Are you interested in sound design? What about sound design Sony Playstation? Senior Sound Designer Marc Farly is coming to Cogswell College to share his experiences and background, then open the floor to give students a chance to have their real world questions answered. Don’t miss it!
Posts Tagged ‘Digital Audio degree’
While working on the films created in the Project X class, I learned that it takes a very dedicated team to make a short film in four semesters or less. Many of the students on this team are attending classes full-time in addition to contributing their talents towards making an awesome film.
Here’s an overview of what happens during the production process of a short animated film: First the script and storyboards are completed and approved, within the first semester. Meanwhile, the concept team begins creating concepts for characters and environments. Approved concepts are sent into the modeling pipeline as soon as they are approved where our artists create 3d models. As each model is approved by the Director, they are sent into the texturing and rigging pipeline. Technical artists create animation rigs for each model and prepare them for animation testing. Animation is a long process so it is important to get the rigged 3D models to the animators as soon as possible. Animation takes almost a year to get all of the shots approved. After the animation is polished, the first test of the film timing is created, approved, and sent off to the sound effects and music score team. Also during the process of animation, approved shots are sent to the lighting team for light set and test render. When the finalized lit shots are rendered out, they are sent to the compositing team for the final clean up. After the composite shots are cleaned up and finalized, they are sent off to the film editor who creates the final cut of the film and music score.
On the latest film ‘Driven’, each member of the team wore different hats depending on which stage of the production pipeline the film was in. For instance, initially I started out in the concept design pipeline, then moved to the animation pipeline and finally to matte painting for the final stage of the film.
One of my jobs as a concept designer was to collect the approved designs from the other artists and finalize them. Because most approved designs are from different artists, each with their own distinct style, the finalization process ensures a consistent look and feel. After finalizing the look and stylization of the characters, I would render each character in 2D using Adobe Photoshop so that it would represent its 3d counterpart. This allows the Director to easily visualize how each character will look before it gets passed along to the modeling team.
Digital media is the fastest way to work and Photoshop offers the perfect tools and work flow for this demanding field. With infinite tool presets, custom brushes, and limitless iterations, it allows me to work more quickly and easily compared to traditional mediums like paint or ink.
To block out the initial character’s silhouette, I like to use a standard round brush, which I adjust into an ellipse shape, then angle it 45 degrees. This style of brush setup creates a line weight that flows much more nicely than the standard round brushes. Once the silhouettes and internal shapes look good, I create a new layer in Photoshop and start to block out the forms with one color value. At this early stage, I prefer to work in black and white. It makes it easier to focus just on values and form rather than getting caught up about the colors. My preference in digital painting is to work from dark to light values, or shadows to highlights. It has been my experience to get results much faster using this method than trying to paint from light to dark. I push and pull (lighten and darken) the values until the character forms are clear. During this process, I maintain a wide range of values to create depth and realism.
Once the characters have been sketched out, it’s time to experiment with color palettes. I like give a slight color tint to the values before painting on top of the black and white image. The tint layer acts as a color wash so none of the black and gray value show through later. I create a new layer and set the Layer Mode to “Color”. I start by painting over the character with the color palette that the team agrees on. By using multiple layers, I don’t lose my original black and white image – and I can test out different color schemes. Once I’ve added general color blocks to the characters, I use a new layer to start painting in details. For the final detail stage, I use textures and custom brushes to polish the look of the characters.
The development stages from concept to finished product vary from character to character; it all depends on what the Director is looking for. For example, secondary characters may be approved before main characters. Main characters are often challenging as they have to be visually pleasing and have the right visual attitude. On the other hand secondary characters have far less restrictions, allowing flexibility for designers to explore their creativity.
The concept team spent almost an entire semester designing characters. After four months and multiple iterations, all nine characters were finally approved. Once approved, I took the concepts and started finalizing each character’s look. It took me roughly four or five hours to render out the first pass of each character to show the Director. One character in particular – the adult Biff cop – took almost ten hours to design. After multiple small changes, the final designs were approved.
One of the most surprising and challenging characters to design was the Jet Bike that the main character rides. Its importance in the film is equal to the character that rides it. Although there were many great concept designs shown to the Director, none of them were approved. That’s when I was given the tough task of designing the bike. After fifty designs, we started to narrow down the concept. Once the main silhouette was chosen, I mixed elements from the best three designs together to get the final jet bike concept. The process for this single ‘character’ took three or four weeks, from start to finish, working with traditional mediums like graphite and paper.
This is just the front-end of the production pipeline for a short animated film. It takes a strong team and lots of man hours to complete the film. In the end many people had come and gone, and lots of talented people contributed to the film. We were all so glad that the film was finally finished. It took the PX team about four semesters and two summers of hard work to accomplish the short film, Driven. The Project X class has given me the best hands-on experience possible. It has definitely changed my future and life for the better. Thanks Project X!
Unlike my previous projects, today I am going to talk about a future project I am somewhat excited of doing. This project is for my Desktop Audio Production course, in which we are given a scene from a public domain movie and we are to score the soundtrack, and put together the sound effects to the picture. The movie is a Sci-Fi title and we are to score the music as if the movie was a serious fil not something that was “cheesy.” This might be a challenge as a lot of public domain movies are edited very abruptly, so creating something that flows with the picture can definitely be a challenge.
For the project we are to put together the project and delivering it in a Logic session. As of right now I have some ideas as how to approach the musical composition, but as for the sound effects, I’m thinking I should try to design some sounds of my own, or use some sounds that are in the Cogswell sound library. I will probably end up using some of the samples from the library, and trying to make a few sounds of my own. Sound design is one of the elements of the Digital Audio Technology program where students can really be original. I am looking forward to having some fun with this project!
