Aug 082014

Tripshots is a long standing contributing artist to Vocaloid in both music and outstanding CGI animation work. His animations in particular continued to set new benchmarks for years to follow, and have been widely publicized across the web as representations of what the Vocaloid community creates. For many fans today, works like Nebula or Gift nor Art can be recognized as the video that attracted them to the Vocaloid culture.

An interesting trait of Tripshots’ personality is his openness towards overseas fans of his work, something that we would like to see from many more Vocaloid producers in the future. After Tripshots kindly agreed to our interview request, we proceeded to gather questions from Vocaloid fans from around the world. So we’d like to thank everyone for their contributions! Special thanks to Descent87 for providing translations for the interview.

Tripshots Official Site:
Tripshots Official Twitter:
Tripshots Official YouTube:

MikuFan: Good evening, and thank you for accepting! I’ve been a follower of your work for many years. We have also gathered many questions from fans overseas.

Tripshots: I’m truly grateful to have so many fans who are interested in me and my work.

MikuFan: The first question is one that almost everyone would like to know the answer to: How did you discover Vocaloid, and what inspired you to become involved?

Tripshots: The first time I heard about Vocaloid was through a news article. I noticed a name I had never seen before, “Hatsune Miku”. As a Japanese person, seeing a name I had never seen before perked my interested and I read the article. The article basically spoke about how Hatsune Miku was the face of a new vocal synthesizer software that had gained considerable popularity on video sharing sites.

MikuFan: Ahh, I see. (This had happened within a mere couple month of Miku’s software release, her popularity had unexpectedly exploded in Japan)

Tripshots: I had already had some interest in this kind of technology and was already aware of Meiko’s release. However having listened to her demo songs, I felt that she still sounded too mechanical. However when I listened to Hatsune Miku’s demo work, I was truly surprised and excited by the amount of expressiveness in her voice and found myself wanting to try and work with her.

MikuFan: Hatsune Miku’s voice was truly captivating for many people.

Tripshots: I was especially impressed when I heard OSTER Project’s work.

MikuFan: Ah, OSTER Project! She is a very early Vocaloid producer.

Tripshots: Saying that, I basically mean to say that she was the culprit (joking) who helped drag me into the world of Vocaloid.

MikuFan: Did you try composing Vocaloid music first, or creating 3DPVs first? Or both at the same time?

Tripshots: I get this question a lot. I always prioritize the creation of the song. Of course I do this keeping in mind that it will be used to eventually create the accompanying PV. I also find inspiration for the entire project before I create the song. Having developed an overall view for the project, I give it form through the creation of a song. After this I put the finishing touches on the song and create the video, slowly blending them into one as time goes on.

MikuFan: I see you also answered another question we had planned, so thank you.

Tripshots: You’re welcome. :)

MikuFan: How long had you been creating 3DCG content before Vocaloid? And have you been composing music before Vocaloid as well?

Tripshots: I’ve been involved in 3DCG work for a long time, so I cannot remember exactly when I started. But about 15 years sounds right. As for music, my family has always been fond of music and I was always surrounded by instruments. Due to this I had already become familiar with music from a very young age.

MikuFan: 15 years experience?! That is very impressive.

Tripshots: Basically. However I can’t claim to have been exclusively involved in 3DCG work duing that period, so I don’t consider myself to be a “pro”.

MikuFan: Ah, so it was mostly casual work.

Tripshots: I use music and 3DCG as a tool to express myself.

MikuFan: Do you do any professional 3DCG work for business?

Tripshots: If it is necessary for my work, I make use of it. (No comment on my work…)

MikuFan: Besides OSTER Project, are there other music producers who inspire you?

Tripshots: That’s a difficult question. I can’t really say I am inspired by someone in particular. There is a countless number of songs and videos that are uploaded over the web. I watch many of them and have been influenced and inspired in that way.

MikuFan: Ah, so there’s simply too many sources of influence.

Tripshots: It would take forever to list them all. But one of my non-Vocaloid influences is Ferry Corsten. I could also name Jeremy Hollister for video production. I can’t really list all the rest.

MikuFan: Please don’t worry, we understand, ha ha.

MikuFan: I think it is correct to say that “Nebula” was your first major successful creation. It is the first song and video for many fans today, and it is seen all over the internet. How do you feel about the success of Nebula, and were you surprised?

Original 3DPV of Nebula by Tripshots.
The nicovideo version has received over 600,000 views.

