3DS Themer Log - Shelter Day 02Feb 20, 2017
There wasn't much done today at all. Mostly just finished rendering out some possible Rin images that I could use for the foreground since I didn't find ones I liked on my simple google search (not the greatest way to get renders anyways). The only real main thing that was accomplished was making a loop of one of the 8-bit tracks as a test to see what sizes and times I would be working with.
For the specific track I used, the intro including first verses until the repeated first pattern, it ended up being roughly 76 seconds long, pretty much ruling out the idea of maybe having the intro pattern, verses, and then alternate intro pattern loop with a subloop going through the verses and alternate intro pattern.
Since it's been a while, I thought I'd also try out using LoopingAudioConverter again just to see how it works out. As it turns out, the output does indeed work just fine on my 3ds, but I noticed a rather irksome problem with the output in that every single output has a different checksum despite using the same song and the same settings. Possibly it's just some irrelevant metadata type stuff, but having a situation where putting in the same input results in a slightly different output just bothers me. At the same time, there are some options available in LAC that does help make things convenient, such as choosing the sample rate, but at a glance, the program is still confusing.
3DS Themer Log - Shelter Day 01Feb 19, 2017
So after listening to Shelter and the Pure 100% remix for literally over a week, I decided that Rin is indeed way cute enough for my 3ds. Of course that means once again spending a derp level amount of time on another 3ds theme. As always, the works are planned, so full custom everything based off of what I can find.
The main issue with Shelter is the lack of other resources that I can use. Fan-art is great but inconsistent if I blend too many of them together, the music doesn't exactly lend itself to being looped with words. And there really isn't any extra media to steal sound effects from beyond the song itself.
So the first pressing issue is the song. At 3-4 minutes long, the quality would definitely be shit trying to stuff all of it into a small enough size. I could either mangle the song into something that can no longer be accurate to sing to OR I could drop the words. Thankfully there are some 8-bit remixes that I can utilize on that end (at least 5 different ones). Surprisingly enough one of them was a shortened "Arcade" sort of version that really only had the first verse, which wouldn't be a bad idea to loop and drops the 3-4 minutes down to only 40-50 seconds. Unfortunately it's rather...lacking in comparison. So the current plan is to revise one of the other 8-bit songs to align more with the "arcade" version.
Images are also pretty lacking in terms of scrolling images, though that is pretty normal. There is a couple rather fancy images though that could be stitched together with a little bit of work....though it's more along the lines of visuals and broken transitions rather than a completely seamless background. My main plan is to have a render of both older and younger Rin, though whether to put them between changing worlds or in their respective realities or swap them is still up in the air. There is enough background to cover both the top and bottom screens if I wanted, otherwise I still have enough leeway to shrink down the entire thing a little and use that as a single top screen. Then the bottom screen is open for something like the tablet interface shown in the video with a little bit of animation or something.
Pretty much, nothing really set in stone at the moment and partly just resource gathering to see how feasible this theme might be (in particular sound effects might be a little worrisome without maybe supplementing them with some generic chiptune sfx). Nothing much beyond grabbing resources, listening to different versions, and initial melding of images.
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3DS Themer Log - Bakemonogatari Day XXSep 20, 2016
So today I thought I would finally revisit my Bakemonogatari theme after months of leaving it on my desktop untouched. As per usual, I still have no idea what to make the icon border, but at this point I decided I'd at least toss the towel in and make a release. Worst case, I come up with something better and just update the theme.
Honestly there isn't really much to talk about. Most of the theme was already complete and a song was decided while I was making my videos. The only real thing that I had to finish was the 3d folder colors, which I just put some colors in. Disregarding the less than spectacular icon border, I'm pretty satisfied with the theme overall. On actual hardware, the oranges look a tad over-saturated and the 3d folder is more pink than I would like, so I might tweak those colors if I revisit the theme.
The only real things I'm proud of in the theme are the sounds and the background picture, both of which took the most time to actually finalize. Anyways, here's the preview:
And with that, I'm probably done with 3DS theming. Of course, the same thing applies now as the last time I said this. If there is a theme I want to make, I might make it provided I find an image that lends itself to be scrolling and there are good sound effects, etc. Otherwise, I'm satisfied with my themes. For a self-proclaimed themer, and one who criticizes others themes, maybe making only 11 themes before calling it quits is pretty arrogant...but fuk it, my themes are awesome and I've got an ego the size of my head.
