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SOLARIA is an English Synthesizer V AI voicebank by Eclipsed Sounds, LLC in collaboration with Dreamtonics, released on January 19, 2022.
Her voice provider is Emma Rowley, an American singer-songwriter, pop recording artist, and Broadway performer.
SOLARIA is themed to be like a sun goddess. Her age and height are open for interpretation, though she is considered an adult and the company itself considers her to be above average height for women. Her overall character information is left for users to decide.
Her concept derived from the "Eclipse" theme based on the company's name. Taking the voice provider's vocals into account, she became based on the sun.
According to the crowdfunding page, SOLARIA's design was noted to be mature and powerful.
SOLARIA is regarded as female but Eclipsed Sounds encourages people to make their own decisions in regards to her gender, noting her to be more like a canvas for users to depict her in any way they would like. This also includes her race.
SOLARIA's former name, "SOLARIS", was a name of Latin origins meaning "of the sun". Her name in development was "Emmaloid", taken from her voice provider's name "Emma".
"SOLARIA" is a portmanteau of "solar" and "aria".
SOLARIA’s design is based on the concept of a sun goddess. She wears a crimson dress, with a sweetheart neckline detailed with gold. The hem of the dress is adorned with a gold thread pattern. Underneath her dress, she wears black tights. Around her waist is a gold belt buckled in the front with a ruby. She wears a gold shoulder plate, and cuffs. A cape of a bright yellow hangs on her back, the color fading into a burnt orange. Upon her golden head sits a pointy gold tiara. Her hair is a dirty blonde at the roots, and a pale yellow at the tips. Her eyes are the color of ambers. She has a constellation like pattern on her cheeks. Her shoes are golden pumps. She accessorizes with a gold necklace and ankle bracelet. A dust of bright colors surround her hands.
In the full artwork, SOLARIA was confirmed to be standing on a sundial.
Starting in Fall 2019, Eclipsed Sounds, LLC worked on developing their business and product plans for two and a half years prior to SOLARIA's debut. During this time, they committed time to research how to best meet the vocal synthesis community's needs. After deciding on the character concept, Eclipsed Sounds searched for a potential illustrator. They wanted an art style that would blend realism with fantasy and exaggerated elements to reflect how SOLARIA would blend the realism of an AI vocal with "the endless possibility" and user control of Synthesizer V. With this in mind, they looked for active voice synthesizer community members who may suit this concept, resulting in reaching out to Superstellar as the illustrator. At some point, Eclipsed Sounds' CEO, Elijah Damon (a.k.a "khanadee"), met Emma Rowley, a singer-songwriter who later became SOLARIA's voice provider while assisting at a local studio before SOLARIA even had a name or concept. Emma was interested in the project from the start and excited about the concept of vocal synths. She noted that she didn't mind that SOLARIA would sound like herself and hoped that others would use vocal synths. She was ultimately chosen due to the company's desire to ensure the highest quality AI vocal they could create. Her professional training and experience would help achieve what they want to do with AI and should result into a very natural singer.
On May 10, 2021, Eclipsed Sounds officially revealed a small sample of the upcoming female Synthesizer V Studio vocal who was initially introduced as "SOLARIS". On her webpage, the voice provider and illustrator were revealed to the public. According to the company, the demo used a test library based on the standard recording method and was created with a very limited recording list, meaning that it would only give listeners an idea of what SOLARIS would be like. A crowdfunding campaign was confirmed to begin on May 14. This campaign would allow the library to be released using the AI synthesis method, resulting in SOLARIS becoming a voice database for Synthesizer V AI. The company's goal with this voice database was to have SOLARIS sound closer to her voice provider in singing style, skill, and tone. This especially would be made possible with the capabilities of AI training.
In response to fans' questions about the production, Eclipsed Sounds noted that the main focus was to create an AI voice database for SOLARIS. Depending on how her crowdfunding campaign proceeded, a standard voice database could be a possible option for a stretch goal depending on the demand. When asked about a Lite version, it was noted that there were no plans. They stated that sales from SOLARIS' completed voice database would help them do things they were hoping for with no clarity of what this meant. SOLARIS was confirmed that she would be using the ARPAsing method like Eleanor Forte as this was the standard for Synthesizer V English. In regards to physical copies, it was confirmed that a limited edition physical box would be made available as a crowdfund backer reward. As Eclipsed Sounds was a small company, there was a possibility that they may not have the resources to create boxes for long-term. On May 11, a long version of "Miles" was uploaded and SOLARIS' design was revealed.
