A couple weeks ago, AKB48 made some news in the overseas media for revealing a “new member,” Aimi Eguchi, who was entirely computer generated from parts of other AKB48 members in a television commercial.
What the overseas media didn’t mention was that Glico, the company behind the (im)famous commercial, made a tie-up website in which you can similarly make your own AKB48 member!
The site is surprisingly very well designed. Not only can you customize the facial features (eyes, nose, mouth, hair, chin) and fit them in the position you like, but the program fits the features together naturally.
The process of making your own AKB48 is very simple:
Feature 1: Choose each facial feature from the entire list of AKB48 members
On the right panel, labeled “Professional Tool”, you can choose your AKB48′s 1) hair and facial shape, 2) eyes, 3) nose, and 4) mouth.
At first, there are two options in pink boxes. The top one opens the four changeable facial areas in the above order. By default, the “hair and facial shape” area is already opened. In the scrollable area, you can select the AKB48 you would like to take the facial feature from.
Feature 2: Position the features
Select the second pink box in “Professional Tool” to fine-tune the positions of the facial features you selected above. You’ll be surprised at how much this improves (or worsens) your AKB48.
The buttons move the following features, from the top to the bottom: eyes, nose, mouth. For the eyes, you can adjust their proximity in addition to their vertical position.
Feature 3: Shuffle
When you need a starting point (or are just plain bored), you can also use their “shuffle” feature. The pink shuffle button located on the left does exactly what it sounds.
The algorithm for the shuffle seems to be more intelligent than just randomly picking and choosing eyes and noses. While you will get quite a few hideous looking faces, my attempts at fiddling with the AKB48 maker has yielded in far worse, far more frequently.
Feature 4: Share your achievements and failures with your friends
Finally, when you are satisfied with your Frankenstein’s creation, you can name your AKB48. Select the white box on the bottom right corner to confirm that you are done with the face. In the next screen, you will be given a selection of names randomly generated from the kanji (Japanese characters) of AKB48 members.
Again, the algorithm is quite a bit more sophisticated than it appears on the surface. You don’t see any combinations that don’t make sense as names. Good job, Glico!
Once you have selected the name by hitting the white button on the bottom right, you will be presented with your very own digital AKB48. On the right, you can copy a link that sends your friends directly to your new member. You can even twitter and facebook her as well.
Here’s the link to my AKB48, Ruko Henno. I would have liked to spend more time in perfecting my digital AKB, but I have a supervisor breathing down my neck. I’ll work on it at home.
Caution: Beware of this site. It is surprisingly addictive, even if you’re not an AKB48 fan.
Source: Glico’s AKB48 maker