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Pixiv Guide: Profile & Browsing Customization with Pixiv’s New Site Options

10 Sep

This year Pixiv rolled out a brand new look for their website along with a variety of new features to make your browsing experience more fun and personalized. Unfortunately, this change made some of the information in my older Site Preference and Bookmarking tutorial obsolete. Because so many new options and pages have been added, this tutorial will only cover the material located under the Site Options section of the main navigation menu. I’ll go over bookmarking, art submission and other stuff in a future tutorial, so keep an eye out.

Let’s get started!

User Info

Click on the far right text link on the main navigation menu. This will take you to the Site Options section. The first tab is for the User Info page.

Your nickname, username and email address are displayed, followed by a text field where you insert your email if you’re making changes. The next two fields are for typing in a new password and then re-typing it to confirm the change.

A dropdown menu exists for changing the display language of the Pixiv website. Currently, you are only able to choose between Japanese and Chinese.

The following section is where you can enable the display of adult content. You must first confirm that you are 18 years of age. The first radio button is “yes” and the second is “no”. After confirming this, you can choose whether or not you wish to view 2 levels of adult content while browsing. The first is R-18 (Adult Content), the second is R-18+G (Adult and Gore Content). The first radio button selection will enable that content and the second will disable it. In my sample image, R-18 is set to enabled and R-18+G is set to disabled.

The final page section has 15 blank text fields where you can insert the user IDs of any Pixiv members who you don’t want to be able to follow you or see any of your Pixiv contents. Chances are pretty good you won’t ever need to use this.

Profile Details

The second tab under site options is for setting up your profile. Under this tab are several subsections, the first of which is for your primary profile details. The first and most important text field is where you put in your desired nickname. This can be anything you want it to be and it’s the name by which people will know you on the website. It doesn’t have to be unique; only your username does. Your nickname can be up to 15 characters long. Under that, you can input the URL of your personal website, and then a list of personal tags (tags that you plan to use frequently) separated by spaces.

There’s a variety of information that you supply via checkboxes and drop-down menus. This includes your sex, blood type, country, birth year, birthday and occupation. Follow the image as a guide and take note that all of those pieces of information come with a customizable privacy setting to their right. On the image, I’ve set 3 pieces of information on 3 different settings so that you can see which setting is which.

If you’d like to supply contact information for Skype or an Instant Messenger of some sort, you can do that in the next section, but I opted to enter my Twitter info. Insert whatever you’re comfortable with, or nothing at all. The blue text link right underneath it will add another text field, so if you want, you may supply all of your different contact methods.

A large box at the bottom is meant for writing a short biography of yourself or an introduction. If you can, write a little bit about yourself in Japanese.

The last field is for inserting your circle.ms info. If you aren’t a member of a doujinshi circle, then you don’t need to worry about this.

Profile Image

The next subsection of profile editing is for your profile image. This is the avatar that represents you across the site. You can upload more than one and switch between them, but I only have one uploaded here in my sample screenshot. It’s fairly straight-forward; just be aware that you can’t use an animated gif as your avatar unless you have a Pixiv Premium account.

Work Environment

The Work Environment subsection is a fun way to let everyone know where and how you work on your art. Of course, if you aren’t an artist, some of this information won’t apply to you. If you are, great! You can put in information such as your type of computer, monitor, tablet, scanner, printer and more. There’s even a space to put in the music you like to listen to while working and what sort of knick-knacks you keep on top of your work desk.

Profile Design Options

Profile Design is one of Pixiv’s newly added features. It allows you to customize the look of your profile background with colors or a background image. It’s very basic, and if you choose not to use it, you can just leave this page alone, as it’s set not to display a background image by default. Once you’re done with this page, that’s it for the subsections of the profile tab, so click on the next site setting tab at the top.

