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Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 | 0 comments

Monthly Theme: Audio Programming

Audio (music) programming by dabit.

This month at Designing Sound, we are focusing our lens on the concept of Audio Programming.

The above image is from David Padilla’s (AKA dabit) Banjo (here is the github link), which is a MIDI looper for live performance. He is a professional programmer (and an audio hobbyist) who’s work producing music within a programming language is quite impressive and academically intriguing. Though we do not all need to be professional programmers in order to be interested and involved in the process of audio programming. We, as sound designers, definitely have some additional tools and techniques to produce incredible and unique sound design through other (more user friendly) methods of programming as well.

Audio programming has always been a part of sound design in some form, though with the development of the more popular programs/languages such as Kyma, Max/MSP, and Pure Data (Pd), the world of audio programming continues to take an increasingly integral role in many of our workflows.

Whether you are a user of one or more of the above mentioned programming languages, a Csound expert, or are into another form of audio programming that is potentially less widely known or used. We would love to hear from you about your thoughts (and potentially tutorials) on how you use your favorite programming languages to produce your work.

Please email doron [at] this site to contribute an article for this month’s topic. And as always, please feel free to go “off-topic” as well.

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Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 | 1 comment

Macros for Audio Production – Automating Your Workflow

This article was born out of an idea for a GDC audio talk proposal. Another one of my proposals was selected so I thought I’d turn the core idea of this one into a DS post in case it’s of use to the community.

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used under creative commons, click for source

Do you use macros in your music/sound production? If the answer is yes, then this article isn’t for you. Given January’s theme is all about time management, I feel duty-bound to say you should make better use of your time and read one of the many other fantastic articles here on this site. If however, any of the following apply, read on!

  • “I don’t know what a macro is”
  • “Macros are just shortcuts right, like CMD C to copy?”
  • “Macros are only used by programmers.”
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Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 | 0 comments

Monthly Theme: Time/Project Management

PT Time Counter

 

The new year has just dawned and we still have 360 days of 2016 to enjoy. How many of those days will you spend editing, designing, mixing, implementing, programming, or listening? No matter how much you wish you could use the TCE trimming tool to extend your year, the seconds on your watch will continue to count even if your DAW is not.

This month, Designing Sound is looking at the ways we view time, whether that be managing your day between desperate projects, speeding up your workflow to fit more in every day, taking time out to listen and reflect so you can return to a project with a fresh set of ears, or using temporal-based processing to fix simple sync issues or take your sound design into an otherworldly abyss. So, what does time mean to you?

As always, we here at Designing Sound encourage our community (and yes, that means you) to contribute an article for this month’s theme, or any sound design related topic that may be on your mind. Your contributions, and added perspectives are a large part of what keeps this site vibrant and fresh. So please, keep reading, thinking, and writing about sound design, and anytime you would like to contribute, just contact doron [@] this websiteThank you for being a part of our community. 

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Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 | 0 comments

Monthly Theme: Sonic Degradation

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Sometimes the last thing we as audio professionals want is the degradation of the audio that we are working with, though often, we use sonic degradation for many creative audio endeavours. This month, we would like to explore the good, and the bad of sonic degradation within sound design.

As always, we encourage contributions from our community of readers. Please feel free to chime in on this month’s topic, and also, as always, you can always go “off-topic” or start preparing something for next month’s (which will be “Time/Project Management”). Just email doron [at] this site to get the ball rolling!

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Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 | 4 comments

What My Deaf Cat Taught Me About Sound

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Guest Contribution by April Tucker

Meet Yuki, one of my cats. She’s a tiny, feisty 6-year-old tabby. Earlier this year, we learned that Yuki had gone deaf after having normal hearing most of her life. She probably lost her hearing gradually, but it wasn’t obvious until one day when I was vacuuming and realized she was right by me, happily curled up and sound asleep.

There’s a learning curve to owning a deaf pet – especially a cat that’s already stubborn and sleeps in places you can’t find. Deaf pets get extremely startled if you touch them when they don’t perceive you first (through vibration, sight, or smell). Words that they responded to before (like “dinner” or “no”) suddenly have no meaning. Yuki became cautious, spending a lot of time just trying to gauge her surroundings (like the other cats who were unaware of her condition).

