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Creating sound for Games, Cartoons. Equipment, Software

Member for

21 years
I want to try to mess around with sound for cartoons and games. What I am really interested in creating. Sound Fx. So I understand that a lot of sounds can be recorded live, but what if you want some blaster sound etc... What Software do I need for that? What keyboard? I was thinking to begin with M-audio Oxygen or E-mu Xboard... Any suggestions? Thank you.


Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 03/27/2008 - 20:28
You sound like the right kind of person for this work.
But please be prepared for a really tough entry.
Zillions of people are vying for this work.
Myself included.
I have a sound library that is over a terabyte and guys that beat me out for jobs STILL seem to have stuff I don't.
I should think you would find success entering the field as a sound editor.
Call me a weirdo...but I get a vibe off of you...I think you can do it.

Member for

15 years 9 months

Kapt.Krunch Thu, 03/27/2008 - 06:26
Well, you could start with various syntheziser programs. And a small keyboard with AT LEAST pitch and mod wheels would come in handy, so you can do those things. If you are not going to be doing much music,a MIDI controller, like one of those small M-Audio Oxygens with 16 assignable knobs may come in handy.

Maybe some programs that let you insert homemade samples, and then manipulate. You'd be surprised at how many sounds you hear in movies, games and cartoons are originally other sounds just mangled beyond recognition.

A decent mic to record sounds.

Imagination to know what sound you are trying to achieve, and what synth sound to start with, or what to stomp, bang, blow up, twang, rub, roll, etc... knowing that you want to take that sound as a base to create another.

Consider the falling Wile E. Coyote. A sine wave starting on a high note and bent slowly down with a pitch wheel might give you that descending whistle sound.

A hollow wood block or two (you can always play with pitch a bit) may give you the "character just rose in the air with his feet moving fast before he gets traction and takes off like a rocket" thing, with a quick, short bent pitch and some filter doing the "schcheeew" take off thing.

Anyway, there are some free and shareware synth programs that you can use to start with. An audio editor is a must. One with a "Doppler" setting may come in handy for visual-oriented sound effects. A synth program that loads and manipulates and morphs samples would be really nice.

Just download some free ones to play around with. Even something as simple as "Stomper" can make some unusual things.

It would also help, if you aren't familiar, to read up on synthesizer concepts. May help to know what VCO, VCF, ADSR...etc. is, and how different waveforms (square, sine, sawtooth, etc.) will sound, and then experiment. It's pretty simple once the concept gets in your head.

ANYthing you can record can probably be manipulated beyond recognition to make useful sound effects.

Just some ideas, Hope it helped.


Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 03/27/2008 - 07:32
Wow! Thank you for such a Long and detailed Post!
Gear I have:
New MacBook Pro
Motu 8pre
Yamaha HS80M
15 different mics
Other gear: just different preamps, headphone amps etc

Software: Logic 8.0 Pro

Rooms: 2 Acoutically treated rooms(controll room and a booth)

So the only thing I really missing is a keyboard, and a soft synth I gues...

Member for

15 years 9 months

Kapt.Krunch Thu, 03/27/2008 - 08:24
Gertok wrote: Wow! Thank you for such a Long and detailed Post!
So the only thing I really missing is a keyboard, and a soft synth I gues...

Synths...plural. They can be standalone things, or plug-ins. And effects. You'll want reverbs, delays, phasers, flangers, EQs, compressors, distortions, and any of the other normal or off-the-wall things to mangulate that noise.

I know nothing about Logic or Macs, so you're at the mercy of those who do to recommend things that may be handy that you can use.

Good luck,


Member for

18 years 5 months

UncleBob58 Thu, 03/27/2008 - 10:36
There is a huge difference between doing SFX for games and working on animation.

With games you are limited by the amount of data space that the audio can occupy in the game program, and the sounds must be triggerable by the game program. For example, for character Z you need a set for footsteps different ground types - wood, concrete, etc. You will create a left and right foot for each surface that will be assigned to character Z. Then you create a set of body contact sounds, punches, etc. Then you would create vehicles sounds, weapons and the like. "Long" sounds are generally loops that can be manipulated by the game program in real time while the game is being played. A lot of game sound editors/programmers are using granular synth programs.

Animation and other narrative film/video sounds are long form and have to match the visuals.

You seem to have the gear, so now you focus on building your props collection - shoes, pieces of wood & metal, tools, cloth for clothing sounds, and a million other seemingly stupid things to create sounds. I love childrens music kits with blocks, bells, drums and other items. Then use lots of plug-ins to manipulate your raw sounds.

You should also have field recording kit so you can get out into the world to record interesting sounds - cars, crickets, construction machinery and so on.

The idea is to build a huge library of raw organic sounds.

Just for fun go to YouTube and check out the "Sound Design of King Kong" series and the one called "Vegetable Abuse". They will give you an idea of what you are getting into.

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 03/27/2008 - 12:04
Thank you!

I do have a Field Recorder - Boss Micro BR, combined with electret microphone or binaural mics it gives very good results.
Do you think 25 keys will be enough to start with? I do not play piano, but my wife does and she plays it really good. So I am thinking of buying her a good workstation later this year. But I just don't have enough space to fit more than 25 keys organically on my table.

The reason I want to do SFX: I like non standard approaches of getting them, how frozen lettuce put to the right footage make you think someones neck really got broken etc.