On May 14, SOLARIS' crowdfunding campaign officially started and more information about the project was revealed. Up until the campaign's launch, everything for the SOLARIS project was funded out of pocket by the team members. In order for completion, funding from outside sources was a necessity. The initial goal was shown to be $40,000, which would allow the team to create the AI voice database for SOLARIS in conjunction with Dreamtonics, payment toward the voice provider, create detailed key artwork with Superstellar, produce the crowdfund rewards and paying the guest artists (Edlinklover, MystSaphyr, and staySOCKY), and commission original demo songs from producers such as Circus-P and GHOST. The pledge rewards included:
- Key art rewards: digital wallpapers, a button badge, and an acrylic stand by Superstellar
- SOLARIS team rewards: PDFs of the concept art and stickers illustrated by the Eclipsed Sounds team
- Guest artist rewards: a button badge by Edlinklover and acrylic charms by MystSaphyr and staySOCKY
- SOLARIS Synthesizer V Library Rewards: the digital edition or the limited physical edition
- Limited item rewards: a tote bag and a t-shirt by Superstellar
- Add-on item rewards: a production diary, a custom voice line (similar to EX VOICEs), and an autograph by the voice provider
Stretch goals included improving the quality of SOLARIS' singing capabilities with more AI Training data and additional key artworks. Should the campaign result in an incomplete funding, the team would attempt to gather the remaining necessary funds, which would result in delaying the rewards and library completion. If this could not be done within six months since the final day of the crowdfund, pledges would be refunded.
A projected timeline was also made available. The illustrations of the rewards from the guest artists would be revealed later on May 16, 18, and 21 respectively. A Q&A stream would also be launched on May 21. A second Q&A livestream would be available on June 5 and a third on June 28, which is when the crowdfund campaign would end. The digital rewards (excluding the voice database) would be distributed in August and the physical merchandise would be distributed in December. The digital software rewards would be distributed in January 2022 and the physical edition rewards would be distributed in February.
Regarding the idea of switching to a Standard voice database in the event of incomplete funding, Eclipsed Sounds confirmed that there was no intention. They explained that for Standard voice databases to work, voice providers would have to fly to Japan to record at the Dreamtonics Studio, which was not an ideal option. In regards to additional samples with the test voice database, it was noted that there would be no further full demos using it. Genres for future demos would depend on how the AI voice database would turn out, though the company hoped to have a variety of examples. Regarding the terms of license, users can use the voice database freely for commercial use, but for the character use, the user should contact Eclipsed Sounds if the profits exceeded $1,000. When asked about other languages for SOLARIS, Eclipse Sounds stressed that there were no plans. Due to the desire of having SOLARIS be as high quality as possible, in addition to Emma Rowley only knowing English, the company did not want there to be any mistakes in pronunciation and risk the quality. There are no current plans for a starter pack as this would need to be negotiated with Dreamtonics. SOLARIS would be releasing with Synthesizer V plug-ins for the Pro studio.
On May 23, Eclipsed Sounds asked fans for ideas about rewards for a higher tier due to popular demand. New low and high campaign tiers and the physical box were confirmed to be revealed in the second livestream. An interview with Emma Rowley was released on May 30, giving insight about her life as a musician and detailing her thoughts on the concept of voice synthesizers.
On June 12, two new tiers for the crowdfund were added: the "SOLARIS Ultrafan" and "Exclusive Merchandise tiers. The physical box was also revealed. For users who were unable to contribute to Indiegogo, a PayPal contribution link was opened.
On June 27, the Indiegogo crowdfund reached 100% of its initial goal, bringing the total received funding to 120% A special "Final Synthesizer V SOLARIS Livestream!" was held following the successful crowdfund of which several announcements were made. The first announcement was the announcement of the producers who would be writing demo songs for SOLARIS including: Meltberry, Flanger Moose, Circus-P and GHOST. Towards the end of the stream, Eclipsed Sounds announced that SOLARIS' name was changed to SOLARIA. This was due to a variety of reasons. The primary reason was because of an "abundance of other characters, IPs, and products named "SOLARIS", and to quickly evoke the idea of a singer on name alone ("SOLARIA" being a portmanteau of "solar" and "aria")".