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Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 | 2 comments

Monthly Theme: “Pure” Sound Design

Cover image by Mirko Tobias Schaefer (flic.kr/p/5vBCdn). Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

What is the essence of sound design?

It is widely accepted that individuals who are visually impaired develop the ability to hear heightened detail and extract deeper levels of information through their other senses, in which hearing/sound is a large part.

For many of us, the sounds we regularly design are for the distinct purpose of supporting, and enhancing the context of (often moving) images within a larger media project such as a film, or a video game.

This month, Designing Sound would like to take away any potential (visual or otherwise) “crutches” that we lean on when designing sounds and consider what sound design is at its core, in its purest form, and without any visual aids to help (or distract) us. This a month to reflect on, and explore the depth, and meaning, of “pure” sound design.

As always, we here at Designing Sound encourage our community (and yes, that means you) to contribute an article for this month’s theme, or any sound design related topic that may be on your mind. Your contributions, and added perspectives are a large part of what keeps this site vibrant and fresh. So please, keep reading, thinking, and writing about sound design, and anytime you would like to contribute, just contact doron [@] this websiteThank you for being a part of our community. 

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Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 | 0 comments

Adventures in SFX – Creating Port of Call

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Michael Raphael has been recording and releasing high res sound effect collections for sound designers and editors since 2010. His site Rabbit Ears Audio covers such diverse sonic ground as Hind Helicopters, train whistles, and typewriters. In a recent collaboration with Audio Director Rob Bridgett he has released a new library called Port of Call and they’ve kindly offered to give us some insight into its creation. Many thanks to Michael and Rob for this contribution.

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Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 | 1 comment

Spectral Analysis: Interview with Gordon Durity

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Many thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Dyck

Gordon Durity is the Executive Audio Director of the EA Audioworks team, which supports the audio development of the upcoming Need for Speed release available on November 3rd, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One (PC due in the spring of 2016). I’d like to extend my thanks to Gordon for sitting down to chat with me.

Brad Dyck: Could you describe some of the responsibilities you deal with day to day?

Gordon Durity: I look at all the titles that I’m in charge of – all of the sports games, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies and mobile products just to keep track of where everything’s going as far as audio content and quality. I do R&D as well, looking at where our technology is headed, what’s out there competitively, what we’re building in-house, what we need to build for emerging platforms, and what we need to re-factor to make things work better. Because we’re a central team, I spend time with the senior leaders of the titles we service whether it’s FIFA, Madden or Need for Speed, just to make sure that we’re completely aligned with our dev partners.

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Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 | 1 comment

Thoughts on Limitations in Game Audio

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Rob Bridgett is an audio director at Eidos-Montréal.

Leonard Paul is the president of the School of Video Game Audio.

Images courtesy of Rob Bridgett & Leonard Paul


Nine years ago, we collaborated on an article on the idea of limitations for Gamasutra and wanted to see where our thoughts would take us. This time around, rather than produce another article, this submission is a set of our musings meant to be used as starting points or inspiration when working with the limitations of game audio.


Allowing a view of the long-term in our art gives a certain freedom but it can also be paralyzing unless we set limits on ourselves.

An exciting, creative challenge is one with well defined limits: a well defined brief; a box to play in.

Not only do technical limits advance but also creative limits as well.

Working within a genre is a form of self-limitation (style and structure, for instance, “we’re going to write a 3 minute pop song”). A platform/format is a limitation: 12 inch, an LP (two sides), a CD (long running playlist). We need to consider the equivalent boxes and structures in games (menu, mission, genre, format, art style).

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Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 | 1 comment

Celebrating Dogme

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When the topic of restriction first came up I immeadiately thought of the Dogme 95 movement. It seemed like such an obvious response that I spent some time hunting around for another topic. Inevitably though I’ve come back to Dogme. Partly because it really is a great example of working under restriction, but also because the films created within the movement are so striking in their subversion of the restrictions placed on them. This also gave me the opportunity to revisit two films I enjoy immensely, Festen (1998) and It’s All About Love (2003); both directed by Thomas Vinterberg and written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov.

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