3DS Themer Log - Bakemonogatari Day 5Apr 11, 2016
Another listlessly dull day. I gave a shot at an alternate folder icon despite knowing that it probably would fail considering the colors of the theme as I mentioned in the previous blog post. I'm not exactly satisfied with the end look either...mostly because what really seems to give it effect is a full bosom...
Of course, the color issue is a completely separate story. Since the railing and Senjougahara use darker colors, it's a little bit of a strain to see the folder quickly, clearly, and easily, and thanks to the shoddy quality, the final look is rather...subpar. It's actually enough to not make it worth it to even make the folder open icon for this variation.
That aside, the list of potential songs is around 7 and because of how indecisive I'm feeling about it, I've begun to make a couple of the largely potential songs into loops to see if any can be removed due to simple repetitiveness or inability to have a varied loop.
To sum up the remaining things to complete on this theme, it's just the icon borders and bgm before a final quality check to see if there is anything that needs a little bit of extra tweaking.
On a completely different note, I have at best, only two recorded video tutorial so far, despite being done with various parts of the theme. I did have a folder close tutorial...but it lasted for an hour, so I'm planning on remaking it now that I have a finer idea of what the "final product" entails.
3DS Themer Log - Bakemonogatari Day 4Apr 10, 2016
So today was a fairly fruitful day. I finally finished up the background image and tweaked it for looping, and with the new images I could decide on almost all of the colors for the theme elements. All that remains is to make some new icons for the icon border and folders...and of course get the music finalized.
I still need to make some test folders for Senjougahara's casual outfit and see how those look. I like the idea of using the casual dress, but there are a variety of reasons why it might not be the best choice. Using the casual outfit, the colors would be black-gray and white for the folder which might not be as prominent as the school outfit which uses a reddish-pink. The reddish-pink colors aren't used anywhere within the theme (at least in large amounts) and provide a rather nice contrast.
Anyways, that is about all that happened for today. Feels nice to look at.
3DS Themer Log - Bakemonogatari Day 3Apr 8, 2016
So after a "break" from Bakemonogatari theming to search for some audio resources I finally decided I'd make a preliminary folder close icon to get a preview of what it would look like. I feel like it's a fair improvement over the original one...but I'm still torn if I should actually use this icon yet or if I should go with Senjougahara's casual dress like in the background.
Aside from the folder (of which I recorded a full hour of me making the folder close icon from start to finish pretty much), I spent a lot of time trying to find the system sounds for Bakemonogatari Portable, but it turned out to be fruitless efforts. So instead, I just recorded them using audacity and PPSSPP...which I should make a video now that I think about it. I'll probably just go over all of the sound effect tweaks and things within the same video since apparently this videos are just going to be really long.
The only plus side is that I have now selected all of the sound effects that I'm going to need for the theme and for the most part, I doubt I'm going to find anything else that I would rather have. You never know though, I'm still listening to various Bakemonogatari songs and keeping an ear out for potential excerpts that would make a good sfx.
On a different note, after listening to the same Bakemonogatari tracks over and over again, one song in particular is really sticking, though I'm still considering between the 13 tracks I have left to narrow down.
There wasn't particularly much that I accomplished, but I did toss around the idea of making a Kaiki theme because of an animated gif of him hair-drying that would have been kind of amusing as a bottom screen, and the top screen I could try the tiling background with a rather simplistic icon I found...and there is the great music for Kaiki that I have liked since ages ago.
3DS Themer Log - Bakemonogatari Day 2Apr 5, 2016
So it's the second day of Bakemonogatari theming and for the most part, the background is actually pretty close to complete. There is still the issue of the plants near the bottom and the actual looping, but otherwise it turned out decently.
