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Posted by on Jul 30, 2010 | 1 comment

Seal Creature #3: Zip, a Fearful Alien

And here is the last creature I made from Seal Vocals library. The experience was a lot of fun. I totally recommend you this kind of limitation challenges. If I had the opportunity of use more sounds and my own recordings, perhaps the result could be better, but this activity is a fantastic way to improve your skills.

I think I’ll make a dedicated post talking about limitations and its great potential for our craft.

The Story

Zip is a small extraterrestrial being from an unknown planet. Was found by a group of travelers who explored the North Pole. Since then, Zip lives in a private retreat where NASA is studying their behavior, which is friendly but crazy, although no clear language of communication, and doesn’t have a kind of mouth, just make weird movements with his throat.

A special feature of Zip are his eyes, which are always alert to any movement that takes place around him. Zip is usually quiet but is upset and gets scared very easily, a little fearful, and also tends to get desperate when he feels in a strange place. In that moments, Zip start to run and gives big jumps all over the place, mumbling and moaning in their language.

Zip constantly tries to communicate with his family. For this, he uses a supersonic kinda communication, with a green beam pointed to the sky.

Sound Interpretation

Well, this is the weird creature of the project. I decided to make it desperate, with crazy and fast movements. His communication had to be weird and also I had to achieve a nice throat feeling, keeping in mind that he doesn’t have a specific way to talk, such as a mouth, so I think I had to treat the Hi frequencies in a special way.

Use of Seal Vocals and Processing

Zip was the funniest character to make. It’s freer than the other creatures and gives me the opportunity of experiment with the sci-fi context.

For the common sounds of Zip I used a combination of all kind of seal sounds, including growls, breaths, calls, and weird stuff. I processed them in several ways, including some pitch variation, time compression, and also more crazy stuff such as ring modulation and granular processes.

Playing with pitch and time stuff gives me different kind of performances and new sounds for Zip, the ring mod processing is great to change radically the feeling of Zip’s vocalizations giving a better throat design without loosing the original performances, and the granular proceses help me to stretch and fragment the sound of Zip even more, to get a crazy and more complicated language.

For the communication sound I wanted to do a classic and hypnotic UFO sounds. I have a nice chain that I often use for generating laser blasts, communication sounds, spaceships sounds, etc. It works with almost anything you want, and also worked for me on Zip’s sound design process.

The chain is based on tape delaying and modulation. I used H-Delay there, playing with the feedback control to deliver an “infinite” signal. Then is just about tweaking the modulation parameters and filters of the plugin. The modulation controles the speed and repetition of the effect, while the filters modify the color and tone of the obtained sound.


[Notes: Played in no particular order. Each one is a different example of how Zip’s vocalizations could sound like]

[Notes: Played in no particular order. Each one is a different example of how Zip’s communication could sound like]

Image: A cool UFO Lamp

1 Comment

  1. Excelente. En el sonido esta plasmado perfecto el concepto de gruñon y loco. Pero debo decir que personalmente tambien le encontre cierta dulzura. En cuanto al audio ya mismo me dieron ganas de hacer un ejercicio parecido, me voy a idear un personaje y me pongo a trabajar en su propia estampa sonora. Miguel, Mil Éxitos

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