creative control over a project.

Sadly, it seems Hatsune Miku is only available in Japanese right now. I wouldn't mind Jp voice (in fact it's preferred), the problem is the instructions and operation will be in Japanese also. I also don't think I have the requirements to integrate a vocaloid -- I'm just a user of freeware programs. We have lots of musicians in this forum? Have any of you looked in depth into Hatsune Miku, and investigated whether her software package can integrate with your equipment and level of software, such as Cubase?

I'm also curious about the equivalent English Vocaloid 2 release, Sweet Ann. It looks to have a standalone capability (Yay!), but it's a bit expensive for me right now.

Anyway, I'm really excited, and can't wait to get more access to this technology. One appeal of the animated medium to me is that the audience is not too dependent on the performance of the live actors. A good artist will be able to convey the same emotions through the performance of virtual characters. Still, voice actresses and actors are really crucial and can make or break a show or game, especially with bad dubbing. But with artificial voices, a creator on a modest budget will be able to dub on his own. Once I've mastered a vocaloid of my own, I will then be able to totally do away with live action film or television and create totally new worlds dependent only on the imagination with the help of technology to create virtual characters.

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#2 Post by monele » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:48 pm

I tried the english demo of Vocaloid Myriam and it... sucked. Really. I don't know, I guess it's a Vocaloid 1 version... maybe this Sweet Ann will be better *shrugs*. Miku on the other hand sounds really good (youtube has a few very cool vids as an example) and even if it does sound kinda electronic, it's the kind of thing you could forget easily and still enjoy the song. Of course you can't make people think it's an actual singer but darn is it getting close ô_o... (actually, one example of Youtube has a song with its original singer and then the same with Miku and... well... on that one, it's pretty hard to tell that it's a Vocaloid and not just "another singer").
The thing I'm more concerned about is ease of use... and price. But I guess any price would be a bargain compared to paying an actual singer, hey? ^^;.

I um... tried Miku and the japanese interface is not too big of a deal if you try your hand at the english demo first. But language aside, getting her voice to sound really good is not always easy. It's *very* simple to just type lyrics along with notes and have it sound proper though. It's when you try to finetune things that it gets hard. I also thought the fact you can't make Vocaloid play a music wav along with the voice a huge flaw. How do you synch anything? ô_o...
Well... after playing a bit with it, I realized I was not going to do much anyway. I'm not one to create a whole japanese styled opening song for my game anyway XD... too bad... I did think of using Miku as a voice actress, though, but... believe it or not, it's easier to synthetize singing than talking. Basically, for good acting, you'd need an incredible array of tuning tools to reproduce tones and all that stuff... and Vocaloid can't do it to that point, so... no luck either.

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#3 Post by DaFool » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:56 pm

If I'm not mistaken you should be able to synch MIDI to it. Try playing with one of the MagBou midis you have. I'm a MIDI composer, so I'm anxious to know how it will work.

Well, so fully-voiced VNs might be far out so far, but maybe having some trance / euro-pop / new-age stuff would be relatively doable. I would so like to have an anime-style opening for my game! Also, I'll also probably stick in cute expressions (similar to the Blade Engine offerings), like "Nani? Baka! Hentai!!!" or at least lots of cute squeaks.

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#4 Post by Jake » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:53 pm

DaFool wrote:Also, I'll also probably stick in cute expressions (similar to the Blade Engine offerings), like "Nani? Baka! Hentai!!!" or at least lots of cute squeaks.
Having played Skies of Arcadia, I think I can safely say that I can't imagine a more irritating vocal option than "only talk when one of a few stock phrases comes up in regular dialogue and remain silent the rest of the time"...
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Re: Hatsune Miku

#5 Post by PyTom » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:04 am

Jake wrote:I can't imagine a more irritating vocal option than "only talk when one of a few stock phrases comes up in regular dialogue and remain silent the rest of the time"...
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Re: Hatsune Miku

#6 Post by monele » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:48 am

I hope that last one wasn't given as an example of "more irritating" ^^;... I love my objections! ;o;...

DaFool : they do have a feature that allows to synch stuff through... uh... I forgot the name of the protocol they use. It's supposed to be found in various professional music programs... that I don't have (I don't really use midi). And what if I want to synch with an mp3 anyway? :p (many YT videos are resinging of popular songs that I can't imagine being midi).