In terms of actual discussion though, there isn't much on that topic. I did give some tools from photoshop a try (the patch and spot heal brush tools) in order to assist in removing Senjougahara's existence from the picture. Patch in particular was helpful, though not all that different from what I could have done with GIMP. If there were one plus the patch tool had was that the GIMP method would have required some smudging and other tricks beyond just a copy paste whereas the PS tool had an algorithm to do that part (not that it always did well at it :/). Other than that, I remade a lot of the fence to hide the mess and I'll still need to mess with it in order to make the fence loop properly.
On the topic of looping, I also need to work on the clouds to make them loop as well which should be...fairly simple actually. Much more so than the tweaks I'm planning to do to the fence to make ends meet.
With the background aside, I am still planning on going ahead with the folder icon shirt, and the icon background will probably be a reference to the crab. I'm hoping to make something along the lines of the Wario icon background from Ryumaru, but that is less set in stone than other things.
The main thing that I started today was filtering down potential candidates for the background music for my theme from the OST. This is probably one of the more loathsome things to do as I can't watch anime/youtube and need to pay attention to the music itself. Hopefully I can harvest the sfx from Bakemonogatari Portable (a psp game) which would save me from having to hunt for sfx within the OST tracks like I did with Nisekoi.
Amazingly enough there are a number of different songs that I think might actually work quite well and fit the theme...though there are also a large number of songs that just don't match or are songs for other characters. This makes narrowing down the song kind of a long and tedious process within itself requiring sustained focus from anywhere between an hour to a couple of hours. So pretty much it's listening to excerpts of songs for a short while, skip to the next song, delete/save previous, maybe read on the side a little while listening.
Overall though, it's boring as shit until I actually come across a song that sounds pretty good. For these kinds of themes, I like to gravitate towards songs that are either more mellowed out songs or those "slice of life" styled songs with a little bit of energy. Thankfully, only 74 more songs out of the original 800-900+ to finish my first pass through all of the songs.
3DS Themer Log - Bakemonogatari Day 1Apr 4, 2016
So shit just happened to align and I wanted to make a new theme. As it turns out, during this past week, Flamespeedster released a Bakemonogatari theme that I found quite spiffy for the picture. I had taken an initial look and was hoping it was a scrolling screen theme, but unfortunately it wasn't. It actually bothered me because I was imagining the source image may have been a full landscape image and so I went hunting for the original image.
I found it....and I wasn't super happy (though not surprised) that it was in fact a portrait image. I came up with a possible mental solution of making a render of Senjougahara, erasing her existence from the image, enlarging the image, and then placing her back into the image in hopes of making the possibility for usage as a scrolling theme possible. The only problem was erasing Senjougahara. I did a little preliminary editing and attempted to erase her upper body (being the easier half to remove) and realized that a lot of work would have to be put into the bottom half. As with any major bits of image work, shit gets wonky after a certain threshold of major yet shoddy image editing and I wasn't really willing to spend a ton of time working on another theme because I was actually planning on making some video recordings to flesh out the "In-depth" guides section of my thread. Of course, having a large portion of video as just silent shady image editing work spanning for a couple of hours (I'm not a pro at image editing) didn't really ring a bell with me and so I dropped the idea on the same day.
Surprisingly enough, the topic came about again when Purge was asking if I was going to make another theme because apparently the one theme that I need to work on and fix up the most is the godlike one (folder icons might need a revamp if I get a better idea, and I need to clean up and make the icon borders glorious like my other ones). For whatever reason, he also was on the Bakemonogatari train and so I considered it again for a little bit.
Even with the extra consideration, I still didn't want to make the theme and was going to reply that although I was going to make a theme eventually, it might not be Bakemonogatari. This was because I came to the realization that even if I erased Senjougahara, the railing was at a slant and thus there wasn't a way to make it a clean looping image. I procrastinated on the reply in order to search for a theme topic so that even though I said I wasn't going to make a Bakemonogatari theme, I could give an idea of what I was going to make as a theme. The next day on IRC though, a guy named tilt came in with a rather rare help request.
