Tag Archives: Anime

Taking video snapshots quickly: KDE VLC Snapper

Some of the oldest readers of this blog are well aware of a certain hobby of mine. Over the years I’ve always wanted to write more about that, including the stuff I’m viewing nowadays, but I found a hassle to collect snapshots from videos / DVDs, selecting them, and so on. 

Recently I learnt that VLC has some rather complete Python bindings, and I thought, why not make the process automated? Yesterday I had some free time on my hands and a quick session of hacking brought some results already.
As the stuff is somewhat past prototypal stage, I thought I would push somewhere for others to use.  Lo and behold, here I present you KDE VLC Snapper.
As you can see, it’s a minimal dialog: just select your source video file (any file supported by VLC will do), the number of screencaps, the destination directory, and the program will do the rest. Currently it works somewhat OK (see caveats below) and is good enough for my use cases.

How do I get it?

Just clone this repository:
git clone http://git.gitorious.org/kde-vlc-snapper/kde-vlc-snapper.git

followed by

sudo python setup.py install

You can then invoke the program with

kdevlcsnapper
Requirements include PyKDE4 (tested on KDE Dev Platform 4.6), numpy (just for its “linspace” function, alternatives are welcome) and VLC installed (you don’t need the bindings, however: I provide a local copy).
What about bugs? Well, currently there are two issues that I’m unsure on how to fix: the first is a crash on exit, the second is that certain media files make VLC crash in the background when called from the bindings.
In any case, if you try it out, let me know what you think in the comments!

Ar Tonelico III

Ar Tonelico III cover image

It’s been a while since I blogged about anything non-FOSS. This time I’ll be sharing some impressions on one of the games I’m playing at the moment, that is, Ar Tonelico III (which arrived at my doorstep two days ago). I admit I haven’t been a fan of Gust games (aside from Ar Tonelico, they’re known mostly for the Atelier series), mostly because technically wise they didn’t really perform that well. While I understood they’re a small company, sometimes it was a little too much.

I bought this one because from the movies and information disseminated throughout the net it looked like it was better, so I started reading information, which in turn prompted the buy: it’s also a good way to keep my Japanese in order, as I need to keep up with the language if I want to understand things.

Right now I’ve just played a couple of hours, and it looks decent, although with some technical issues (the characters glide over the terrain, rather than walk). I’ve also seen the infamous Purge System in action (look it up online), which made quite a number of fan sneer for a various number of reasons. As of the story, I can’t say anything at the moment: I’ve just started. At least it is moderately fun.

Here’s a hands-on (Italian) which covers more details. I’ll try to post a few updates in the future (if I don’t forget….)

And here’s a quick video I made with my camera:

danbooru2Nepomuk – a Nepomuk tagger for Danbooru images

If you dabble with anime and related things like I do, you may have heard about imageboards. A known variant, which powers sites such as moe.imouto (some links may be NSFW) or Konachan, is Danbooru, a Ruby on Rails application. One of the characteristics of this software is that images stored there can be tagged to be identified as precisely as possible: common tags are for example the magazine where the image was taken from, the characters depicted, and so on.

Once you save the file, however, all the tags are just present in your file name, and nowhere else. LIke that, they’re not that informative. That’s where danbooru2nepomuk comes into play. danbooru2nepomuk is a small Python program that can turn the tags present into the filenames into real semantic tags.

Requirements

As of this post, danbooru2nepomuk works only on Linux, so if you are a Windows user, you’re out of luck. Also, it requires a KDE (tested with version 4.3.1).

danbooru2nepomuk is a Python program, so it requires first of all the Python interpreter, version 2.5 or later. It has been developed to use the Nepomuk semantic desktop framework present in KDE, so you’ll also need PyQt4 and PyKDE4, along with a working Nepomuk installation. Most distributions use the broken Soprano redland backend, which will not work, so I suggest you to switch to the sesame2 backend, which (although dependent on Java) works reasonably well.

Download and installation

Simply get danbooru2nepomuk.zip, rename it to .py from .zip, save it in your PATH, and make it executable. Nothing more than that.

Usage

danbooru2nepomuk is a command line appplication. Its syntax is simple:

danbooru2nepomuk.py [-r] <file or directory>

If you specify a file, it will be tagged directly; if you specify a directory, it will be scanned for files, and those in turn will be tagged. If you add the -r switch to a directory, it will be scanned recursively, while it will be simply ignored if you use it with a file.

Configuration

You can specify a tag blacklist for tags in the filename that you don’t want to get in. To do so, edit the TAGS_BLACKLIST variable on line 41, and add more tags you don’t want Nepomuk to pick up.

Known issues

None that I know of, at least! If you find any, let me know.

danbooru2nepomuk is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.

Tears to Tiara – Blu-Ray volume 1

Today, after some customs delay and courier problems, I finally received the first volume of Tears to Tiara. Having got a PS3, I chose the Blu-Ray version (priced 8,192 yen, quite steep if you hear me): as I preordered it soon enough, I got the first presse edition, which, according to CDJapan, was comprised of a “deluxe outer case”, a “stick poster” and a booklet, in addition to the Blu-ray itself.

This is how it looked after unpacking:

The “deluxe outer case” is in fact a cardboard case which is quite large. Perhaps too large for its contents when we look inside:

As you can see, we have here a rather thin artbook, the famous “stick poster”, and the BD itself. The rest of the box is filled by cardboard to keep things in place. Not the best deal for 8000+ yen, indeed.

The artbook contains interviews with the staff, details about the places, and information on the characters. Here is an example (badly taken photo) showing a part of Arawn’s profile:

The “stick poster” is quite long once unfolded, and is an illustration of Morgan and Octavia, done by the series’ character designed, but colored in a way that reminds more of the game:

And now to the BD itself. Video is encoded at 1080p (quite nice!) but the audio is classical stereo without any bells and whistles. I wonder what the buyers of the non-first press version get, because inside there is absoultely nothing save a promotional sheet and the disc. Once loaded on my first-generation PS3, the disc played normally, and indeed at 1080p. It’s quite nice to view the opening in HD format.

The menus inside are terrible. They only offer chapter selection, a “play all” feature and an “information” link which plays some commercial of related Aquaplus anime adaptations, namely To Heart 2 (the upcoming OAVs) and Utawarerumono (again OAVs that should be out very soon). Sadly, this is on par with the rest of the offerings from other Japanese companies (and most Western anime publishers, too): the disc is simply a container, and nothing else is offered. I could understand if the price was lower, but at 8000 yen and more it’s simply unacceptable.

What about the content? Weil, I like it of course. The anime is very faithful (save some minor changes in recent episodes) to the game and thus I’m enjoying it qute a bit. I haven’t watched the episodes closely yet, but I doubt there will be any “redone” parts in this volume (I was hoping for specials a la Utawarerumono, but oh well…). Hopefully I’lll be able to write a little more (time permitting) once I finish watching it.