Adaptive Music in FMOD Studio: Transition Timelines and Submixes
Checked with: Version 1.07.00 01/02/2016
In the final video in this series, we upgrade our piece by adding a new segment of music for when the player dies. We’ll show you how to create the Logic to transition in and out of this new segment, as well as creating Transition Timelines to smooth these musical transitions. We also cover creating submixes to ensure that our condition effects apply to the correct tracks. We use assets from Loopmasters, which can be found at the Loopmasters Page.
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(0:05) Hello and welcome to the fourth and final tutorial in a mini series introducing adaptive music in FMOD Studio. This video series is designed to get you up and running with logic operations and adaptive music in FMOD Studio. My name is Sally, and I am the sound designer at Firelight Technologies.
(0:21) In this tutorial, we are going to finish our adaptive piece in FMOD Studio, adding transitions in and out of a new musical theme. This will introduce FMOD Studio newcomers to adaptive music in FMOD Studio and help refresh pros on some of the FMOD features, including the functionality of transition timelines. We are going to add in an entirely new segment of music, and design a number of transitions in and out of this new segment. We are going to be introducing new audio tracks for this new theme, and we will create a submix, to bypass the lowpass effect we added in the last tutorial, so the effect only applies to our main theme.
(0:58) There is a lot to cover today, and I would love to show you where we finish off this tutorial, so let us get started with a demo.
(1:05) So here, listen to the two transitions that may occur for the death theme, in our game, the player may be offered a number of checkpoints to return to, this means that the music may either return to low intensity segment, if the intensity value is low, or the higher intensity segment too, if the intensity is high.
(1:40) Now, I have set these up with transition regions for now, but when we create these ourselves, we will be using transition markers, so that we can listen to more of the music before we have to transition out. Other features that we will be crafting today include a transition to the death theme when the health is at zero. So today we have got a lot to cover – so let’s get started.
(2:11) Because you are all such wonderful students, and I know you all have totally nailed the basics of creating tracks and dragging assets in from the Audio Bin, I have pre constructed my death theme so we can get straight into the fun stuff. Now, this just means that I have added in the appropriate tracks, and then also dropped in my regions in there, and you just need to arrange the new Tracks and Modules as per the layout below;
(2:51) Now, in our game, the player may be offered a number of checkpoints to return to, this means that the music may return to either a low intensity segment, or the high intensity segment, like we heard before. And hence we need to craft conditions to cater to both.
(3:05) We remember how to create a transition marker from the previous video, so let’s create one now to take us back to segment one, and one to segment two. It does not matter where you drop these, but I would recommend dropping it in between bar 17 and bar 33, just so that you have all of the tracks together to create transitions with. Now we will also need to create a loop region while we are here as well. This means that we can loop this particular theme of music if the player takes a long time to make a decision about which checkpoint to go to.
(3:41) Now the next step is to attach parameter conditions to these transition markers, so that the Playhead moves to the correct segment based on the intensity that is associated with that checkpoint selection. Again, we remember how to do this from the previous video, with the transition marker selected, what we do, is we hit the big plus down here in the deck area, and press add parameter condition of ‘Intensity’. Now because we have “to segment one” selected, this transition will happen between zero and 50, and we can leave the probability at 100 percent for this one. We will set up the same logic for the two segment two marker, but start this one at 50 and up to 100.
(5:02) Now let’s see how we can use transition timelines to make those transitions smooth and musical when it comes to leaving our death theme.
(5:11) The transition timeline will allow us to insert a musical transition piece within our transition marker, and its destination marker. You can set it up to be as long, or as short as you like and it can begin playing before the Playhead hits the transition marker, and also play over the destination once the Playhead has jumped.
(5:29) To open the transition timeline (and to add a transition timeline to a transition), all you need to do is double click the marker or region that you would like to add a transition timeline to. We can manipulate the duration of the transition timeline at anytime that we are working on them, including extending it longer or collapsing it shorter if we change our mind.
(5:49) So we will start by creating the to segment one transition, see, as we double click the transition marker, our green transition timeline opens up. So we will need to create a four bar transition, we will zoom right in with the Birdseye view. Just trim the Timeline down, positioning our cursor over the bar timeline and we will just drag that straight in.
(6:15) Make sure that your follow cursor option, up near the transport control here, is on, so that we can see the Playhead travel into this transition timeline when we play it.
(6:24) Now, as you will see, when we demo, the Playhead travels into the transition timeline, but we have nothing in here. So it has just inserted some blank time for us to design a transition with.
(6:37) Now, drag some audio from the source into the transition timeline. To do that, look for the cursor of the wall and the arrow pointing right. Just grab the end of the region, and drag it straight into the transition timeline.
(7:04) Now these regions can be as long or as short as we like, and we will drag in some new assets, and we can use destination material as well, so that is super exciting. And you could even add fades, by hovering your cursor over the top of the end of the region in the transition timeline. And again, with the diamond you can manipulate the steepness of the curve.
(7:36) We also want to drop in a stinger to our transition timeline here, so I will open my Audio Bin and I will grab my cinematic reverse stinger.
