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18 hours ago
As of today, the RWBY Volume 3 soundtrack is available for download via iTunes. While you were waiting for the album to drop, I was on the phone with RWBY composer Jeff Williams to get the scoop on his music and creative process.
No matter how familiar you are with the songs after watching RWBY Volume 3, there’s probably something you haven’t deciphered in the lyrics. Jeff likes to stay one step ahead of everybody else, using his lyrics to foreshadow future events. “I really never want to spoil anything,” he said. “That’s the last thing I ever want to do. But what I’ve been able to do is to have the fans look back on old song lyrics that I released a year ago and say, ‘Oh look, it was right there. He told us, he told us this before.’”
So what clues about the future of RWBY are planted in the lyrics from Volume 3? Well, Jeff’s not just going to tell you, of course. But he is willing to take you behind the scenes to see exactly where the music comes from. Let’s walk step by step through his creative process.
Step 1: Find Cool Words and Phrases
If step one sounds pretty simple, that’s because it is. Here’s Jeff:
“One of the very first things I’ll do when I read the script is, I’ll just go through it with a marker and highlight words and phrases that I think are cool. You know. They might not even necessarily have any huge meaning. But if it’s just a line that a character says, or even a description of a setting that I like the sound of, I’ll make a note of that.”
“I’ll end up with a text document full of just random little words and phrases that I pulled out of the script. And as I’m writing songs I’ll have that open. So sometimes it’s not even all that deep. It’s more like, ‘Oh, that’s a cool word, I’m gonna use that word.’”
Step 2: Have Access to Secret Info
Sorry, you can’t try this step at home. One key aspect of developing the lyrics is knowing what’s already happened in the characters’ past, and knowing what’s coming in the future:
“Sometimes [the inspiration for a song comes from] a much bigger picture of the story or the character. Either knowing where their backstory comes from – which sometimes is a secret privilege that I might have – to knowing where their story is going, which again is a secret privilege that I might have.”
“So for example with Weiss’s character, I was able to have a little bit more knowledge of her background story and her life and, you know, her feelings and her life before she got on camera. And again that would come from a discussion with the writers and producers about who this character is and where their background really came from.”
Step 3: Identify the Emotions of the Scene
“For any given scene that you’re going to write the music for, there’s this obvious thing that happens first, which is like, ‘What’s the general tone of the music? Is there tension building, is this someone being emotional? Is there some love between the two characters on the screen at the moment? Is it a battle scene?’ So there’s a basic thing of, ‘What are the emotions that are happening onscreen at that moment, or throughout this five minutes?’.”
Step 4: Find a Tempo and Choose the Instrumentation
So now we’ve figured out the emotions on screen and gathered some basic words and themes. How does the actual music begin to come together?
“I’m gonna find a tempo. Whether it’s this slow and brooding thing or whether it’s this high-energy fast thing, the very first thing I’m going to try to identify is tempo.”
“And then instrumentation. Again, is this gentle strings, or is this full rock band? Or a combination, or somewhere in the middle, or transitioning from one to the next?”
Jeff also has the option to reuse any particular character’s theme music. But do you want to repeat the same theme every time a character appears?
“Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. Just because there’s a character onscreen doesn’t mean you always want to use their theme. It would get kind of boring and predictable. So you know, sometimes we turn those themes inside out in very different ways. That’s a big question too – am I going to work the character’s theme in at all? Is it going to be blatant and obvious, or are we gonna try to sneak it in, or play around with that character’s theme?”
Step 5: Create a Drumbeat and Watch the Scene Over and Over and Over
“Let’s say we’re going to put a song along with a fight scene. I’ll do a drumbeat first. That’ll give me my tempo and my energy, and at that point I’m probably just gonna sit and watch the scene over and over again, so I’ll loop a little section of it with my drumbeat going and I’ll just watch that over and over and over and I’ll look for the movements of the characters as they’re moving, running, jumping, and fighting.”
Step 6: Find Rhythms in the Animation
“This is a really core concept that Monty and I talked about all the time, and it’s a very core part of the way he worked. He established the [method] that a lot of the animators have followed through with, which is that there’s always rhythm involved. For Monty, everything was music, everything was dancing, everything was about rhythm. So what a great thing for me, to be able to work with someone who thinks in that way.”
“I always considered it this game where I would watch the animations and try to guess the tempo that the animator was thinking about while they were making the animation, and look for the rhythmic movements in the animation itself.”