As I was leaving the Cogswell campus yesterday, I heard a grandiose finish consisting of guitars, drums, and something that could have either been a harp or piano. The sound travelled faintly through the hallways and a a bit of it made its way into the Cogwell admissions office, the Ina A. Cokeley Campus Service. The curiosity got the best of me and two other Cogswell inhabitants and we followed the sound to the first place we all had assumed to be the source of the audio explosion. We headed through the halls and heard the sound getting louder and clearer. Nearing the control room, a few other curious ears were making their way in the same direction me and my band was heading. We all converged outside of the glass, looking into the tracking room to find a Cogswell Digital Audio student, hands on the faders and knobs of the mixer.
Here’s a look at what we found:
Toys In the Attic principal Larry the O is now an adjunct faculty member in the B.S. Digital Audio Technology program at Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale, Calif. Located in the beating heart of Silicon Valley, Cogswell has provided technical and engineering education in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1887, and began offering degrees in digital media production early in the game. In his first term, the O will be teaching Studio Recording 1, a required course in the Digital Audio Production track of the DAT program. The DAT Program, under the direction of Dr. Tim Duncan, gives students a thorough conceptual and theoretical grounding, in an environment that emphasizes real-world production situations.
Toys In the Attic is a unique company providing a variety of creative and production services in the areas of music and professional audio. The company consists of two divisions which provide services in two basic categories:
Production creates and/or shapes sound content. Services include: Music Composition, Sound Design, Music Production and Dialog Production.
Communications provides the highest quality writing and editing services, specializing in the presentation of audio or music technology.
-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement
Who creates the sounds you hear in a game? Who builds the programs that drive the way players and sound interact in games? Why not you?
If this is your dream, then check out the Cogswell College’s new Game Audio major. Cogswell Polytechnical College will begin accepting students in the new educational opportunity in the Fall 2010. The program has two tracks, Game Audio Production and Game Audio Programming.
The Production track lets students create audio assets that play within a game, for example the music, sound effects or dialog, add another level of sensory experience to the game play.
The Programming track is for students who wish to setup how audio assets will interact with the player in response to game play. Sounds can trigger actions the player must take or avoid or influence the player’s behavior during the game.
All Game Audio students have the opportunity to work on multi-disciplinary teams in instructor-led projects to gain direct experience in applying game audio skills. These two tracks complement the existing Audio Production and Audio Engineering tracks of the Digital Audio Technology degree program.
For more information please contact Tim Duncan, Director of Digital Audio Technology at Cogswell Polytechnical College, at email@example.com.
-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement
Dr. Timothy Duncan is an award-winning composer, performer and educator who is equally at home working with technology and with traditional media. He has composed and performed a body of new music compositions as well as created visual pieces and music for modern dance that have brought him recognition in the form of awards and grants from the Southeast Interdisciplinary Fund, Meet the Composer, Inc., the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, and the Mississippi Arts Commission (among others), as well as guest composer residencies in places such as the Meadows School of Music at SMU, the Conservatory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of Memphis. Dr. Duncan was music director for 14 regional and university theatrical productions, which earned him a citation (as composer) in the Shakespeare Music Catalogue.
Dr. Duncan has been a member of the faculty of Cogswell Polytechnical College for over a decade. In addition to full-time teaching he was Dean of the College from 2005-2008. Dr. Duncan founded the Digital Audio Technology program, where he teaches many of its courses. He has synthesized his broad understanding of the music profession and the music industry to create an innovative audio program that targets both the manufacturing and the music production sides of the audio industry.
Dr. Duncan completed degrees at the Universities of Tennessee, Memphis and Cincinnati, as well as pursuing additional study at Brooklyn College, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. In addition to teaching, he has worked for Leapfrog Enterprises and the Asonda Corporation. He is a member of the College Music Society, the International Computer Music Association and the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group. Dr. Duncan’s areas of specialization include sound synthesis, music composition and computer programming.
Learn more about Cogswell’s Digital Audio degree program.
-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement
Dr. Tim Duncan
Dr. Timothy Duncan has been a member of the faculty of Cogswell Polytechnical College for over a decade. In addition to full-time teaching he was Dean of the College from 2005-2008. Dr. Duncan founded the Digital Audio Technology program, where he teaches many of its courses. He has synthesized his broad understanding of the music profession and the music industry to create an innovative audio program that targets both the manufacturing and the music production sides of the audio industry.
Dr. Duncan is an award-winning composer, performer and educator who is equally at home working with technology and with traditional media. He has composed and performed a body of new music compositions as well as created visual pieces and music for modern dance that have brought him recognition in the form of awards and grants from the Southeast Interdisciplinary Fund, Meet the Composer, Inc., the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, and the Mississippi Arts Commission (among others), as well as guest composer residencies in places such as the Meadows School of Music at SMU, the Conservatory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of Memphis. Dr. Duncan was music director for 14 regional and university theatrical productions, which earned him a citation (as composer) in the Shakespeare Music Catalogue.
Dr. Duncan completed degrees at the Universities of Tennessee, Memphis and Cincinnati, as well as pursuing additional study at Brooklyn College, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. He is a member of the College Music Society, the International Computer Music Association and the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group. Dr. Duncan’s areas of specialization include sound synthesis, music composition and computer programming.
What classes do you currently teach?
This term I am teaching Sound Synthesis, World Music, Music Theory and DAT Portfolio classes. In general I teach a wide range of classes within the Digital Audio Technology (DAT) program.
Do you have a favorite class to teach? If so, why?
Usually it is whatever course I am teaching at the moment.
Have you worked for non-academic companies in the past? Which ones? How did that experience make you a better teacher?
I worked for Leapfrog, which manufactures educational “appliances”. I worked on the audio side of thir production.