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Pixiv Becoming Alarmingly English-Friendly

2 Jun

For quite awhile I’ve wondered how the folks at pixiv feel about English users on their site. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a bit a bit nervous when attempting to blend in to a largely Japanese community. The good news is that we can now safely say English speakers are being welcomed to pixiv.

It started a few months back when pixiv gradually began to introduce an English-language interface for the website. As time goes on, there are more and more translations implemented which will make it much easier for an English speaker to use pixiv. There’s still quite a bit left untranslated, but the important things like the bookmark button and interface for submitting artwork are now available in English. Understandably, I think the top priority has been to make it easier for foreign artists to submit their works with ease. Pixiv has submissions from artists all around the world, but in the past the submissions have been limited by those who can utilize it’s Japanese-only interface.

The artwork submission section has the most complete translation thus far.

In addition to the implementation of a translated UI, many were happy to discover that Pixiv started up another Twitter account in English, which is located at pixiv_en. In addition to the usual ranking updates, it’s also the perfect place to get in touch with a pixiv staff member.

pixiv encyclopedia

Quite possibly the most interesting and fun of the new English pixiv community is the encyclopedia, which is essentially a wiki that aims to explain every possible term, meme and pop culture reference that influences the artwork which the denizens of pixiv upload. This can include anything from anime titles to bizarre phrases to infamous otaku terms like 絶対領域 (zettai ryouki). It’s a really outstanding way to figure out the meaning of seemingly nonsensical or obscure image tags and the fact that it aids you in your ability to understand the community lingo will make you feel a little more like you’re part of the “in” crowd.

I’ve gotta say I’m pleased as punch at these additions, especially the new Twitter account and the dictionary (I try to stick with a Japanese pixiv interface to aid me in immersion-based language learning) and I hope that they continue to add more. I don’t particularly want to see pixiv turn into another deviantART, but I’m not sure that is even possible because of the sheer amount of convoluted bloat that dA has accumulated. Pixiv is far more simplistic and streamlined and I have a feeling that, by design, it is going to stay that way regardless of any influence the English-speaking art world may have on it.

Thank you, pixiv, for welcoming us English speakers to your website. We promise to behave.

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.

Late Summer Odds ‘n Ends

30 Aug

I apologize for the length of time between my entries, however I’d like to keep this blog free of filler and stick with stuff that readers will actually find interesting. There’s actually a mish-mash of random things I’d like to discuss, and since none of them currently warrant an entire blog entry, I’ll be mentioning them all here in one collective post.

Pixiv News

A lot has happened with Pixiv as of late; enough that I won’t really cover it all. The most notable is their site re-design, which some people have noticed makes my Pixiv guide posts regrettably obsolete. I will eventually go back and re-write some guides for the new Pixiv, but it’s not high on my current list of priorities as I am busy and it’s just a hobby. On the artbook scene, Pixiv Nenkan 2010 has been released and you can see a preview of it (along with a nice review) over at Pireze. While it isn’t news, there’s also a Pixiv magazine that comes out quarterly, aptly named “Quarterly Pixiv”. You can order volume 1 and volume 2 from Amazon JP, respectively.

Also notable is the fact that Pixiv will be in charge of the next OTACOOL book, which will feature worldwide illustrators. This is an amazing opportunity for artists around the world to become internationally published, but the timeframe during which you can submit artwork is incredibly narrow. For someone like me who spends over a month on a really serious piece of artwork, it might be too much pressure. I imagine will see a lot of the same artists we see in Pixiv nenkan and a bunch of the more popular deviantArt folk who actually know how to sign up at Pixiv in the book. For details, visit Pixiv’s OTACOOL4 Illustration Contest page.

Comiket 78

Many of you are aware that Comic Market 78 happened this month, and lots ‘o lovely new publications were released. Comiket is the best time of year for browsing moe.imouto because of the immense dedication of dovac and his site administrators when it comes to acquiring and scanning new doujinshi. (There are even donations set aside for Comiket scanning in particular.) They put an ungodly amount of time and money into the site and I can’t thank them enough for everything they do to share those acquisitions. You should definitely take the time to browse the pools and see if any of your C78 wishlist items have been scanned. Of course it doesn’t beat owning the original book, but it’s the next best thing if you just can’t win the bid on the newest Tinkle doujinshi. (The incredibly gorgeous Stellato Giada, which has also been reviewed over at Hunting the Elusive.)

