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cmdkeen

Doing sound FX

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Hello, first let me say that I''m a total newbie to sound and music creation. I played with some old DOS trackers and a software synthesizer that created sounds from various settings some years ago but I focused on programming. You can visit my first (nearly) finished game if you''re interested in 2d platformer btw. I learnt to make some decent graphics for my games so I though I should also get some basic knowledge in music and sound creation. There are plenty midi/mod progs so I won''t ask for them. What I want to know about is creating sounds. I heard professionals use a huge archive of sounds and mix them together, right ? Can you give me some hints how to create sounds ? Any programs and techniques that you can recommend ? Any low-budget sound archieves ? btw: I''m going to start the successor of my turtlegame soon, and it shall have sounds and music. If someone is interested in contrubuting audio for a super mario style game mail to . any help appreciated
I''ve been doing sound design a couple years now myself, I used to work at a studio creating sfx libraries. Let''s see, where to begin......

You can get a lot of good small sfx off the internet, guns, explosions, animals ect. That is where I have gotten a good portion of my sfx library.

Make sure that all your sounds are loopable so that when someone continuousely triggers a sound it''ll play smoothly instead of stuttering.

Here is a good example of sfx layering that I can think of for a giant walking and roaring. A footstep is basically an impact so for a monster you want it to be big! Lets use a person falling down because it''s a large bass filled impact. Then I''d add some gravel being stepped on or ice cracking sound mixed with the impact so that it sounds like the moster is crushing the concrete when he takes a step, I''d also add some reverb to make it sound like the steps are loud enough to bounce around in the grand canyon. For the monster roar I might use a lion roar, pitch it down, maybe reverse it and then layer my own voice yelling pitched down over that so it doesn''t exactly sound like a lion pitched down. I''d also use a notch filter to add some strange hi pitch noise to the roar.

there''s my thoughts on beginners sound design, enjoy!

DRINK GIN! IT MAKES A MAN MEAN-milk and cheese

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Thats excellent drakar!

I think that that kind of information can really start your brain thinking about how you would make other effects - I''d love to read some of these kinds of examples!

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I used to work at a studio creating sfx libraries for Sound Ideas and the Hollywood Edge. One time we had to create a sci-fi cd set with just a delay, pitchshifter and paragraphic eq. That was really difficult!

The best trick ever pulled was creating a laser cannon. first I took a cannon sound and turned up the gain until it distorted. Then I took the waves Q10 set the 2k frequency to the narrowest bandwidth and raised that bands gain until it started to resonate at 2k. After that I keyed a gate off the eq so I could control the attack and the decay of the hi pitch lazer aspect of the sound. I wish I had a copy of it, it worked great! The distortion added some extra violence and a couple odd harmonics for more of a sci fi effect. The 2k resonator added a the hi end laser effect.

Hell, I could write a pretty lengthy article on this sort of stuff, that would actually be pretty cool!

DRINK GIN! IT MAKES A MAN MEAN-milk and cheese

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Hey Drakar, those are a great couple of posts, my man. I think an article or two from you on sound design would be of great benefit to many.

Btw, the Sound Ideas libraries are top-notch. They''re all over "Static", a Fallout-esque RPG and finalist in the 2002 IGF for which I had the honor of providing music and sfx.

Ed Lima - ELM&M
ed@edlima.com
http://www.edlima.com

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I''ve used a lot of the Sound Ideas content as a basis for sound effects in the games I work on. Nice to hear how some of it was done.

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Frankly we hated Sound Ideas, they cut alot of low end out of everything and a good portion of their effects had background noise that is just totally unacceptable in my opinion on a pro sfx library. But I suppose it would work fine for source material.

We created their Emergency set and Sports set. That company totally dicked us around and I believe put the studio I worked at out of business.

The only Sound Ideas set I would get would be the larger than life series,(which was actually created by an LA post studio) and the stuff that the studio I worked for Impossible Audio created, otherwise SOUND IDEAS CAN SLAG OFF!