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#7 Post by Ren » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:34 am

I haven't played Skies of Arcadia, so I don't know how it works there, but I love how you can only hear giggles or shouts or what-have-you in Zelda, maybe it's because I'm not fond of the usual English dubbing games have...

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#8 Post by yummy » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:13 pm

I... Tried the retail version, and the interface is in japanese. Being a jap talker myself, it isn't a real great problem. So I tried to compose a tune with it (hehe try to tell where it's from).
After 2 hours of tweaking (sometimes not really knowing what I was doing because I'm no sound engineer), I ended with something.
You enter the lyrics using romaji and you place the note into an editor, much like in cubase if you're familiar with midi editors. You're able to use portamento, pitch, and many other options that would take 2 pages to list.
The result is quite astounding, sometimes it seems like a real person is singing and sometimes not (because I'm no sound engineer again).
Here's a small demo :D

As Monny said, it's not that easy to reproduce a human voice...

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#9 Post by Vatina » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:32 pm

Lol I tried looking her up on Youtube and found this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbbA9BhCTko

xD
The graphic alone... is so cute.

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Jake
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Re: Hatsune Miku

#10 Post by Jake » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:21 pm

PyTom wrote:That is all.
The 'Objection!' is fun and all, but I kind of suspect that if the developers could have afforded (financially and device-wise) a fully-acted vocal track for the entire script they probably would have loved to...

But that's not really what I meant, 'cause the 'Objection' in Phoenix Wright games is used more as a sound effect than a vocal track. And Zelda's 'vocals' aren't actually language, which makes them less intrusive.
Skies
had a few common phrases which got voiced, run into normal dialogue, so you'd get something like:

[Text] "Oh no! We're going to hit the other ship!"
[Vocals] "Oh no!"

Or more irritatingly:

[Text] "Hey, but wait... if he's here, and... Aha! He must be a spy!"
[Vocals] "Hey... Aha!"
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Re: Hatsune Miku

#11 Post by yummy » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:26 pm

Wah, I never thought there were so much videos about her there.
Here are the most incredible ones I listened to or watched :
True to my heart (Ave;New)
Fly me to the moon
Haruhi ED
White Reflection
Mononoke hime
Incredible artwork + CCS op3(Platina)
Thanks a lot Vatina, I discovered a new musical universe :D
Last edited by yummy on Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#12 Post by MoonlightBomber » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:23 pm

Korina Sanchez: Ex-sensei Mel, we've met again.
Mel Tiangco: I'm expecting this from my former student.
Korina Sanchez: I know all along the reason for your presence.
Mel Tiangco: Of course. Your hairbrush.
Korina Sanchez: Snatch it again? Well, you're mistaken. It's because my hairbrush's container is packed with security features. What's your say?
Mel Tiangco: If you can do security... (pause) then 120% of my strength will shatter it!

Excerpt from Super Network Wars Omega: Suikoden Pilipinas

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#13 Post by rocket » Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:31 am

ZMOG!
MoonlightBomber wrote: Now I wonder why Miku sometimes has a leek with her?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loituma_Girl

Because someone does an anime mashup of a Finnish song back in '06, Miku sings it and is now immortally aossociated with leeks...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=_bY5CxyH3_c

Ah luvs muh interwebs!

But, why no Numa Numa or Motteke! Sailor Fuku?

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#14 Post by Mirielle » Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:56 am

Whilst the singing demonstrations are impressive, I don't think such synthesisers would be very good voice acting wise. After all, when a human speaks, they don't hit the same note, the same way every time. It would be very hard to create the emotion that you need in voice acting with this type of program.

I'm not just biased because of the highly unlikely case that vocaloids may make human voice actors out of work (even though I do it for free...) and obsolete. It's just that I don't see it working well for "acting". Even though she is really cute~

Or maybe I'm just jealous because she's a better singer than me. :3
Available for voice acting - Please listen to my demo reel!

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Re: Hatsune Miku

#15 Post by monele » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:18 pm

I like the 2D Loitume Miku better :3
http://youtube.com/watch?v=a5kDcIJ9i_A

And I'll post the one thing I tried with Miku XD...
http://monele.ifrance.com/divers/Miku_MagBou.ogg

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