Tripshots: You’re right. I feel that Nebula is definitely my representative work. Around that time (2009) I basically used all of my private time for my efforts to see just what all I could accomplish with Vocaloid. Presently there are lots of amazing expressive works released with the help of MMD and Vocaloid V3, but not so much in 2009. As such I was able to attract a lot of interest with my work and was very pleased with that. I think that a lot of that success was thanks to the fact that I embraced and delved into the “cool” side of Miku, in contrast to the “cute” and “moe” depictions of her that were popular even back then.

MikuFan: I see what you mean, and I think you achieved your goal. Nebula definitely felt very “cool”. Regarding the choreography of your videos, was Miku’s dancing your own ideas, or did you take inspiration from actors or dancers?

Tripshots: It was all original ideas. But please try and imagine it: A guy trying to dance and come up with stuff alone in front of his computer. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

MikuFan: (Laughs)

MikuFan: If I am correct, you were the designer for the first two Project Diva Arcade game cabinets. How did your collaboration with SEGA happen?

Tripshots: I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure myself. If I had to guess, I’d say they saw my work and designs and felt it matched with the vision they had for Project DIVA. Of course I am grateful for being chosen.

MikuFan: So it was as simple as SEGA approaching you. In that case, congratulations!

MikuFan: HanasoumenP is among one of my top favorite producers. So I am very curious as to how your collaboration with him on “Gift nor Art” came to be. Additionally, what is the meaning of “Gift nor Art”?

Gift nor Art official video. Music by HSP, animation by Tripshots.

Tripshots: I had long wished to work with HSP, who is one of my favorite track-makers. Setting things up was pretty simple, I sent him a message on twitter and he agreed (laughs).

MikuFan: Yes, HSP is a very kind person. I have also spoken with him a few times.

Tripshots: The meaning of the song is actually much deeper than most people think. In fact, during those early days of production, I often worried if people would be able to understand it properly. I don’t want to cheapen its meaning through an insufficient or artless explanation, so I won’t attempt it. I want people to instead consider the meaning and content as they listen.

MikuFan: I would like to say “thank you” for making your album for “Gift nor Art” available overseas on Alice-Books. I hope to see more producers also use “Alice-Books” and “Akiba-Hobby” for their doujin music.

Tripshots: I know I have a lot of overseas fans, so I searched for a way to get my music to them. I am glad everyone is happy with how it worked out.

MikuFan: Thank you very much for your consideration towards overseas fans.

Tripshots: I wish they didn’t take as much of a percentage (lol) but I attach a lot of importance to international fans. Even on iTunes, distribution is not geared only to the domestic crowd but has a more global focus. Focusing on Japan is too narrow a mindset and the market is too small. I think we must display and exhibit our work globally.

MikuFan: I am happy to see you think that way. I hope other producers will think this way, too.

Tripshots: Of course, the language barrier is the number one problem.

MikuFan: Did you plan on having a career in 3D animation?

Tripshots: No. I have always viewed it as a tool to be used when necessary and learned it with that in mind, I never considered it a specialty of mine and I don’t think that way even now. Plus my 3DCG skills are nothing to write home about.

MikuFan: Did you ever seek any help from additional producers for animation work, or are your videos completely your own creation?

Tripshots: There are no other contributors to my videos, I created everything you see.

MikuFan: How long did your major PVs take you to create? Anger, Nebula, GnA, etc?

Anger official video. Music and animation by Tripshots.

Tripshots: As you know the current scene is saturated with high-quality works. Both works of pro-level quality and works by actual professional creators. Thus my time investment has also increased over time. Anger took 2 months, Nebula took 6 months, and GnA took about a year.

MikuFan: Quite a large difference, but it is understandable.

Tripshots: Because I do this on my own, it takes a lot of time. That isn’t how things go in the work place. Typically the work will be portioned out amongst different people. My goal isn’t to find a way to rush out high quality works, but rather to create and realize my own inspirations.

MikuFan: You cannot rush perfection. And in this way, you have complete control over your ideas.

Tripshots: That’s right.

MikuFan: Before we finish, is there anything you would like to say to your overseas fans?

Tripshots: Firstly, I am grateful for everyone’s interest in my work. I am currently in the process of planning out my next work and I will do my best to put out another good creation. I think it will take over a year this time. Throwing aside terms like Creator and Viewer for a moment, I hope that the Vocaloid scene continues to be globalized with enthusiasts in all countries doing their part.

MikuFan: Good luck on your future project, and thank you for your time!

Tripshots: Thank you! I was happy to do it.

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About jrharbort
A Hatsune Miku fan since December 2007, jrharbort joined MikuFan as the Head Writer in October 2011. Follow on Twitter at @jrharbort.