Notification Email Settings

This small page is simply for specifying when you want Pixiv to send you notification emails. Currently, there are only two options. One is for notifying you when you get a private message and the other is for notifying you when a piece of your artwork makes it into one of the rankings. Unless you’re a very active Pixiv member, you’re probably not going to be getting any of these emails. Personally, I just leave them on.

stacc! Feed Options

The next tab is for another nice new feature on Pixiv called the stacc! feed. It’s basically an activity feed of what you and others do on Pixiv. It makes Pixiv more like a social network, so you can see when your friends bookmark an image, submit new work, add a new favorite artist, or anything else. This page is where you set up what activities you want your personal feed displaying and what you want to see while browsing other people’s activities. If you want to see when your friends add adult artwork to their favorites, you’ll have to set that up here, otherwise it’s turned off by default. [This is a separate setting from the overall ability to view adult artworks on the website; that setting can be modified in the first tab we discussed (User Info).] While logged in to Pixiv, the location of your stacc! feed is http://www.pixiv.net/stacc/.

Pixiv Widget

Finally, we come to the “blog parts” tab, which Japanglish for the Pixiv flash widget that you can embed on your blog or website. There’s different viewing options, like displaying your personal artworks or your bookmarked images, which you choose from and then copy/paste the code that shows up in the text box below. Be aware that if your blog host doesn’t approve of flash widgets or only lets you use pre-approved flash widgets, the code won’t work for you. If you host your own website though, it won’t be a problem.

Following the blog parts tab, there is a Pixiv Premium tab, but I’m not going to go over that. I don’t have a Premium account and I don’t plan on getting one in the near future, in part due to the difficulty of signing up for one while being overseas.

That’s it for modifying your Pixiv site options. I hope that everyone can enjoy the new and improved features that are available to you. In the future, I’ll write more about browsing the newly designed Pixiv and hopefully clear up any information that has been made obsolete in my older tutorials.

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How to Change Site Preferences and Bookmark Images on Pixiv (in English)

8 Nov

Notice: Much of this information has been obsolete by Pixiv’s 2010 site re-design. For my more recent tutorial on modifying Pixiv site preferences, go here.

Once again, I’m here to talk to you about using Pixiv. This time it’ll be how to change your site preferences and how to add images to your bookmarks.

Site preferences is an important section because it’s where you need to go if you want to change your email address or your password. This is also where you can enable or disable email notifications, as well enabling adult content viewing and various privacy settings. Make sure you’re logged into Pixiv and let’s get going!

Changing Your  Site Preferences

Pixiv Navigation Bar - Edit Preferences

Step 1. On the site navigation bar, the button on the far right will take you to your “Edit Preferences” page. Make sure you’re at the homepage, because on artists’ pages, the navigation bar is different. The URL to the page you’re headed to is http://www.pixiv.net/edit.php.

Edit Preferences Page

Step 2a. Here’s where you fill in all of the meaty details! The first two columns will show your Pixiv username and your current registered email address. If you want to change your email, type that into the 3rd text field. Take note that if you have autocomplete enabled in your browser, it may insert your username into the “mail address” change field and can mess up the submission process. If that happens, just delete your username from that field before submitting!

Step 2b. Every Pixiv user (including you!) has their own little bulletin board. It’s a bit like a shoutbox or the profile comment page on DeviantArt. You can choose to make it private or only viewable by certain people. If you want to leave it public, leave the setting alone, as it is that way by default.

Step 2c. Browsing Restrictions are, I’m sure, what you’ve been looking for. This is where you choose to enable or disable adult content. There are two types of mature content. One is R-18 (explicit sexual content) and the other is R-18G (explicit guro content.) In case you don’t know, guro stands for “grotesque”, and implies that the image is explicitly violent or gruesome. In the capture I’ve posted, I have R-18 content enabled and R-18G content disabled. By default, both of these options are turned off, so if you don’t want to see any explicit content, you have nothing to worry about and can skip this section. Select the button on the left to enable an option or the button on the right to disable it.

Step 2d. Next is email notifications for messages and rankings. You can turn them off with the right button if you’d like, but if you’re not an active artist on Pixiv, you’re probably never going to receive any notification emails anyway.

