Sunday, January 20, 2008

Crosshairs closing in on the Kill + Fan Service

Genocyber's menu design is officially done. I could be pretentious and act like the months it took to finish them made them something special, but hell, it didn't. The big issue is more that... well, there's very little "art" for it kicking around that's worth using. The best shot of Genocyber herself available is either a shitty 480x360 or whatever scan of a Cel CPM was given or taking a screencap from the visibly compressed LD->DVD copy I still have, so I went with the latter and just tried to photoshop the living shit out of pretty much everything. I may change one or two of the OST screencaps, but at this point the only thing to do is navigation.

Education time folks: I hate DVD menus. I mean, the building can be fun, but the button-ing sucks balls in shit. DVD was limited to 1996 technology, which means that while the menu can be either an MPEG-2 video stream or 16-bit BMP image file, the buttons - that is, the subpicture (same technology DVD uses for subtitles) - are a BMP still limited to 4 colors at any one time. What this means is you really have three colors, since one of them is going to be transparent, less you can't see that menu at all. So you need to be clever after that: do you outline the button and work in some anti-aliasing? Or would you rather have 2-colored buttons and no aliasing? Also, these buttons can change color when you actually select them. Or you can make them totally transparent, just to fuck with the audience. Anyway, thing is when you only have 4 colors to work with, you can't do anything horribly pretty or complex. And with only 720x480 to work with in NTSC discs those 4 colors are going to look really edgey when you're finished.

In short, I can't wait for Blu-Ray, if for no other reason that I could make menus technically more sexy than anything DVD is even remotely capable of. They can even go "beep!" and you can view them while the movie still plays. Badass. A shame I'll have to learn Java to make anything usable out of them. >.>

Here's a preview of the chapter and language menus, which I don't think I've pimped prior. If you squint on the chapter menus you'll see a horsie. No, I lie: you'll see the "cross hair" motif I'm using for the buttons. I'll highlight the scene title too (and those may change if I get frustrated enough with 'em), so should they look like utter shit I might just can them entirely. Dunno'. Genocyber has sort of been an epic of great ideas that looked like dookie when I finished with them, but I'm starting to feel like the goddamn things are coming together anyway. I'm probably wrong, but it'd be nice if I was right.

In other news, my DVD Recorder seems to have kicked the bucket, at least where DVD-RW are concerned. Everything I record I to to -RW so that I can cut footage as I like before burning it to a final DVD. (Plus I'd rather have no menus than the goofy things that my Sanyo hardware generates. Yuck.) Being 2 years old and a gift I doubt I have the receipt or warranty information anymore, and even if I do I doubt it'll amount to much, but I'll give a look in the closet later tonight just in case. This has served me well in capturing both VHS and LD in above-average quality for about 24 months now, and while I do hate how slow and clunky the combo unit is I can't say that I'll miss it if I can get a slimmer, more capable and sexy replacement for it. Preferably one that'll play PAL/non-Region 1 DVDs, but I won't hold my breath, particularly not on my budget. Sounds like I could probably buy a >$99 recorder and then patch it via firmware to be code free, which would be pretty awesome, but I never had any luck with the 30 pound monster DVD Recorder/VCR combo unit that recently chucked it's up. Frankly this could all be a sign for me to man-up and start capturing everything as raw NTSC video to an external HDD and then just AVISynth/CCE SP its' gloriously uncompressed ass from there, though having already had a delete-the-download party and still having less than 50 gigs left - a mere 20% of my current hard disk! - the cost of a new HDD would likely be more than the cost of a new DVD-RW machine. Mind I'm still curious to see if all that I've learned would create better results,

Oh hey, random thought: LDs store video as composite NTSC while VHS stores it as component NTSC, despite component masters and connections never having actually been used on analog tape formats. So you're better off connecting a VCR with an S-Video cable than you are an LD player, despite the LD transfer being better than the VHS every time. Weird, huh?

P.S. - Have the following bad ass MAHOU SHOUJO AI/SEXY MAGICAL GIRL image I found at random while finally unRARing the hell out of 3+ gigs worth of fap-magazines I torrented months ago and only read, like, 3 or 4 of. Don't get me wrong, Mahou Shoujo Ai, Jibriel, and Ikusa Otome Valkyrie manga are awesome beyond non-sexual reasoning, and I'm always glad to see something called a "Rape Girls In Glasses Anthology", but the fact that there was an Injuu Seisen ~ Twin Angels book was all I really needed to hear.

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