SchattenKitsune666 decided to do another MMD video with Krystal because a lot of folks were asking for more with her singing. This took 11 hours to fully render. This is HBR102989's rig, which he returned to after not using it for some time. The song is Sayonara by Tiara.
Thanks to GoldenFox51 for the heads up!
I've completed my week long break, and traveled back home after visiting family for Christmas. I hope you all had safe trips if you were traveling.
2017 was a fantastic year for the Krystal Archive! For the first time, the Krystal Archive began releasing regular posts, usually at least once per day, for weeks at a time. We also, FINALLY, got to play Star Fox 2 officially for the first time with the announcement and release of the SNES Classic. The Krystal Archive now has an active Discord server where I talk with you guys every day and we collaborate on projects. And there was so much more!
Now, 2018 is upon us! The things that were accomplished in 2017 will only expand in the coming year. I have quite a few plans. Some big, some small, which I will talk about a bit in the next podcast which I plan to release on the Krystal Archive's 12th anniversary on January 8th (next Monday).
Thank you all for a great year. I hope you and I both can create great resolutions for the new year, and then accomplish them.
Before we get to the exciting conclusion of Star Fox Assault, let's take a step back and look at THE most requested Star Fox Assault cutscene. I figure it's as good a Krystmas present as any!
This is the now-famous Honeymoon cutscene, where Fox and Krystal meet up with a grown-up Tricky after fighting off the Aparoid threat on Sauria together. Tricky mades a casual mention that Fox and Krystal should come back for their honeymoon. Fox reacts with embarrassment, while Krystal laughs at his plight.
As some of you know, Star Fox Assault features several pre-rendered cutscenes. There are ten, I think. Even though the cutscenes appear to use the in-game engine, for whatever reason, they implemented these scenes as 30 frame per second, heavily compressed video, at a mere 640 by 336 resolution. But they did even worse, because that 30fps video is set to run at 60fps, doubling each frame. Except for some parts of the video that is running at less than 30fps, yet still displayed as 60fps video. Then, the video got vertically stretched to make it slightly taller. The compression they used left very big artifacts on the screen too.
What can we do about this? First, instead of recording the video off the screen, I instead pulled individual frames of video as textures. This allowed me the pure data of each video frame: no stretching, skips, or duplicates. This had the added bonus of showing more of the video, because some sections during fade-outs are handled by the game, not by the video frames.
Next, I tried all sorts of different high quality upscaling techniques. I tried every scaling filter ffmpeg has trying to find the best one, which turned out to be 'bicublin'. I also researched some paid upscalers. Ultimately, thanks to some advice from juiceps, I rediscovered a project from 2015: waifu2x.
Waifu2x is a GPU accelerated image upscaler that uses Neural Networks to increase the resolution of an image, particularly drawn images, without losing detail. The idea started with a Chinese research paper, Image Super-Resolution Using Deep Convolutional Networks. From there, it was implemented as open source software by nagadomi from Japan. There is even a project for automating and bulk-processing the upscaling technique with fully customizable settings with the project waifu2x-caffe. Visually, the technique has the effect of detected edges, and redrawing them as sharp lines, then taking everything else and smoothing the gradient of color so that they appear clean and free of artifacts. Waifu2x is FAR better than any other upscaler I've ever seen.
Here's what the process was like:
- Record the frames using frame dumping (also record the audio and the cutscene normally as a video to match against
- Use ImageMagick to bulk crop out the subtitle section, leaving the visual frames
- Run all the cropped frames through waifu2x-caffe, using the upRGB algorithm at Level 2 strength, and scaling the image up by 600% to make it 4K width (this process takes approximately 6 hours per 1 minute of footage)
- Use FFMPEG to convert the frame images into a 30fps video at 4K resolution
- Import the video into Final Cut Pro and edit it using the original recordings as a guide, doing any necessary frame speed retiming
- Finally export as a h.264 high quality video
Needless to say, this is a tremendous amount of work for each video. That's why they take so much longer than the other kinds like briefings and other scenes. But I have it figured out now, so future videos of this type should be coming more quickly.
For the 4K version, I removed the subtitles, since there wouldn't be much room for them anyway. However, I also made an original version, below. It uses the frames at exactly the same resolution as they exist in the game data, so it's maximum resolution is 640 by 480. I did record slightly higher resolution subtitles, though. Also, the frame timing and fades are better here than in the real game video. But put this video in full screen, and then compare it to the 4K version. The difference is staggering!
I will post the Japanese version of these scenes soon. But for now, I'm going to take a break for the rest of this week to celebrate Christmas and New Years. I hope you will also take some time to relax, hang with family, and reflect on the year past. See you in 2018!
Hey friends! Merry Christmas to you and yours this year. I hope you all are spending time with family and friends. Before I make the next post with your present, I just wanted to say that it's been a great year running the Krystal Archive and I've loved seeing your participation and fan works. Thank you all!
After the next post, I will be taking a break from posting until New Years. I hope you all will have an opportunity to rest and prepare for 2018 as well.
Artwork by AvaikaofStarfox, used with permission.
I have a gift for all of you that I'm excited to give you on Christmas day. So be sure to check in on Monday. Meanwhile, Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I still have a lot of prep for family get-togethers. I wish you all a Merry Christmas if I don't get to talk to you in the next few days.
The very festive Krystmas photo from Ayano Harumaki is from the 2016 Ayano Krystmas Photoshoot.
After the Star Wolf team pull off a distraction, the Star Fox team enters the Aparoid Queen's chambers to be faced with mind games and visions from the past. This week's Star Fox Assault cutscene is once again higher than 4K resolution with its 4:3 aspect ratio.
In these type of in-game cutscenes, there's no difference between the Japanese and English visuals, save for the on-screen text. But I've included the Japanese version anyway.
CommanderD says that creating this spritesheet in-game should be straightforward, but will require a bit of copy-pasting. If you want to see the mod in action, and how to create the Staff weapon, check out the original post about it.
XCABAL managed to purchase a Krystal sculpture that appeared on eBay a few weeks ago. After receiving it and re-attaching the tail, he sent out some photos. He's very happy with the purchase.
3D modeler Atherin posted his recreation of Krystal's CloudRunner, her custom Arwing with twin laser guns and a single lock on torpedo from Star Fox Command. In that game every character had a different ship with different attributes. Krystal's craft was designed to resemble the CloudRunner pterodactyl species from Sauria. Atherin's model even includes a textured cockpit and an Command-themed Krystal pilot.
Atherin has TONS of other Star Fox related models, such as the Orbital Gate from Star Fox Assault.
You can view and download the model on the 3D Warehouse Listing. The model is available as a Collada or SketchUp file.
Somehow, I only recently found out about this model, but it has apparently been online since 2013. Thanks to Wreckingcanon for letting me know about it.
DeviantArt user jaeha2714 recently posted the rockin' result of a two month project. He made a custom Krystal guitar, complete with custom art from chibi-oneechan. Unfortunately, she has not yet posted the art to a her gallery, though she may in the future. jaeha2714 used the Storm Guitar service to do the printing and creation of the custom pickguard.
Hopefully we'll get to see more of this project in the future. Thanks to Mr. Brownstone for letting me know about this.