Step 2e. The very last section is for blocking specific users from accessing your Pixiv profile/images/bulletin board, etc. It’s essentially “banning” another user from interacting with you or your Pixiv site. Hopefully you won’t ever need to use this, but it is there just in case. In order to add a user to the block list, you have to insert their member number into one of the “ID” fields. Every Pixiv user has a unique member ID# and you can find it at the end of the URL to their profile, or on a small image on the left column of their profile, which is underneath their profile picture.

Step 3. Once you’re all done with that, click the submit button. Now you can get back to browsing ,with the added bonus of seeing the dirty stuff! (But only if you want to!)

Bookmarking Your Favorite Images

Bookmarking an Image

No doubt you’ve already found hundreds of images you love on Pixiv and you’d like to add them to your favorites! Pixiv has a really cool bookmarking system based on using tags, so here is how to use it.

Step 1. Above I have a typical illustration page. Every image on Pixiv has tags displayed right above it. These tags make it easy to search. This picture is tagged “Copyright” (which means it is a fanart) and “Spice and Wolf” (the name of the series the characters in the picture are from). There’s also a row of stars on the top right. You can click on the stars to give the picture a rating if you’d like to. Now, this picture is soooo cute, I want to add it to my bookmarks, so I click the “Bookmark this Illustration” link in the box that sits on the top right of the image.

Step 2 - Bookmarking Details

Step 2. When you choose to bookmark an image, you’ll get a page that allows you to add details about the bookmark. You don’t technically have to do any of this, so if you don’t want to be bothered,  just hit the submit button! Personally, I like to tag my bookmarks to make browsing them easier. You’ll be glad you did it when you have upwards of 500 images bookmarked,  believe me!

Step 2a. You can choose if you want to make this bookmark public, viewable only by certain folks or viewable only by you. It may seem silly now, but when you start bookmarking the dirty pictures, you’ll know why you have the option!

Step 2b. There’s a text field where you can type in tags manually (separated by spaces) or if you choose to select pre-written tags they will show up in that box automatically. The top tag list is only the tags that the artist has given the image. The big list of tags at the bottom shows tags you’ve used in the past and how many time each tag has been used. I opted to use two of my previously used tags, “Horo” and “Cute”. Gosh, I’ve sure bookmarked a lot of Horo images. She’s just so adorable!

Step 3. You can write a comment about the picture here if you want to. The artist will likely be very glad you did!

Step 4. Hit the submit button!

Image Bookmarked - Step 3

Huzzah! Your image is bookmarked now. You have a few extra options now.
There’s a link to view the bookmark details, which will show you all of the people who have bookmarked that image in addition to you. It’ll also show you what tags each person used on the image, and you can un-bookmark the image there as well.

Alternatively, you can return to the artist’s gallery summary (that’s the center link) OR return to the newly bookmarked image’s page (the link on the right).

What’s this about Twitter in the top right? It’s a handy dandy way to Tweet that you just bookmarked this sa-weet illustration on Pixiv! Cool!

Tweeting About Your Bookmark - Step 4

Now look what happens when you click on that Pixiv link! It takes you to Twitter and inserts a Tweet right into the text box for you. Man, that really works up a sweat! It’ll say (in Japanese) “I bookmarked [pixiv] xxxx on Pixiv” (“xxxx”  being the name of the image!) followed by a shortened link straight to the image page. If you want to you can replace it with English; I just leave it as is. Make sure you keep that #pixivtweet hashtag so the Twitter world can see that you’re Tweeting about the great and wonderful Pixiv!

Pixiv Navigation Bar - Bookmark
(Oh yeah, in case you were wondering; you can access your bookmarks anytime from the 3rd link on the navigation bar from your homepage. The URL will be http://www.pixiv.net/bookmark.php.)

That’s all for today! If you have a specific question about the pages I reviewed, please don’t hesitate to ask. I will do my best to answer it for you if I can. My Japanese is not fantastic, but Pixiv really is a very simple site to browse and enjoy. Have fun!

