As sound designers, our jobs usually entail creating a vivid sonic world to accompany a narrative. But often, the nature of the worlds we are creating presents some unique challenges; there’s no doubt this was the case on ABZÛ, an upcoming underwater exploration game from Giant Squid Studios.
In a recent blog post, Giant Squid’s sound designer Steve Green delves into their approach to creating the sonic elements that would accompany and enhance this underwater world, with some special attention to how the audio would help create the narrative experience the team was looking for. Head over to the blog to read more!
Want to score some excellent plugins from perennial favorite manufacturer SoundToys? Want to give to a worthy charity during the holiday season? Well, good news: you can do both, thanks to a great initiative SoundToys has recently started, called “Give a Little, Get a Little.”
The idea is, SoundToys will be offering one of their “Little” plugins as a pay-what-you-can purchase every week, and 100% of your purchase price goes towards Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The current plugin is Little MicroShift, but act quickly if you want to get it– there’ll be a new plugin available starting tomorrow. Head here to read up on the Give a Little, Get a Little campaign, as well as Migrant Offshore Aid Station’s mission.
Jimmy MacDonald holding the roll of bamboo that was used to create one of the sound layers for the devastating forest fire in Bambi.
It has been said that during times of national economic hardship, people look to entertainment for relief. Taking that with a grain of salt, Walt Disney couldn’t have revealed Mickey Mouse at a better time. Though on the verge of the Great Depression, and with the film industry making its swift yet awkward transition into synchronized sound, Walt Disney Studios released Steamboat Willie in 1928, securing animation on the cutting edge as a medium capable of expressive sound effects and coinciding scores.
In her blog post, Kate Finan of Boom Box Post, explains how the Big Three – Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. – developed their signature sounds for a form of entertainment as undeveloped as its film stock. Through compatible relationships and mentorship, these legendary sound teams were able to transform the initial utterances of animation sound into a dialect where KOs naturally produce a flock of warblers and pointy objects always make a nice sharp “poing!”
“Sunset in the Pumpkin Patch” by David Grimes – https://www.flickr.com/photos/grimeshome/22521094741/
If you have a release coming up and you would like it to be included in our recap, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission form at http://designingsound.org/contact-2/sfx-independence-submission/.
I know what you’re thinking. SFX libraries released in October will contain a lot of howls, screams, muahahahaaas… you know, that old chestnut. While these sounds have their place, October brought us a diverse palette of sound effects, ranging from falling rocks and debris to quiet Athenian and Parisian corners to the roaring engines of tanks and classic cars – one of which will assure you that where you’re going, you won’t need roads. Of course, if you are looking to horrify, a positively gut-wrenching library that was recently released should satisfy your sadistic needs.
To learn about the new audible candy that is available for your projects, read on…
Rocks Momentum by Mattia Cellotto
You’re hiking in your favorite alps and oh crap! the ground beneath you gives away. Besides the piercing screams, what does that experience sound like? Rocks Momentum can help you out with a multitude of stones, rocks and bricks that use gravity at its finest to crush whatever’s below. This library contains the satisfying crunches and crashes of rocks, tile, cement and bushes as they meet their demise and the rumble of landslides that nearly take you along as they splash into the glacial lake below.
(1100 assets, 1.8 GB, 24bit/96kHz)
In an appropriately seasonal blog post over at A Sound Effect, Asbjoern speaks to Saro Sahihi of SoundBits, a boutique SFX library and sound design company. Saro, who has released some excellent gore SFX libraries, goes in-depth on how to achieve some truly squishy, wrenching, and disgusting gore sounds for all your horror needs. He even touches on some other horror mainstays, like how to achieve a good jump-scare sound, or crafting dark ambiences.
Head over to A Sound Effect to check out the whole article!
Did 20 years go by that quickly?