He was asking if anyone could help him extract the voices and sound effects from the JP version of Fire Emblem Fates, not for a rom hack, or something silly, but for a theme. Of course, I read this and was like "I got this shit, whether we actually get the files or not, I'm going to try to help until we do". And so, a couple hours was spent hunting down various programs, attempting to compile others, hating Visual Studio for all the weird voodoo shit it does (though in the end, it did compile with VS) only to find out that one of the programs the guy initially tried already dumped the audio files he was looking for, but he just couldn't play them in a media player and all the names were just the offset of the file within the archive rather than actual nice filenames (metadata is there, but apparently the program just didn't use it).
So, with the actual files, we ended up getting the tool we could use to convert bcwav to wav (ctrtool) and I gave him a simple batch script to convert them. After this long experience, and well into the midnight oil, we were talking about some theme stuff and somehow Bakemonogatari came up again (maybe I brought it up) and I showed the preliminary edit I tried. Strangely enough, he thought that the railing was the hard part of erasing Senjougahara, whereas I thought that the clouds would be the really hard part. Just to prove that the railing wasn't going to really be an issue, I spent a little bit of time editing some new railing to put over Senjougahara and showed that.
During this time, I realized that I could probably fix the issue with the slanted railing and create a looping screen my slanting the entire image. Giving it a quick try, I found out that the railing itself was actually pretty straight and rotating it didn't really make the image look any worse. Momentum began to build here because I was like "huh...I have a half erased Senjougahara, and there is this pole right on the edge that I can use to hide the transition, and I don't need to blow up an image (dumpstering quality), and if I look at where the screen placements would be, and then I can vary up the plants on the bottom I think..."
At this point, I realized that I had spent a fair amount of time already just trying to remove Senjougahara and laying out a theme I wasn't even planning on making and decided I might as well finish it.
I'm considering taking up Flamespeedster's initial idea of Senjougahara's uniform as the folder icon instead of my usual icon border specifically because Senjougahara's uniform isn't bi-laterally symmetrical (she has a shirt pocket on the left)...but at that point, I might do something lewd like make the back folder a picture of her collarbone so that when the folder is open, I just have another render on top with her pulling out her collar and... Though if I wanted to do that, it might be more fitting to use her casual dress that she actually wears in the picture because there is even more skin there :3. In any case, the icon border is the "harder" thing to accomplish because I still have no ideas for that...at least, I have no ideas that I have already tried.
On a separate note, I'm more or less documenting each "major" step I take in making the background image as "snapshots" in an xcf file to hopefully make a video explaining what I did in order to accomplish it. Anyways, as a progress image:
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3DS Themer Log - Day X4Mar 17, 2016
So after weeks of on and off working, tons of resource gathering and evaluating, I've finished the initial scope of my theming project along with a couple of minor improvements to my previous themes (I still actually have some things I could fix on my older themes though). All 8 characters that I decided on now have satisfactory themes in my opinion. There actually isn't much else to say. I made some fancy previews since I'm kind of used to making that sort of thing since the days of DS theming and I made previews for all of my themes to date.
As a side note, I'm done with 3ds theming for the time being. I've made enough themes to fill the theme shuffle now, and I find all of my themes pretty satisfying to use. Unless there is some really interesting topic I want to theme, I'm good with what I got at the moment ._.
3DS Themer Log - Day X3Mar 9, 2016
So after weeks of contemplating, planning, searching, trying, and retrying, I've finally gotten to the last stretch of the SOSDan 3DS themes. Haruhi, Nagato, Mikuru, Kyon, Koizumi, Tsuruya, and Asakura all have "completed" themes leaving only Imouto left out of the original list that I came up with. As it stands though, I'm going to drop the imouto theme for maybe another time as an extra release. There are still parts that need a final look over and possibly a lot of remaking (particularly the top screens), but otherwise all of the sound effects are done, the music is done, icons are done, bottom screens are done, and most of the primary colors are done.
The pressing things that need to be looked over again:
- File colors within the folder
- Backgrounds inside of the "H"s
By themselves, the file colors actually aren't particularly bad, but yesterday I had a fantastic idea while looking over the currently completed themes and realized that I could do something like a color inversion pairing that I coincidentally did with my Haruhi and Kyon themes. The main color of Haruhi was red with minor blue, and the Kyon theme was reversed with a main blue color and minor red. And so I paired up the rest of them according to my own random pairings and ended up with:
Haruhi - Kyon
Nagato - Koizumi
Mikuru - Tsuruya
Asakura - Imouto
So after a little color rearranging, the only colors left to deal with are the file colors which I want to be the same for each pairing. This means that Haruhi and Kyon would have the same file colors, and so on for the rest of the cast. I haven't made imouto theme yet though, so currently Asakura's theme isn't colored correctly for the pairing (it would probably need to be a light reddish pink).