“These characters – they step and they jump and they punch. And they step and they jump and they punch. So you’re looking for drumbeats you know? Drumbeats and rhythms in the movements of the characters. It’s almost like they’re dancing while they’re fighting or jumping, so it gives you a whole different way of almost turning anything into a music video.”
“And then it gets interesting because you’ll get into something rhythmic, and all of a sudden the animation will pull you away from it. And you’re like, ‘Oh shit, now what do I do? I was in this groove and now the animation seems to be not in it anymore.’ So then you say, ‘Well now what happens? Do we change the music? Do we just go with it? Do we ask if they can tweak the animation?’”
Step 7: Well… Compose the Music
It sounds obvious, but now that everything else is in place, it’s time to get down to the heart of composing. As Jeff says:
“You know, sooner or later there is a lot of flat-out sitting at the keyboard and/or the guitar.”
Jeff writes pretty much every song on his 1964 Wurlitzer 140B electric piano.
So there you have it. You’re almost ready to make your own RWBY Volume 3 soundtrack. All you need now is a home studio, keyboards, guitars, amps, studio monitors, a computer, a digital audio workstation, audio hardware, software plugins, decades of musical experience, audio engineering experience, production experience, and a contract with Rooster Teeth. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?
12 hours ago
RWBY Volume 3 DVD/Blu-Ray Available NOW at RoosterTeeth.com/store
In this sneak peek at the DVD/Blu-Ray extra features, join the cast and crew as they explore the Journey of team RWBY and how the experience has affected the characters and the artist who create the show.
2 days ago
The flimsy gray controller that shipped with the original PlayStation, in 1994, is not remarkable at all. Some people might tell you that it was different from other controllers at the time. “Its buttons used symbols instead of letters,” they might say. How quickly people forget that X and O are letters. A triangle is the top of a capital A and a square is a shitty D.
But in 1997, Sony got it right. The first DualShock was an improvement on anything that had come before. Its rumble feature was novel for its time. And since the N64 controller had already cornered the market of people with three hands, Sony decided on a pair of rubber-tipped thumbsticks that rested comfortably under two human thumbs.
With all that in mind, let’s explore the long and exciting evolution of the most enduring controller in video game history.
DualShock 1 (1997)
Okay, this controller was not called “DualShock 1;” it was just called “DualShock.” Sony’s engineers could not guarantee that the human race would survive long enough to make a DualShock 2. Even so, they predicted the future better than they expected. The basic button configuration and shape of this design persisted for many generations to come.
DualShock 2 (2000)
Next, some designers just made the controller black and the buttons pressure sensitive. This was back in a time when dancing hamster GIFs were the cutting edge of memes, and people would accept anything as innovation.
DualShock 3 (2007)
After a couple of stupid ideas bombed, Sony unveiled the DualShock 3. And while the company’s failed innovations probably left Sony execs wishing they could hang their hardware designers, there’s no way they could hang them with a DualShock 3. This thing was wireless, after all, with a slightly sleeker design and motion sensing technology to boot.
DualShock 4 (2013)
At the time it was introduced, this model represented the biggest overhaul of the DualShock to date. The thumbsticks were improved, the handles changed, and a touchpad was added. Sony also came up with the extremely convenient Share button, which nobody ever clicked by accident.
DualShock 360 (2018)
Although some wiseguy in Sony’s marketing department gave this controller a retro name to mock the Xbox after Microsoft went bankrupt in 2017, everything else about this controller was futuristic to a T.
Building off the success of the fourth generation’s Share button, Sony replaced the “PS” Home button with an Arby’s® button that orders five Roast Beef Classics® with Arby’s Sauce® every time it’s pressed.
DualShock 6 Presented by Arby’s® (2024)
Arby’s – suddenly the world’s largest corporation – was so flush with cash from gamers accidentally ordering sandwiches during gameplay that they bought the rights to Sony’s flagship controller (not to mention Sony itself). This unforgettable design featured a laser-etched signature from R.B. Cruthers, the Arby’s CEO who soon went on to win the 2024 presidential election.
DualShock 7 (Year of the Prime-Cut™ Chicken Bacon Swiss®)
Critics and fans alike consider this to be one of the greatest controllers ever designed. After lax security at an Arby’s® nuclear missile facility allowed terrorists to detonate the country’s entire nuclear arsenal, fans appreciated that this controller’s 2” switchblade helped them cut through dense jungle thickets in the new dystopian hellscape. Its dual tasers – triggered with the L1 and R1 buttons – were pretty handy too, helping gamers subdue the murderous bandits that swarmed the derelict ruins of once-great American cities.
