Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Clover Round Up - Mixing The Sounds


With the Audious Sound Design - Clover Podcast Series airing every Monday, it is now time we took a look at the third installment of the Clover Round Up.

In this part we shall discuss the mixing process used to create the complex sound effects that were identified in the previous installment. We shall continue to focus on the rock crumbling sound effect.

Lets identify the 2 parts of this sound:

The Pick Axe Strike - This is the attack of the sound
The Rock Crumbling - This is the decay of the sound.

As you heard in the example in the previous update, the Rock Crumbling sound effect was made from a number of different sound elements. Both parts are made up from more than one element. These sounds were imported into pro-tools and put into their own individual tracks as shown in the picture below.



The Pick Axe Strike was constructed from 2 different strike sound elements. One was a hammer striking a piece of wood, the other was the same hammer striking a stone. The two elements were carefully placed within the time line so that the strikes happened at the exact same moment. The two different tones would then combine to create a bigger sounding strike.

The positioning of each sound element for the Rock Crumbling part on the time line was also very important. I did not want any given moment to be over cluttered with sound, whilst another moment being empty. I also did not want to have too many attack peaks at any one time. The idea was to have a constantly rumbling decay where the rock falls apart. The use of Volume automation was great for fading in and out parts of the each sound element. This helped alot with achieving this goal.

For those who are not geared up on Sound Engineering Terminology, this is a fantastic feature in Pro-Tools that allows you to adjust levels such as Volume, Effects Mix, Left/Right Panning and many many more on the time line display. In the picture below the thick black line with the white dots on it is the automation line for volume.


Another sound was added to the mix which has not yet been mentioned. This is was a 60Hz sine wave which was trigger to play underneath the Rock Crumbling sound. The signal was placed very low in the mix because it was intended to compliment the rumbling effect.

Each part of the sound effect was mixed individually to help separate the sound as two different sound sources and then bounced down together to create the final effect.

Here you can here the sound effect as it appears in the game in this low quality sound example:

I also identified the drip sounds as another complex sound effect. However, unlike the rock crumbling sound effect, the drips were not constructed from several individually recorded sound elements. No, infact the only sound recorded for this effect was a dripping tap.

The sounds that you hear with in the game have had a number of layers of different reverb and delay effect. It was important to ensure that in this situation the reverb and delay times did not match to help to create the randomness of a large chamber or cave like atmosphere.


The next blog will bring my work on Clover to a conclusion. I'll outline some of the things that I have learnt from the project and tell a few stories of things that I got up to on the way. If you're lucky, maybe I'll even chuck in a couple more of my favourite sounds ;-)

As always, if you have any questions please leave a comment.


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