As real as virtual can get.
Imagine 10 years ago trying to envision the way we use cellphones today. It’s impossible. That’s the promise VR has today. VR at its best shouldn’t replace real life, just modify it, giving us access to so much just out of reach physically, economically. If you can dream it, VR can make it. It’s a medium for progress, not the progress itself.
Old techniques. New methods.
While there is a lot that goes into delivering a high quality, immersive VR experience, audio is an element that is sometimes overlooked in regards to how essential it is in delivering that heightened sense of immersion.
When it comes to sound design for immersive experiences, it may come as a surprise, but realism is not necessarily the end goal. Keep this in mind at all times. As with lighting in computer environments, what is consistent and/or “correct” may not be aesthetically desirable. Audio teams must be careful not to back themselves into a corner by enforcing rigid notions of lifelike accuracy on a VR experience. This is especially true when considering issues such as dynamic range, attenuation curves, and direct time of arrival.
Most spatialization techniques model sound sources as infinitely small point sources; that is, sound is treated as if it were coming from a single point in space as opposed to a large area, or a pair of discrete speakers. As a result, sounds should be authored as monophonic (single channel) sources.
A great deal of content, such as music, is mixed in stereo. Since VR is using stereo headphones, it’s tempting to play stereo sounds without spatialization. The drawback is these stereo sounds will not be positioned in the virtual world and will not respond to head tracking. This makes the sounds appear “head locked”, as they follow the users head movements rather than feeling grounded in the virtual world. This can detract from the spatial audio experience and should generally be avoided when possible. For original compositions it’s best to mix to ambisonics which can be rotated and won’t be head-locked. If that is not an option then try to be mindful of how the music impacts the spatial audio.
For more traditional mediums, sound is positioned on the horizontal plane with 3D panning. So sound designers working on non-VR don’t need to concern themselves with the height of sounds, and can simply place sound emitters on the root node of the object. HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) spatialization provides much more accurate spatial cues, including height, and with this improved accuracy, it is especially noticeable if sound is emanating from the wrong part of a character. It is important to position the sound emitter at the correct location on a character (e.g. footsteps from the feet, voices from the mouth) to avoid weird phenomena like “crotch steps” or “foot voices”.
The Doppler effect is the apparent change of a sound’s pitch as the source approaches or recedes. VR experiences can emulate this by altering the playback based on the relative speed of a sound source and the listener, however, it is very easy to introduce artifacts inadvertently in the process.
Virtual Reality has come a long way and is a metaphysical transportation to an altered state. Born of technology, virtual reality at its core is an organic experience.
Quill opened a door to a new art form and is considered a game changer in the industry today. Already influencing the entertainment industry in a big way, changing the way we experience art forever.
Keyframe transform tools, making it easier to move complex objects with keyframes and automatic interpolation, rather than frame-by-frame animation.
Spatial audio tools give the possibility to define the position, direction, and area of sounds inside the creation. The sound volumes can also be animated along with everything else, allowing to pair moving objects with moving sound.
High quality audio files and ambisonic sounds can be imported. These sounds can be used as stereo or spatial audio sources. Quill supports sphere, cone and frustum-based spacial audio emitters for the optimum immersive experience.
Each company represented in this page including Quill, Unity, and Unreal Engine are not sponsors, nor do they hold any connection to and from Blake Sound. Companies and apps represented on this page maintain their respective copyrights.
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