On the matter of the background H's, those are more along the lines of a re-evaluation if the images used are good enough and feel like they weren't just dumped in (which some of them were, hence the recheck). Some of them might require me to move around parts within the actual picture, which is something I started doing on some of the later themes.
In summary, after rewatching all of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, listening to hours of the Suzumiya Haruhi OSTs, various Japanese voice clips (relying primarily on my anime watching skills to get the gist of what was said), and amassing 500+ MiBs of images, I'm almost done with my SOSDan series 3ds themes.
3DS Themer Log - Day X2Mar 4, 2016
So, shortly after making the last post, I found out that most of my themes broke. I didn't want to assume it was the bgm.bcstm files that I spent a short amount of time calculating, but of course it was. For some terrible reason, I wanted to imagine that the person telling me that 3.3MB was talking about MiB because that would be the easy way to read the sizes that Windows tells me. Instead, the people that said 3.3MB actually did mean megabytes and not the fancy mebibytes that literally everyone is used to.
Since I took the time to figure out most of the stuff already, and the ending number is actually pretty useful for predicting what sampling rate I'd probably have to use, I thought I would update the numbers.
As it is 3.3MB, that ends up being 3.21484375 MiB and our target .wav file size would be 11.20154616724738675958 MiB. Plugging in that fancy number ends up yielding:
sample rate (Hz) = ( 2867.59581881533 / time ) * 1000
Unfortunately, even though it IS a relatively decent ballpark, the bullshit in the last post was actually more useful and more accurate. This was probably because of introducing a number almost literally pulled out from a bag (the 0.287 ratio between bcstm to wav) so early into all of the calculations. So for this post, I thought I would go from the opposite end and use my already fairly bcstms to get even closer ballparks numbers.
The main ratio I'm looking for is still the ratio between the sample rate and time aka the 2867.595818...etc, but since I have slowly tried to find the optimal sample rates for at least a couple (to the nearest 50 Hz for most) I can start from there. So here is a quick table that shows the optimal numbers I got for the different themes I have.
Optimal (Hz) | Time (Sec) | Theme | Ratio 32120 | 91 | Haruhi | 2922.92 28450 | 103 | Mikuru | 2930.35 28450 | 103 | Itsuki | 2930.35 23800 | 123 | Kyon | 2927.4 41230 | 71 | Ryoko | 2927.33 24200 | 121 | Tsuruya | 2928.2
Pretty much to summarize:
sample rate (full loop) = 2,922,920 / time (sec)
sample rate (sub loop) = 2,928,726 / time (sec)
with the optimal sample rate plus or minus 50 Hz.
3DS Themer Log - Day XXFeb 29, 2016
Aside from getting a number of the harder themes out of the way, I realized that there was a rather major issue with the way to create looping bgm files the, more or less, fancy way which involves setting an actual time/sample to start the loop. This pretty much means you can have an introductory phrase before entering the loop.
To give a quick synopsis of the themes that are "complete", aside from finalizing the Haruhi and Kyon themes, I also made the Asakura Ryoko, Koizumi Itsuki, and Asahina Mikuru themes. Just over halfway through the entire series of characters that I'm planning on making themes for, leaving just Nagato Yuki, Tsuruya-san, and the possible imouto theme if I have enough resources.
I'm quite satisfied with how most of the themes look and sound (they aren't color theory perfect or anything, but I do take some references from it and try to keep things fairly visible). The only real issue is the looping problem. While casually listening to the music it isn't quite as apparent, but knowing where the break is and paying attention to that break, it isn't looping like it is in audacity for some peculiar reason. I've tried to hunt down what could possibly be causing such a weird issue, but I have yet to figure out how to fix it. It also doesn't affect songs that are looped in their entirety, just ones that have an intro phase.