With that, we have arrived at the present day. It’s been a wild ride for this iconic accessory, and only time will tell what the next generation might bring!
2 days ago
3 days ago
It's a huge week for RWBY! Let's hit the headlines real quick:
RWBY has begun to hit the shelves at Hot Topic! Officially starting today, May 1st, as part of their "Ani-May" theme month (...and surely, no matter where she is right now, Barb just perked up and started smiling and nodding in approval) Hot Topic is promoting RWBY in every single one of their nearly 650 stores as well as at HotTopic.com! A half dozen shirt designs have already hit, but THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING! There is so much new RWBYness headed your way this year, keep your eye on the stores for more new clothing, accessories, and (ahem) other assorted collectibles! Oh, and their online store is running a 20% off everything sale, starting riiiiiiiight about.... now!
RWBY Vol.3 Blu, DVD annnnnnnnnd SOUNDTRACK!!! Ahhhh! RWBY Vol.3 is currently the #1 Best Seller on Amazon in both anime "Hot New Releases" *and* in anime overall!!! And it's not even out yet! But the wait for the video ends THIS TUESDAY May 3rd! Even better, the digital RWBY Volume 3 Soundtrack should drop THIS WEEK, so stay on the lookout for that!
RWBY GRIMM ECLIPSE! Heads up, there's a content update for RWBY:GE on Steam at the end of this week, including a new map, Forever Fall! The price will start to go up when the new content pack hits, so if you haven't got it yet, now's the time!
RWBY CHIBI PREMIERES THIS SATURDAY! If you met up with fellow fans last week to watch RWBY Vol.1 on the big screen through the Tugg event (more details on the Tugg screening of Vol.2 soon, btw!), you got an exclusive sneak peek at the new show RWBY Chibi! And now the show will premiere for sponsors this coming Saturday May 7th, 10am U.S. Central! More news about the show and the overall release schedule later this week.
*gasping for breath after all this news*
5 days ago
It’s time for our weekly look at the best Rooster Teeth fan art from our community, curated by the fine folks at BIGBITE!
This week’s featured artist is Rose, AKA @RoseMaryM, for her digital painting of Velvet Scarletina from RWBY.
Watch the speedpaint timelapse here:
Rose lives in a small town in Germany, where she works as a freelance artist while taking online classes. This painting was inspired by Rose’s love for RWBY and Caiti Ward (the voice of Velvet). She thinks Velvet is “adorable and badass at the same time,” and wanted to create something as tribute.
This piece was created with Paint Tool SAI and a Wacom Intuos Fun Tablet, and took approximately eight hours (spanning several days) to create.
5 days ago
6 days ago
The amount of talent in the collective Let’s Play fanbase is nothing short of incredible. Are you passionate about editing, animating, crafting, remixing music, cosplaying, or just creating in general? Whether you’re looking for a reason to try something for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro, this is the perfect opportunity to jump in and have your work seen by hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
A lot has changed with the Let’s Play channel in the last few months, and the new logo is the least of it. As Let’s Play expands and becomes more of a hub for gaming content creators, it only makes sense to also expand the breadth of the Let’s Play Community channel.
Introducing the New Let’s Play Community
On March 28, 2016, the Achievement Hunter Community channel officially relaunched as the Let’s Play Community channel. It’s much more than a pretty new page design, though; it has a new zest of style and substance to accompany its new identity.
The new Let’s Play Community channel is a hub filled with community-created video content that features the Let's Play crew. The content doesn’t just have to be Achievement Hunter-focused; it’s now open to all groups in the Let’s Play family, including Funhaus, ScrewAttack, Kinda Funny, The Creatures, and Cow Chop. The channel has also been opened up to feature a much wider range of content, including fan animations, speed art, music remixes, highlight reels, and cosplay tutorials. Basically, any Let’s Play-related fan content that can be contained in a video is fair game.
Looking for a little inspiration? Check out these popular types of community videos.
Things to Do In...
(“Hands On” videos cover anything that involves live-action crafting, including cosplay.)
Though these approaches are a great place to start, don’t feel limited by them. The Let’s Play Community channel is also open to new series ideas, so feel free to get (even more) creative.
Ready to Create?
If you’re ready to start making content, there are a few things to keep in mind. @TrevorC put together a very handy list of instructions and frequently asked questions in the Let’s Play Community group. It’s best to review that info before recording your videos. If you have any questions, the Let’s Play Community group forum is a great place to start. You can also send @TrevorC a message via his profile.