Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

30 July 2010

Sounds unreal

BAD NEWS FOR foley artists in this New Scientist article on advances in computer synthesis of real-world sounds.

For a few years now, even mid-priced animation packages have come bundled with physics modules to simulate collisions, fluid dynamics, wobbling jelly-like objects and rag-doll kinematics. But, according to the article, the sounds that would result from them can now be rendered as well:

Two teams of US-based computer modellers will unveil acoustically enabled animation software that can compute sound effects by harnessing the same physics used to render the animations. Automating the generation of sound effects should make it cheaper to produce video games, ads and movies.

Here’s an accompaying video:

It’s hard to imagine a whole street full of sounds being conjured up by software alone. Then again, compare the state of computer animation in a 1992 film like The Lawnmower Man with the CGI sequences routinely churned out today. (Thanks to Nick Hamilton of Lost Steps for the heads-up.)