The main reason for this particular blog post is more of a reference that I can look back at to see what I've tested to try to alleviate the issue.
- Added a silent lead-in to the actual loop, which failed spectacularly as I would have expected. It just made an audible pause in the initial pass.
- Added a silent lead-out at the end of the loop
- Realigned the loop to the sample split auto-generated in BRSTM/BCSTM Conversion Tool closest to my actual split...which didn't do shit.
- Realigned the loop to start and end in multiples of 14336 samples as suggested here, which felt like it had the greatest effect of relieving the issue, but it might as well be a placebo effect.
Finally I decided I should test out Yata+'s conversion to BRSTM since it uses BrstmConv which should be the defacto standard sort of app for this stuff. Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly depending on how you look at it, BrstmConv actually worked completely. No more weird ass audio hiccup at the end, just a smooth loop as intended.
I suppose the worst thing to come out of this is that now instead of just using audacity and BRSTM/BCSTM Conversion Tool, I have to use BrstmConv as well. It's really kind of shitty that I have to use so many programs just to deal with this kind of stuff.
The current list of programs used:
- Audacity for audio editing
- Gimp for image editing
- Usagi 3ds Theme Tool for theme previewing
- Foobar2000 for initial audio previewing/finding
- Yata+/BrstmConv for converting to .bcstm
- Howling Theme Tool for packing my themes into a .cia
- FalconPuncher for sending .cia via wifi
- FBI for installing via wifi
- BigBlueMenu for uninstalling CTR-M-HMME-00 entry (because apparently FBI fails at it)
Honestly it would be pretty neat to see a feature in Usagi to pack and send themes for testing. Maybe one day Brstm/Bcstm conversion too. Then all I would need to really find would be a better CIA installer that didn't have such weird shortcomings.
On a separate note, I thought I would dump some extra thoughts on how to optimize the quality of the bgm audio without going past the limit.
The standard ballpark formula for a wav file is:
size = sample rate * number of channels * (bits per sample /8) * time in seconds
The size ratio for wav -> bcstm is about 0.287 meaning the target filesize we are looking for is about 11.5 MBs maximum wav file size ( (1 / 0.287) * 3.3MB ).
So if we were to rearrange this to solve for the sample rate instead (which would be the easiest and probably best thing to change):
sample rate (kHz) = (size (MBs) * 1024) / (# of channels * (bits per sample / 8) * time in seconds)
And simplify the sorts of numbers that you normally should have (2 channels, 16 bits per sample, 11.5MBs file size):
sample rate = ( 2945.714688601645 / time ) * 1000
With this, you can get a rough estimate of the "best" sample rate you could get with your loop. Rounding up to the nearest 50th or 100th is probably pretty safe to do as well. Ex: 28,594Hz to 28,600Hz .... or 22034Hz to 22050Hz.
3DS Themer Log - Day 5Feb 21, 2016
So today I thought I would try to make my working files a little more organized with folders, selecting the colors that I'm going to use for the different themes, and making a new theme with the resulting template. Most of the artwork is actually done and the stuff that is left consists primarily of selecting images that seem to fit into the H's and look decent enough, along with the voice acted sound effects, folder icons, and finalizing the colors to something that "pops" out a little more.
All in all, it was a lot faster to get the general theme put together. I made another icon border to match the guy uniforms, so that can be reused for Koizumi's theme. Unfortunately, I still don't have a good folder icon to match with all of the themes, though the "M" logo is really tempting to use.
As a little rant about folder icons, I REALLY dislike folder icons that just grab the logo or a character's face and slaps it on as a folder. It doesn't take into consideration of the colors, or the fact that naming folders puts a huge letter in the middle of the folder, or ANYTHING. That doesn't mean to completely bar them from the folder icons, but I mean these icons are ones that may possibly be reduced to something like 20x20px icons. More likely than not "Dimension W" is not going to be readable at ANY point making it literally worthless. If anything, the preferred way to go about folder icons might be to just come up with an initial design first, and avoid the logos or faces at all costs. Then if all is really lost, and not even just a simple color pattern works well, then resort to logos. Just using them right off the bat feels like a cop out of some actual ideas and overall of the themes that I have seen that do end up using logos, faces, etc., they just don't look as great or as well planned as other themes.