Image retrieved from the Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks Tumblr (parody site): http://windows95tips.com/page/3
User Interface sounds are a breed of their own. Some clearly represent their actions, such as the epochal ‘door opening’ to indicate a contact has logged on or the equally attention-grabbing announcement that “you’ve got mail,” which rationalized why you had to tie up the phone line another five minutes. Other sounds attempt to bind emotions to their actions; the wistful start up themes for Windows 95 and Mac OS assured you this is the future in their grounded, yet contemplative, chords. Whether literal or metaphorical, UI sounds are calls-to-action, sometimes to a Pavlovian degree, where this causes you to glance at your charging cable and this makes you think you’ve bumped your thumb drive. But when it comes to professional audio branding, how are these concepts used to evoke ideas such as ‘clean’ and ‘trustworthy’?
Opening Day of the 135th AES Convention in NYC.
Photo retrieved from http://www.aes.org/blog/2013/10/135th-aes-convention
It’s that time of year again! If you’re attending the 139th AES Convention next week in New York City, come join us at 8:00 pm on Thursday, 29 October at Alfie’s Bar and Kitchen, located at 800 Ninth Ave on the corner of Ninth Ave and W 53rd St. If you plan on stopping by, please RSVP using the form at the end of this article. If you are not attending the AES Convention, but you live in the NYC area, stop by anyway! (And please RSVP.)
For those unfamiliar with the AES Convention, the event runs from Thursday, 29 October to Sunday, 1 November at the Javits Center at 655 W 34th St. The Free Exhibits-Plus badge gives you access to the show floor along with Special Events, Project Studio Expos and Live Sound Expos. The All Access badge allows you to experience everything the show has to offer except tech tours. Remember, if you reserve your All Access badge before 26 October, the pass will be $25-$100 less than purchasing one on-site.
And if you haven’t yet planned which panels and events you’d like to attend, the AES schedule can be found here.
See you all soon!
Considering the newest Plants vs. Zombies 2 release has the word “mixtape” in the name, there was never any doubt that music would play a big role in the game’s experience. And as anyone who closely follows PopCap Games and their audio obsession, they’re not a company that does something halfway when it comes to sound or music. That’s why its a real treat that PvZ2 Neon Mixtape Tour audio lead Damian Kastbauer sat down with EA to discuss in depth how the team approached the variety of musical styles that appear in the new release. As always, the PopCap audio team has gone to great lengths to make a fun and immersive audio experience within the game, so be sure not to miss how they did it!
In addition, Damian has included some examples on his Vine page of some of the beat-syncing in action, both sounds-to-beat sync and animations on-the-beat.
“A live rooster in the studio, 1930s.” by Yle Archives – Yle Arkisto. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_effect#/media/File:A_live_rooster_in_the_studio,_1930s..jpg
This is the beginning of a new series to recapitulate each month’s SFX library releases. If you have a release occurring soon and you would like it to be included on our list, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission form.
September brought us several SFX libraries with an overarching theme of darkness. Deep-water beasts, mysterious sci-fi ambiences, rumbling howitzers and stormy nights can be found on this list, so let’s take a look back at last month’s releases and explore the sounds you may now purchase for your future projects.
The Battlefield Howitzers by Airborne Sound
Every once in a while a sound effects library comes out and you know very well you have nothing like it in your audio arsenal. For some, The Battlefield Howitzers is that library. These authentic recordings of World War II-era ordnances contain the grace and ferocity of the M101 C1 and C3 howitzers and the British 25-pounder, along with 169 bonus clips of designed artillery shots and battlefield montage soundscapes.
(239 sounds, 4.89 GB)
There’s a common joke among game audio artists and designers: if you ask any number of sound designers what genre they’d most like to work on, the odds are good they’ll all say “horror”, twice. It’s no surprise it’s such a common answer, either; horror games offer designers some of the most interesting and diverse sound design opportunities one can come across. There’s no doubt that Frictional Games’s upcoming title SOMA fits this mold as well, evidenced by a fantastic blog post on Frictional’s website by the game’s audio director, Samuel Justice.
In the post, Sam discusses the approach he and the rest of the team took towards defining the distinct above- and underwater worlds of this eagerly-anticipated horror title. Sam goes into extensive detail on the techniques they used, both in the game’s engine and in content creation, to achieve a unique sonic identity for the game. Check out the post here, and also take a look at Sam’s other online home over at Sweet Justice, which features another great blog chock full of good info.