Scans and How To Process Them

5 Nov

There’s no denying it. I am obsessed with scans. That is to say, I’m obsessed with collecting other people’s scans, as I haven’t got much of anything in my possession that someone else hasn’t already scanned and posted somewhere in cyberspace. My favorite thing of all to collect is artbooks, so it should come as no surprise that I also collect them in the form of high quality scans. All the kind words in the world wouldn’t be enough for me to thank icie, the people who run moe.imouto and other sites like it for their contributions to the scanning community. I’ll come right forward and admit that I am a firm believer in the theory that scanning something doesn’t make it yours. I think websites like AnimePaper and Minitokyo, which reward people scans on the basis of “in order to have a cookie you must first bake us 24 cookies, which we will probably throw out because your cookies suck and ours are awesome”, are run based on extremely hypocritical motives, as a great deal of the scans submitted to those sites are simply stolen from other scanners who share them freely with everyone. In fact, I’ve submitted my own scans to those sites, only to have them deleted and resubmitted by other users of the same site. In my opinion (and that is all it is – my opinion), the only person who really owns the image being scanned is the original artist… but I digress. I don’t intend for this post to be a rant on scanning ethics.

Everyone has felt the disappointment of downloading an image (especially on a site where you have to pay ‘credit’ to get a ‘high quality’ scan)  in all of it’s high resolution glory only to discover it is plagued by nasty moire . If you had plans to use this image in graphic design, your only hope is to find some way to fix the image without losing detail and quality. Despite being a graphic designer, I found myself sheepishly admitting I had no idea how to get rid of this devilish little pattern. I decided at last to do something about it, and went back to a thread I’ve found myself reading over and over for a long time over on moe.imouto. The time had come to decipher what all of those settings mean! Before I got to that, however, I opted to take the amateur’s approach and do a Google search on removing moire. In order for me to understand the more advanced techniques, I’d have to start with something simple. What I found was this post on About.com. Only five minutes to fix up an image? Right on! I opened up Photoshop CS3 and got crackin’.

 

I chose this scan of Kaworu as my victim. Rather, this section of a scan. (I figured it’d be easier this way to show you how everything works.) Notice the slight screening on the image? We want to get rid of it without losing too much detail or making it look like a Van Gogh.

 

Step #1 tells me to go to Filter > Noise > Median and to pick a setting between 1 and 3. The noise isn’t TOO terrible so I decide that “1” looks best. Setting it on “2” or “3” makes the image look over-filtered to my untrained eye. I’m actually pretty impressed how much better the image looks after only one step! I’m excited.

 

The next step directs me to the Unsharp Mask (Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask) and suggests these settings: Amount 50-100%, Radius 1-3 pixels, Threshold 1-5. I play around with the settings and the only one that I can really see a difference with is Amount.  Ultimately, I go with 60%, 3 pixel radius and a threshold of 5. This brings back of the detail that we lost with that previous noise filter. Neat!

What next?! Oh, that’s it? That was really easy and only took a couple of minutes, and I think the image looks way better! Not perfect, but quite an improvement over the original. Why did I take so long to learn this? Let’s try out something a little more advanced now.

My friends over at moe.imouto are avid users of a free GIMP plugin called Greycstoration. I use Photoshop, but I really want to try Greyc out, so I download the most recent version of the PS plugin that petopeto whipped up. (Thanks, bro!) I open up the original Kaworu image again, go to Filter > Greycstoration > remove noise. I’m introduced to a UI with all kinds of funky settings. I don’t know where to start, so I go back to the what’s your processing thread and start scanning through various posts with recommended settings. I decide to go with one of midzki’s suggestions because midzki is a scan processing maniac. Seriously, this guy’s got mad skills. Many posts suggest doing two separate passes of Greyc with different settings and this one was no exception. Here’s the post I chose to use to try and fix up my image:

midzki said:
btw, I found filtering Greycstoration 2times with completely defferent parameters is really effective.

for example,
1st(-dt 10 -p 0.2 -a 0.6 -alpha 3 -sigma 0 -fast false)
2nd(-dt 30 -p 0.2 -a 1.0 -alpha 0 -sigma 3 -fast false)

1st setting is reducing moire, & 2nd setting is smoothing edges.
The point is setting -alpha and -sigma separately.


