This article is a guest contribution by Damian Kastbauer and does not reflect the views of DesigningSound.org or its Contributing Editors.
The article Brighten the Corners of Game Audio, that I wrote earlier this year, attempted to bring forward some of the things that I’ve experienced, specifically at the Game Developer Conference, and have gleaned from conversations with people in the game audio community over the years in relation to the organizations that represent us. This follow-up article presents the results of the survey that accompanied that article and gives further voice to the community. It’s my hope that continued discussion can influence the future of the organizations that represent game audio.
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!
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). (more…)
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!”
Pro Sound Effects Freelancer Program
An extra hour of sleep isn’t the only good thing to happen in November (for those of us who live where Daylight Savings still exists and don’t mind driving home in darkness).
On 5 November, Pro Sound Effects announced their Freelancer Program. If you are an independent sound designer, video editor, or game developer in need of professional audio, Pro Sound Effects is allowing free open enrollment into the program until 31 December 2015. Along with being able to save $2,000 off their flagship Hybrid Library, members can receive a 60% discount on NYC Ambisonics and deals on PSE’s monthly download plans and the Hybrid Library Expansions. Members also receive various discounts on software such as Izotope’s Iris 2, RX5, RX5 Advanced and Post Production Suite, Soundminer HD, HD Plus and Pro, and SoundMorph’s Wave Warper. No purchase will ever be necessary for those who enroll by 31 December, even after the free enrollment period has ended.
You can apply here, which requires you to tell PSE a little about yourself and your interest in the program. You can also learn more about the program and its libraries and software here.
Pro Sound Effects® curates and delivers the Next Level sound effects library for media producers worldwide. The Pro Sound Effects Library is 175,000+ royalty-free sounds effects available both online and on hard drive. The Library spans the entire sonic spectrum and is continually updated. Founded in 2004, Pro Sound Effects is relied upon by top freelancers and big media production companies around the globe.
“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) (more…)
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 website. Thank you for being a part of our community.
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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!