Friday, January 28, 2011

Xtranormal: I hate myself for loving you

So, if you haven't heard, Xtranormal has gotten rid of a bunch of character voices. Things went bad with some vendor they were leasing the voices from, or something. Anyhow, overnight they got rid of like 70 percent of the voices they were offering, including the voices I was using for Sweetie, Mr. Meany, Mandy, Lulzo, Fiona Pretzels, Officer Nobb and Bad Doggy P. (Actually Officer Nobb and Bad Doggy P technically had the same voice, but I'm in a fussy mood so I'm counting it as the loss of two voices.)

Basically all of my character voices are just gone, and the remaining voices available are really assy. Sure, Meany and Sweetie had kind of flat, robot-y voices, but their voices could also be surprisingly alive. I loved Meany's zestfully belligerent English accent, it seemed to suit him so well. And there was something about Sweetie's voice that really worked for her too. It was a fun, smiling voice, but it also sounded older than she looked and it gave her a little gravity. Many times the little quirks built into those voices have made something a lot funnier than it was when I wrote it. Just the other day Meany cracked me up with a surprising, particularly Meany-ish line reading, and I actually thought, "God, I love that voice."

The idea that Meany and Sweetie won't sound like Meany and Sweetie anymore upsets me more than it probably should. These characters matter to me, and their voices are just their voices, and now those voices are gone.

I can think of some workarounds, ways to dub in some of those old voices on my clips, but they seem like too much trouble and I'm honestly not sure what to do next. Xtranormal had already thrown me a curveball by changing the screen ratio of their clips recently, I still haven't really figured out how to work with these new, widescreen clips in my editor programs. I mean, I've got stuff to do, and I really don't need all of these new complications when I'm just trying to make my silly little clips.

I do still adore Xtranormal, the company and the product. But let's just say that if a comparable, more reliable animation software came along anytime soon...


Mel C said...

Ohhh, that just sucks. Sweetie and Meany won't be the same, you're right.

Mindi Flyth said...

As I said, I think I found a way to work around it, so I can dub in the old voices. But it's just one more little complication... Argh. Argh, indeed.