As of this moment I’ve ordered a small handful of goods from c78, but I haven’t found everything I’m looking for just yet. Among my purchases are RabbitNet Chronicles, Ame Nochi Yuki’s  “Colorful Sweets” K-On! fanbook, “Hurry Up! 2” by Rei’s Room and of course Riv’s new book “Paint or Die”. I’d still like to get QP_Chick Colors #3 and the newest Dmyotic. I have a pipe dream to own the full c78 Tinkle set, but that one is probably outside of my price range. It’s a given that I want all Carnelian doujinshi, but I’m also pretty picky about which ones I buy; I lean towards full color and full page illustrations if possible, with exceptions made here and there. Since Carnelian’s stuff is also very expensive, I want to get the most bang for my buck.

Stamps

Yes, I’m still collecting them. Since my initial posts regarding my stamp collecting obsession, I’ve added a few notable sets. My favorite of which is a set of zenin Vampire Knight greeting card stamps and a Rurouni Kenshin stamp that I’ve literally been looking for for something like 10 years. There’s also this incredibly tiny set of Magic Knight Rayearth clear acrylic stamps and a wooden Lina Inverse one that I purchased from a good friend.

For more photos of my stamps, you can just shimmy over to my Flickr album. :)

… and other Miscellaneous Geekery

I hope to visit Little Tokyo in L.A. again next month and then I’ll post a bit about my adventures here. Unfortunately, L.A. is pretty darn ugly and so I never take many pictures when I go there. (On the other hand, San Francisco is fairly pleasing to the eye and so I wrote a lengthy entry about it after going there.) Store managers also tend to have explosive hissy fits at you if you take photographs in their shops, which often leaves me limited to photos of storefronts and parking garages. Anyways, I’ll be sure to enjoy some good ramen and weigh down my backpack with more artbook purchases from Kinokuniya. In addition to L.A. I’ll be visiting Anaheim to meet up with my WoW guild mates for dinner outside of Blizzcon. I think I might have to do some Yelp!ing to find out if Anaheim has any secret hidden Japanese gems. (I wonder if my guildies like sushi restaurants…) Also, because I can, DISNEYLAND!

Fun with Pixiv Image Response Materials

3 Feb

Pixiv has a really neat feature that is somewhat akin to YouTube’s video response feature, except on Pixiv, you respond with artwork rather than video. This is a feature that Deviant Art lacks, although Deviant Art does have those “art memes” that float around. On Pixiv, the images that are made to be “responded” to are tagged as イメージレスポンス (Image Response), イメージレスポンス素材 (Image Response Souzai) or イメレス (abbreviation of “image response”).

On dA, these sorts of memes are oftentimes a chart where you draw a character of yours in different situations or portraying different moods. Pixiv image responses have the same thing, but they aren’t limited to “fill in the blank” type charts. Pixiv image response materials refer to a vast array of things like lineart that you can color in, templates for items that you can design, mood charts and a whole lot of other things. Browsing through this category can be a lot of fun and it is the perfect way to get your creative juices flowing if you just can’t think of a new idea from scratch.

When you view images on Pixiv, they sometimes have a red link under them that says a number followed by “res”. (Ex: 3 res) This is an indicator of how many image responses it has. Most of the time these responses are to art memes; occasionally they are not. Most images on Pixiv do not have any image responses, which is normal, as it does not refer to “comments” on the image; only replies to the artwork in the form of other artwork contributions.

Nendoroid Template

Nendoroid Template by lynx

One of my favorite image responses on Pixiv is this Nendoroid template by lynx. It’s great if you’ve always wanted to design your own Nendoroid; perhaps one of your favorite character that has never been made into a figure! Check out all of the responses it has. There’s over 10 pages of them!

Touhou Line Art

Touhou Line Art by 桐原夏樹

Here’s a nice example of one that features line art that you can color in; a beautiful piece of Touhou line art! Line art that is posted for this purpose is sometimes tagged as ぬりえ (nurie) which means “picture for coloring” or むしろ塗ってください (mushiro nurutte kudasai) which means something along the lines of “please give this picture better coloring”.