DRINK GIN! IT MAKES A MAN MEAN-milk and cheese

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Thanks for the nice examples, drakar. It would be a great idea to write a tutorial about sound creation. There ''re not many (none ?) tutorials about sounds out there.

There still remains one question for me: where to get a decent sound library ? While searching the net might be a way to find lots of sound effects it takes a lot of time which I don''t have too much of. Remember I''m a programmer and won''t be able to spend too much time on sounds. I would prefer getting (and paying) for a little sound lib which I can use to mix sounds from. You seem to dislike Sound Ideas so are there any libs you recommend ?

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Please more Drakar! Its great to get these kind of ideas, instead of just randomly trying different things. I love the idea of trying to create a sound that you can hear in your head, rather than simply liking some of the sounds you accidently make.

If you did work for Hollywood edge you must be able to tell us a million of these kind of stories! Whats the toughest kinds of sounds to do? Do you always start with a real sound (such as a real cannon, to make a laser cannon etc... Do you record sounds from the world yourself, or do you mostly use existing libraries???

How do you go about starting? If, for example, you had to make an effects of a massive impact on a spaceship, what do you do? What program do you layer the sounds in etc etc etc....

Please feel free not to answer all these questions! Sorry!

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Frankly I think I have given away too many of my secrets to begin with! I worked very hard at a small studio, made the measly sum of 8.00/hr and rarely got paid on time. I earned my knowledge the hard way. We used Pro Tools 4.3 fourty + hours a week and pushed it too the limits. You make the killer music tracks and when ya need some hi intensity sfx contact me!

Of course if someone would be willing to compensate me for giving away what I have learned I''d think about it.

I''ll give all you would be sound designers some guidelines to start with.

tools: a good stereo condensor mic w/ the rykodisk wind screen, it''s expensive to buy, I''d rent one to start with. Also a portadat, the best ones were made by hhb w/o smpte they can be found used, but aren''t made anymore.
These days I''m using Sonar 1.01 it''s the best pc software besides the mighty PRO TOOLS in my opinion!

Daves rules of sound design: get a clean recording of source material then take all the rules of good sound editing/mixing and tell''m to F_U_C_K_ OFF! distortion is cool, so is abusing fx plugins. My weapon(s) of choice is paragraphic eq and a good pitchshifter. Listen to things around you and think about what they might sound like, drill=robot arms ect. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes and let cool in metal container 10 more minutes.
I''ve said to much! Now I''ll have to kill you

ps. Why the #!@&?! can''t I get a paying gig!

DRINK GIN! IT MAKES A MAN MEAN-milk and cheese

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I almost forgot, I want some feedback on some of my sound design demo material, it''s at geocities.com/psyko_music/

If I were going to spend money on sfx, there is a studio that did a library for Sound Ideas: the Larger than Life set. I forgot what they were called but I know they sell their own sfx and might publish their own Cd''s I''d look into that if I were you
cmdkeen

DRINK GIN! IT MAKES A MAN MEAN-milk and cheese

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When you''re experimenting to try and get a given sound, make sure you note this down along with the settings/equipment you used. I say this because quite often, when trying to get 1 particular sound, you get something which is good for something completely different. If you note all these down, it might help you later.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost ]

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You can also experiment with oscillators and envelopes and all that $hit...there''s one called Orangator out there somewhere that is brilliant. Admittedly, it''s more designed/aimed at creating samples for mods, but i''s still an impressive bit of kit for playing around with. There are so many options you won;''t know where to begin. It''s poorly documented, but it''s FREE.

Hope that helps some.

And of course, if you''re very short on money and can''t afford ''professional'' kit, you can always buy a cheap guitar digital multiFx unit (e.g. Zoom GFX-707 is good) and route your FX through that...that way, you can taylor your distortion to a T, and not just have to put up with the rancid digital distortion of just overloading the input of yer sound card. (I''m assuming that you;re editing in software at the moment, not hardware). I could go on for ages, but I have only played around a bit with FX, so I''ll leave it to the experts.

PS: Flangers can turn anything into an effect

And play with EQ A LOT...

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