(7:58) One more thing that I want to do is drag in some audio from the destination region. To do this, we do exactly the same thing as when we dragged in the content from the Source, except we will be looking for the start of the Destination region and we will be dragging that in. As you can see, it drags in the start of the destination marker as well as content from the Destination. We can create fades on these regions.
(8:27) Now, for our transition to segment two, we will actually set it up to include the very same transition. You are welcome to go crazy and make something unique though, so I will leave you to make your own transition to segment two.
(8:39) Now, let’s practice our awesome new transition timeline creation skills, by creating the mechanism to enter the death theme.
(8:46) Now, because you could technically die at any time, we can create a transition region across all of segment one and segment two, to make sure that this transition can occur at any time. We also make sure that we attach logic that the health must be equal to zero, so this transition only occurs when we actually die. We are using a transition region, because there is more than one point in the level where you might actually die. Transition regions, you can think of like a collection of transition markers, where the quantisation interval is the resolution of the markers.
(9:15) Now what we will do is create a transition region the same way we create a transition marker. So right click in the logic track section, and scroll all the way to the bottom, where it says add transition region to, and then select “Death”. Now we want to make sure that this transition region covers the whole of segment one and segment two, because this is sort of our main game play music.
(9:38) And now we can attach the logic – so we remember how to do that, so we just select the transition region, hit your big plus, and go add parameter region of health, and we just want that to be zero to zero. Probability for this one stays at 100 percent. And our quantisation interval, we will just set that at two bars. And it gives us a line, like a ghost transition marker every two bars within these two segments.
(10:05) Now for this transition to the Death theme, we will make just a super simple transition here. We will add our stinger into a two bar transition timeline, and ensure that the assets all fade out nicely. So again, double click on your transition region, find the death drums track, and open up your Audio Bin to grab the cinematic reverse asset. Drop it in, and we only need a transition timeline of two bars.
(10:34) So trim this one down, then you can go a little bit crazy here and create a few nice fadeouts. So, I am going to grab my choir track, and fade that one out. I am going to grab the brass section track, and drag an empty region from the end of the track itself, it will play whatever material is playing at each one of these quantisation points. And you can just grab whatever tracks you like and just create little fades.
(11:33) Now when you audition, the first thing that you have probably noticed, was that the audio in my death theme is muffled, when we transition into our death theme, and also with the transition timeline material that was playing. This is because when we move into and play the music in the death theme, these tracks are being routed through a low pass filter on the master bus. By default, all audio tracks are routed into our master track, so we need a way to separate out these tracks in the death theme from the tracks in the main themes, so that the low pass does not muffle the death theme, even though the parameter value is zero.
(12:06) To do this, we create two submixes and re-route the death theme tracks to one submix and the main theme tracks to a main submix. Now, to do this, we right-click and add an audio track. For the death submix, just start routing each one of the death tracks to have the output of this new track, death submix.
(12:34) Now we will need to create a submix for the main theme tracks as well. So again, add a new audio track, and just start routing the other tracks through to this submix. So again, by changing the output to the submix track, then all we need to do is cut and paste the low pass filter from the master to the submix track.
(12:54) So just select the low pass effect in the deck area, right click on it, and select copy. And then in the submix, right click in the deck area and hit paste.
(13:10) Now this actually takes the automation with it, so as you can see in the health parameter, now what we have is the low pass automation in the submix track. But just make sure you go back to the master and delete that low pass filter.
(13:44) Now I really want to show you one last super cool trick to do with the transition timelines. I want to show you how to create automation within a transition timeline. To do this, we do it the same way as we created automation for our other tracks.
(13:57) So we’ll start by adding an effect that we want to automate. This time, we are going to create a Flanger Effect. Leave the depth as it is, leave the rate as it is, and we will actually automate this mix dial here. So just right click on the dial, and just select add automation.
(14:14) As you can see, this creates a track for the automation in our main edit window. Then all you need to do is just set up your automation, so just make sure that it is dry outside of the transition timeline, and then we want to turn the mix up while we are in the transition timeline.
(14:32) Now this is going to sound a little bit wacky, but you can do this sort of automation in a transition timeline and with any effect. You get the idea that you can actually create really complex changes to the sound of your music in a transition timeline setting.
(14:55) We have covered so much today, and there are so many things about adaptive music in FMOD Studio I would love to show you, but this is all we have time for in this tutorial. You can continue tweaking all of the transitions and effects that we have created today, and even experiment with converting the transitions out of the death theme to transition regions if you like. In this tutorial, we have covered heaps of cool features of FMOD Studio for creating adaptive music.
(15:20) Each tutorial was built on the previous, to develop layers of complexity in our piece. This approach can be used in your own work as well, to suit any brief that you may receive. These elements can be used in all different ways, to create a limitless number of adaptive music pieces in FMOD Studio. Join us in future tutorials for further updates, and remember to search us up on Facebook to share your fantastic adaptive music implementations created in FMOD Studio, with our FMOD help and hints group on Facebook.
From everyone on the FMOD team, thanks for joining us, and see you nee time.
Credits and Attribution
Assets in the videos are provided by Loopmasters. They are used for demonstration only, and are not available for distribution.