PSP 2000 Template

PSP 2000 Template by 浅見屋

You never know what you’ll find when browsing souzai; maybe even something useful. Senkenya has submitted this marvelous PSP 2000 template. You can use it to make your own PSP skin. Sa-weet! There’s also a PSP 3000 template and a PSP screen template that you can use to draw devious things upon, such as your own ero game. ;O

ものすごいエロオーラが!by よるむん

If humor is what you seek,  this image response material, hilariously titled ものすごいエロオーラ (which can be roughly translated as “An Earth-shattering Sex Aura!”) encourages you to design and color a girl’s (or a guy if you please) reaction to a guy who is supposed to be mind-blowingly sexy. (He looks creepily like the kind of dude Shinjo Mayu would draw…) Make sure you view the responses to this meme! They’re quite amusing.

Those are just a few great examples of what you’ll find when looking through Pixiv’s image response tags. If you’re wondering how to properly submit a response to such materials, there’s a special field when you contribute a piece artwork to Pixiv where you can insert the ID number of the image you are responding to. The artist may have to “approve” your response for it to show up in the response box, or they may have the automated acception of responses enabled. I would probably avoid submitting responses to Pixiv works on other sites such as Deviant Art unless you can contact the artist and receive permission. It’s important for an artist to receive proper credit when you’re doing derivative works, and on Pixiv all you need to do is submit the image as a response. (That way you don’t have to go to the trouble of emailing or messaging someone in Japanese.)

Browsing Japanese Websites Made Easy

4 Dec

My Japanese is far from fluent, but I vastly enjoying surfing Japanese websites. Perhaps your Japanese isn’t so good or you want to know how to surf Japanese websites without having any knowledge of the language at all. No problem! There’s a lot of tools and tips that will help you to do this. In addition to being really fun, surfing these sites will actually help to improve what lingual knowledge you do have if only because of your constant exposure to foreign writing. Regardless of whether or not that’s your goal, browsing a website in a foreign language is not as daunting as it seems when you have some basic knowledge and some fun web widgets to help you out!

Google JP IME

If you can read or write any Japanese whatsoever, you should have a Japanese IME (Input Method Editor) installed which will allow you to type in Japanese. Basic home editions of your operating system come with a Japanese IME, but it is not installed by default. Please refer to Declan’s Guide to Installing the Japanese IME. Alternatively, you can try out Google’s  Japanese IME Beta, which I am personally coming to enjoy using more than the default one for Windows. I do not intend to write a guide on using the IME in this post, but there are many places on the web which can teach you how to do so. It’s easier than you may think!

Rikaichan in Action

In addition to keeping Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC in my bookmarks bar, I use a really fantastic Firefox plugin called Rikaichan. This addon is essentially a dictionary that, when activated, translates words (in glorious detail) when you mouse over them. I much prefer to use Rikaichan to translate individual words or kanji over putting an entire webpage or paragraph into Babelfish and letting it generate rubbish. Ever since I discovered this addon, I cannot live without it. It is amazing. Download it now. Seriously. (You may also be pleased to know that it comes in other languages!)

Even if you don’t know Japanese, you will begin to learn some simply through clicking through websites over and over again. Artist websites in particular tend to have the same basic bare bones structure in that almost all of them have an “About” page, a “Gallery” page, a blog and a page that references their professional work or doujinshi. I can assure you that after you click on 日記 (read as “nikki”) 100 times on varying websites and are always sent to a blog of some sort, you will eventually forever recognize those kanji as being exactly that – a blog or diary link. Isn’t symbology great? For what it’s worth, here’s a little handful of common words you’ll come across and what they mean. Even if I didn’t tell you what they are, I’m sure you’d eventually come to recognize them due to their heavy, repeated usage across the Japanese web:

プロフィール – Profile

イラスト – Illust. (Short for “Illustration”.)

ギャラリー – Gallery

オリジナル – Original

版権 – Copyright (Often refers to Fan Art.)

ゲーム – Game (Usually video games.)

その他 – Other (Refers to other subjects.)

18歳 – 18 years (of age. If you found this, it means that page probably has porn on it. Good find, bro! ^_^b)

Trust me; you’ll recognize these and many other words in no time. Even so, a great deal of Japanese sites have their navigation in English, so browsing them really should be simple. The reason I strongly suggest you also use a Japanese IME is for search purposes. When you’re at places like Pixiv or Yahoo and you want to search for sites or images of a specific series, subject or character, it’ll make life so much easier to write it in Japanese. Romaji isn’t going to get you very far, and your other option for Japanese input is  to copy and paste (yuck!). ;)

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!

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