Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quartz Clock Gadget

I was checking out some Rainlendar skins and came across this very simple-looking analog clock, which I think looks way better than the default Windows 7 Clock gadget. Don't you think the minute and hour hands are much easier to tell apart?

Unfortunately, the above Rainlendar skin seems a little unfinished(?). There is a noticeable white patch in the middle of the face on the right clock. I decided to mess around with the Windows 7 Gadget source files and try to work on a customized clock by modifying existing codes and skins.

My customized clock is more than 20% bigger than the default Clock gadget and almost as tall as the full-sized Weather gadget. I've always wanted a slightly larger clock on the desktop so that I don't have to strain my eyes whilst gazing at the monitor. ;-)

I can't think of a kick-ass name for this timepiece gadget, so I'll just call it "Quartz Clock".

If you are interested to give Quartz Clock for Windows 7 a try, it's available for download HERE (147 KB). Simply open the gadget file and the clock will pop right onto your desktop.

Sadly, there is only one selectable clock skin at the moment.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kimi ni Todoke ED Piano Arrange (Kataomoi)

Wrote this piano arrangement of Kimi ni Todoke anime ending theme during the Chinese New Year holidays but only had time to upload the sheet music and post this blog today. The original song is sung by Chara, titled Kataomoi which translates to unrequited love. Decided to compose the ending theme shortly after I transcribed the insert song of Kimi ni Todoke because this is one of those catchy anime theme songs that will get stuck in my mind for some time.

The intro and outro sections of the piano music are transcribed by ear. Source is from the background music in episode 18 and 15 of the anime respectively. I had to compose and arrange the interlude that connects the intro and outro from scratch since I cannot find a fuller piano version.

Download Kataomoi piano sheet music here.

YouTube video done in Adobe Flash. Guess I'm getting the hang of working with simple transform animation using Flash. Background image by 住屋 published under Pixiv Commons.

You can also download the piano music below.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kimi ni Todoke OP Piano Insert Song

Been busy during the past months due to a surge of events affecting my personal life. Therefore, I didn't manage to do anything creative to blog lately. But after watching the recent episodes of Kimi ni Todoke a couple of days ago, I was determined to set aside some free time in order to transcribe this beautiful piano insert song of the opening theme, which is one of the background music in episode 15 (approximately after 04:00 into the show).

This short piano piece could have appeared in earlier episodes and I probably missed it since I was relying on my crappy laptop speakers for my previous viewings. If I missed out a longer version of this piano music, please do let me know.

Sorry I couldn't afford to spend too much time and effort on the visual in this video hosted on YouTube. It's just a static picture of Sawako-chan with some simple video effects done in Adobe Flash. My main concern was getting the notes and audio parts to sound as good as possible.

The initial transcribing was done in Guitar Pro which I find very comfortable to work with, even though it is meant for writing guitar tabs. I feel that the editing of notes in Guitar Pro is less hassle than other software I've tried, like Notation Composer and Finale Songwriter. But eventually, I have to fallback to Finale Songwriter for publishing of my transcription in a more readable and presentable format.

The nice thing about using all these notation software is that most of them have the ability to export your transcribed music into MIDI files. With the MIDI music file, I can feed it into a synthesizer software that can produce a reasonably good sounding piano music.

I didn't actually play the piano music you hear in the video clip above. It is fully computer generated and produced by this software I recently rediscovered called Pianoteq 3. The previous version was totally unimpressive but now I'm quite happy with the piano tone in this latest installment. The free trial version of Pianoteq has a limitation where some higher # keys cannot be played but that can be easily fixed with some transposing tricks and sound engineering skills.

Anyway, you can download the piano insert song below:
  • Lossy MP3 (320 kbps) version HERE.
  • Lossless WAV format for those with super hearing powers HERE.