3DS Themer Log - Day 4Feb 19, 2016
So I completed the rest of the Haruhi theme for the time being. The bottom screen was fairly simple since I decided to use the animated H that I tried earlier and leave the rest of it rather sparse.
The folders were also fairly quick, though whether or not I am going to keep the design or completely remake them is still up in the air. Originally I wanted to go for mimicking one of the various armbands that Haruhi wears, but after trying it a couple times I feel like the bottom screen could use more colors that oppose red rather than blend into it.
Unfortunately, even though I want to change the colors, at the moment I don't have any really appealing ideas for folder icons at the moment, and so it's something I'm going to just mull over while doing other bits. If possible, I'd like to do an orange-ish yellow color...but you never know if something else might look better.
I also took the effort to try and normalize the volume of the sound effects. Normally it would be pretty simple with just in-game sound effects, but since this theme uses actual voice acting, straight normalizing is somewhat...distasteful. I didn't want to spend a huge amount of effort though, so I'm going to just mention the entire process that I could have gone through.
First would be to decide on the volume of the bgm. Since my theme utilizes voice clips, I am trying to keep in mind that the music will be rather overpowering when the voices are played, thus the volume should be lowered enough to feel like background music in comparison to the actual voice clips.
Then increase the quieter sounds within the voice clips through dynamic range compression and then readjust the overall "volume" with something like normalize. This is only really needed since the music I have is rather loud (and I could actually probably stand to turn it down a little). After all of the voice clips are at roughly the same level, I'd need to test and consider whether or not the voice clips are feeling drowned out in comparison to both the bgm and the other sound effects.
Since the other sound effects are standard sorts of sound effects, they will naturally seem louder than the voice clips, thus, instead of normalizing all of the sound effects to the same level as the voice clips, they should be toned down enough so that the voices feel pronounced.
If I were to give an order of "volume priority", it would be: voice clips > sound effects > bgm.
The rest of the theme was just picking/testing different colors and deciding on the ones I liked best. So, for the most part, the Haruhi theme is done. All that is feasibly left that I would like changed is tuning the audio levels (which I didn't do yet) and finalizing a design for the folder icons...and also possibly a top/bottom bar if I think it looks better with one.
3DS Themer Log - Day 3 Part 1Feb 17, 2016
After a short amount of searching, I found the tools I needed to extract some more assets from Tsuisou, which gave to more voices, sound effects, foreground characters, and backgrounds. The characters have frames that could work as animated blinking and mouth moving, but otherwise, not particularly useful. The backgrounds as well have fairly limited uses.
With the enormous amount of audio assets, I decided to finish up picking the rest of the sound effects for just the Haruhi theme. Quality between the in-game visual novel and other sections of the game actually had varying quality, so I decided to grab all of the voice clips from the same section of the game.
After finalizing the audio files I'm going to use, I still had the issue of the top screen layout. I made a small dancing letter H as a test animation to see how that would look, and took a break as well. Interestingly enough, while thinking about what I could do for the top screen, I tried to consider what image assets I had available to all of the characters. It ended up coming down to:
- I have a relatively limited amount of individual visual assets for any character that isn't the 3 heroines.
- There are a variety of premade, tasteful wallpapers that I could possibly use.
- Some sort of patterning background would be the most viable way to use a render AND have it loop for the 3ds screen scroll.
While thinking about them, I realized I could utilize some sort of collage styled background so that I wouldn't need to rely primarily on just renders AND could use the great backgrounds that are already around (with similar artwork). After coming up with the actual idea, coming up with a layout was easy enough and the results are acceptable.
With that complete, there is only the bottom screen, folder icons, and coloration to really worry about. As a plus, since the template was set up fairly well, the rest of the top screens for the other cast members should be fairly easy and since the H background images are not part of the main focus, I don't explicitly NEED to have that specific cast member in the shot thanks to how little is actually shown. The only real issue is that in order to fit the images into the H outlines well, sometimes a little artwork extrapolation is needed (I'm manually adding extra bits as needed).