Here’s the result of the first pass. Holy cow! That’s different from the original for sure. It’s a lot less sharp than what I expected, but there’s really no loss of detail and it looks good. No moire to be found here, ladies and gents! The alpha setting knocked it right out.

 

Here’s the 2nd pass. Way smooooth. The sigma setting got rid of any remaining noise or paper texture on the image. Again, it looks really different, but it looks GOOD! Greycstoration is one heck of an awesome plugin!

You’ll notice that the result of my first set of filters versus the results of using Greycstoration are incredibly different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I find that in the end it almost turns out to be preferential. Greyc took a lot of the ‘organic’ feeling out by removing any sign of paper texture and making the rough pencil lines extremely smooth. (Granted I didn’t try a variety of settings, either.) Depending on what look you’re going for, you may or may not like it. For this particular image, which I believe Yoshiyuki Sadamoto used traditional media to create, I feel that the grainy paper look complements it, although others may see it as “just noise”. If I was editing, perhaps, a scan of a cel-shaded CG artwork, there’s no doubt in my mind that Greyc would be the only way to go. Ultimately, both methods of processing did their job of removing the moire pattern, so I’m quite satisfied with both. Here’s to learning something new!

p.s. – I’m fairly certain it goes without saying that you’re not going to see any difference in the images in this post without viewing them in full size, but just in case you’re a little slow… ;)

How to Sign Up for Pixiv (in English!)

3 Nov

Edit: Please be aware that Pixiv sign-up and browsing are now available in English. This post is still here for archival purposes. Cheers! ~ Riven

I thought I’d start out this blog with a bang by making a post others would find useful. Now, please be aware that I made this guide a number of months back, so it may no longer be 100% accurate.

This is a guide for English speakers to sign up for the Japanese art website Pixiv. It’s a bit like DeviantArt or the PortalGraphics community. The thing with Pixiv is that in order to view images at full size, post your own artwork or view “adult” content, you need to have a Pixiv account. Since there is no English version of Pixiv, some folks are at a loss when it comes to signing up. Have no fear! It is a fairly simple sign-up process and I’ve got it all explained here with pictures so that you can’t go wrong (hopefully).


Step 1. Click on that big orange box that says “SIGN UP FOR PIXIV” on it. Easy, right? You’re off to a great start.


Step 2. Insert your email address into that big ‘ole box there, and hit that shiny yellow button to submit it.


Step 3. Your email address pops up. Click the button on the left if you need to make a correction, or the button on the right if everything’s A-Okay!


Step 4. Your email address has been submitted now. Time to go check your email!


Step 5. The email you receive from Pixiv will look like this. You need to click on the custom link inside of the email in order to activate your Pixiv account.


Step 6. You’ll get a page of stuff to fill out. I’ve translated the categories on the image for you. Once you get down to “sex”, you can start to choose from drop down menus whether or not you want the information to be “Public”, “My Pick” (Which makes it public to friends!), or “Private”. I picked the very last option in the drop-down lists for location (foreign/overseas) and the same for job (other).


Step 6. (continued) The last part is text entry box for you to write your introduction or biography in. I’ve simply entered “Hajimemashite!” or “Nice to meet you!” into this box. Once you’re done, click the final button to submit. Congrats, you’re now a part of Pixiv! :)

I hope that this post proves useful to some folks who have been wanting to join Pixiv and didn’t know how. In the future I’ll can show you how to edit your account settings so that you can view R-18 (adult) images and also how to submit your own artwork to the site, if you feel so inclined. Have fun browsing the coolest art site on the planet!

p.s. – You can view my personal Pixiv account here. Feel free to add me to your watch list or check out my favorite pictures and artists!

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