Sound Design Process

Boom Library UI Sound Design Contest:  (00:04)

The sound effects company, Boom Library, held a sound design contest this past April, which I gladly participated in. The challenge was to design sounds for a user interface (UI) sequence created by Nawaz Alamgir using ONLY white noise. Strict creative limitations like this are always interesting for me to work with and tend to stretch my sound design capabilities. All SFX are 100% original. I created most of the sounds with a combination of EQ, pitch shifting, slicing/dicing audio clips, harmonic enhancers, and modulators.

Sound Replacement - Halo 5: Guardians:  (00:37)

In an effort to transition into game audio work, I have begun to play (and listen to) more video games! I greatly admire the sound work of the Halo series, so I wanted to try my hand at designing some sounds for the game. This video is a sound replacement of an in-game cut scene. I used a combination of original sound effects and library effects to create the soundtrack, and then I mixed it. It's only a minute long, but it's dense!

Sound FX Breakdown

I used a combination of my own original sound effects (recorded, edited, and mangled by me) and sounds from sound effect libraries.

Alien Voiceover - all Covenant vocalizations were created with my own voice (and then significantly enhanced in Dehumaniser)

Impacts & Gore FX - I sourced most of these types of sounds from my own personal sound FX library. Every body impact, blood splatter, and bone crunch is mine. However, I did sweeten a couple of melee attacks with gun foley sourced from an SFX library.

Weapons -

Lasers: laser fire heard in the background of the battle was created by me using a synthesizer. I knew learning FM synthesis would come in handy one day!

Energy Sword: this one involved a bunch of layering. The initial boom, surge, and crackle of the energy sword being unsheathed was created from my own library. I layered in a sword library effect to glue the whole sound event together.

Additional Weapons: the remaining gun sound FX came from a library. However, I sweetened one of the submachine guns with some tiny metallic sounds from my own library.

Door FX - the large base door sliding open was a combination of original and library FX. I created the initial beep and humming sounds of the door open sequence, but the remaining sounds came from a library.

Ambience - I created two of the Covenant base ambience layers in iZotope Iris, but all of the external ambience, like wind, was sourced from libraries.

Foley - I do love creating and recording Foley, but for this project, I pulled every footstep, cloth, and armor sound from libraries. However, I did throw in some leather creaks for the Fireteam's movement.

Wwise Limbo Project:  (01:41)

The Wwise Limbo project is well-known by sound designers and composers seeking to build game audio skills. The purpose is to rework the original sound design of the game, LIMBO, and learn the Wwise middleware tool in the process. For this video, I essentially stripped out the original LIMBO audio in Wwise and replaced it with a combination of my own sounds and library sounds. Of course it's never that easy - I had to debug a host of implementation issues and find creative solutions to fit my sounds into the game.

Sound FX Breakdown

The sound assets I used are a combination of my own original sound effects and sounds from third-party libraries. All sounds were implemented by me in Audiokinetic Wwise.

UI Sounds - My menu UI sounds are 100% original. I used a recording of a clock ticking as the basis for them. I also added a significant dose of reverb and some additional processing.

Boy Efforts - As the Boy runs, he starts to breathe heavily. His breathing efforts were completely recorded, designed, and implemented by me.

Ambiences - 90% original. There is a recording or two of wind blowing that I pulled from a sound FX library. The remaining ambiences were recorded by me.

Foley - 90% original. I field recorded most of the footsteps myself in the San Bernardino Mountains. I recorded various cloth and prop sounds in my home studio. I was missing some materials for the Boy's footsteps (like the wooden boat and the water), so I pulled those from libraries.

Additional FX -

Gore:  100% original. When the corpse gets chomped by the bear trap and the Boy is crushed by the boulder, I implemented bone breaking and squishing sounds. I had a lot of fun playing with fruit pulp and destroying bell peppers and celery for these sounds!

Bear Trap:  My bear trap shutting sound is a combination of a few library effects (one of an actual bear trap and a coyote trap).

The Flies:  The flies that congregate around the corpse hanging above the bear trap are library sounds. I really enjoyed figuring out how to implement my fly sounds so that they created a seamless "swarming" loop.

Boulder/Tree Falling Sequence:  100% library sound FX. This sequence relies heavily on sound design, so I spent a great deal of time trying to create punchy and well-implemented impacts.