On July 29, SOLARIA's reference sheet was made available to the public.
On August 20, a user asked about the possibility of a Standard voice database after the crowdfund finished. Eclipsed Sounds responded that they were focusing solely on AI and may consider Standard if there was a high demand in the future. On August 30, Eclipsed Sounds posted an update on the crowdfunding page that the digital supporter rewards were being distributed. They also confirmed that the data collection phase was completed and that they were currently processing the recordings sourced from Emma Rowley. They noted that this may take some time to be completed.
On October 7, it was announced that there were two updates with the physical backer rewards. The small physical rewards were noted to be progressing smoothly and would likely be shipped in December. After receiving multiple requests from backers, Eclipsed Sounds decided to update the design to use an extra-large DVD case in order to match physical editions of other Synthesizer V software (particularly those distributed by AH-Software Co. Ltd.). As for the voice library itself, it was noted that the audio clean-up phase was nearly completed. Demonstration songs were also progressing in development and were expected to release before the end of the year. Eclipsed Sounds hoped to share the results some time soon.
On November 16, Eclipsed Sounds confirmed that development had been continuing smoothly over the previous weeks. They noted that this may be the final time people would hear from them before the samples arrived. The timeline had been updated accordingly:
- December: Expected to have small physical rewards shipped and coupon codes to be distributed. Physical backer rewards may have shipments delivered in January or February 2022. Most of the demonstration songs were expected to be posted.
- January: All software backers to receive their copies of SOLARIA. Both digital and physical supporters would receive digital copies and activation codes. SOLARIA was expected to be available on the company website, marking this her expected overall release date.
- February: Final physical packages to be mailed for physical supporters along with the entirety of their rewards.
On December 8, SOLARIA's AI voice database was shown for the first time. Further demo songs were expected soon afterwards. On December 9, it was announced that the website underwent an update, now featuring a new Timeline page and an FAQ page. According to the FAQ, the team was still determining the final price for SOLARIA, but confirmed she would cost less than $100. Regarding if there would be any more Synthesizer V voice libraries after her, Eclipsed Sounds expressed that they would love to do so, though it would depend on how well SOLARIA performs in sales.
At the end of her first demo, it was announced that SOLARIA would be releasing on January 19, 2022.
During the crowdfund period, an illustration contest was launched and slated to end on June 26, 2021, giving participants a chance to win a digital copy of the Synthesizer V Pro editor. The winner was announced to be Nyś (@Nixie_Blue).
Following the events of the crowdfund, a second contest for designing an alternate design for SOLARIA was announced, where the winning design would become part of official content and illustrated by the key artist, Superstellar, herself. The theme of the contest was "SOLARIA: Eclipsed Design." The winner was announced to be static (@staticcoceans).
When asked as to why SOLARIA has a character image to represent her, Eclipsed Sounds answered that having a character to represent vocals was considered a tradition within the vocal synthesis community. They also noted that having an associated image of a person made it clearer that the software is a virtual singer, giving an idea of what the voice may sound like before listening.
Upon revelation of SOLARIA's (then known as SOLARIS) project and a sample of her test library in May 2021, she was met with excitement. At the time, the only English voice database released was Eleanor Forte (released in 2018), who was to be followed by Tsurumaki Maki, the first English Synthesizer V vocalist available for both Standard and AI, in June 2021. As the third introduced and the first to be showcased by a western company, SOLARIA's debut left a positive impression among fans. After a successful crowdfund, SOLARIA was set for production. During this process, SOLARIA became one of four upcoming English vocals (which included Eleanor Forte AI, ANRI, and an unnamed male from Dreamtonics Co., Ltd.). This further excited Western fans as there were more English vocals to choose from after three years of only having one available since Synthesizer V's release in 2018 (that being Eleanor), filling in a demand for more in this language. SOLARIA's AI voice database was shown in December and fans noted that she had a strong voice, welcoming this trait within the English and overall AI roster.
SOLARIA's production was made possible through a successful crowdfunding campaign that was launched from May to June 2021, with the final total confirmed to be 120% and the number of backers being 396.