Multi-track Sound Design for UE4
Checked with: Version 4.6 04/01/2016
In this video we’ll create a complex multitrack twister sound. We’ll also touch on surround panner automation and snapshots.
Download FMOD Studio for UE4 and the tutorial assets from the Downloads Page
Hello and welcome to the FMOD Studio and Unreal Engine 4 video tutorial series.
(0:10) In this tutorial, we will keep working on the Twister sound – we are going to add more tracks to this sound, an auto distance parameter so we can design manual attenuation through, and trigger a ducking Snapshot in our Twister sound event.
(0:29) What we have constructed so far is the Ambience, and the single track Twister sound here ready to continue developing. We have implemented the sounds, the ambience and the twister into Unreal – we can just focus on Studio and getting our twister sounding really, really cool.
(1:01) Now, what we’re going to cover today is how to add detail to our Twister Actor’s sound by adding a distance parameter and manipulating the 3D panner, adding some surround pan automation and the snapshot as well. So we are going to look at the 3D panner in a lot of detail today, and we are also going to look at the 3D previewer and we are going to go through what these things do.
(1:29) Start by opening the Twister sound and adding extra audio tracks – ‘medium wind’, another, ‘low wind’. Create a third track and name it ‘submix’. Add a fourth track, for the snapshot too. Just name it ‘snapshot’.
(1:57) We do this because we are going to do our 3D panning automation effects in a submix, before we actually reach the final 3D panner stage in the master.
(2:15) Open the Audio Bin to find our assets, so we will just drag the ‘low wind’ into the low track, the ‘medium wind’ into the medium track, and then we will just drag these out so that they cover the full loop period that we got set from the ‘high wind’ asset.
(2:42) Click on each of these Regions, and in the Effect Deck we will just make them looping sounds so that they loop for the duration of the event.
(3:12) Since we have a long distance range that we can hear the Twister over, and also the three different pitches of wind that we have across the low, medium and high assets, we can can create a layered effect over distance. Click on the plus above the timeline to add a Distance parameter – add the “Built in Parameter” distance.
(3:32) Then, set the range between 0 and 300. That effectively sets the minimum and maximum distance, and is shown by the parameter ruler.
(3:39) We are going to use this Distance Parameter to sculpt different distance attenuation curves to allow the twister to have a different sound depending on how close you are to it. The first step to this is to open the Master Track and just switch the “built in” distance attenuation off by deleting the 3D Panner.
(4:12) To get ready to make our automation, adjust the height of the Tracks to fit them all on screen. We are going to add in some volume automation on each of the tracks.
(4:27) To create volume automation, right click on any of the volume dials that are available (on either the Track Header or in the Deck Area) on each of the tracks. Right click and select “Add Automation”, then use the automation lane to click and create anchor points. Then, you can create your own distance attenuation curves by layering each of these tracks.
(6:03) Remember to keep auditioning the automation you create – hit play and then tweak the Distance parameter dial to hear what the sound sounds like across the range of distance.
(6:23) If you tweak the Distance parameter, you can see that the 3D previewer over on this right hand side is changing as we manipulate the parameter. So, when we are at zero meters away from the source, you can see that the listener is placed right in the middle of the circle of the previewer. The further away we get, the further towards the edge or the horizon of this circle, the listener gets. There is also this grey circle around the outside, now this grey circle is your envelopment preview and shows the width the sound will sound like.
(7:29) To give the enveloping nature of the Twister a boost, we can bump up the low end of the sound with a 3 EQ effect to this medium wind. To do this, select the Medium Wind track and in the Deck area, press the big Plus and add the Parametric EQ effect.
(7:32) For the settings – the range we’re interested in boosting is about 70Hz, then pick a volume boost of about 3dB and a bandwidth that appeals to your ears. We’ve chosen a bandwidth of about 4 units.
(7:54) Hide the volume automation so that we can continue working on the Submix and the Snapshot. To set up our submix, change the output of each of these tracks to the submix track right here by right clicking on each Track Header.
(8:18) Now this is actually routing the output of each track to the submix track, so that we can make changes to all the tracks together before outputting the sound to the Master track of the Event.
(8:47) We’re going to create panning automation on the submix so that we can move the sound from left to right as we are listening to the twister in the game – to imply movement with our currently static twister. The first step to this is to change the output of the Master Track to surround, so that we have access to our surround panner.
(8:53) On the Submix track, right click on this and where it says ‘surround direction’, we will hit ‘add automation’.
(9:00) Now, you can automate this over the timeline just like with the volume automation previously. The Y axis in this automation lane will be 180 degrees either side of the listener. You do not need to have the twister sound moving across the whole 180 range either side, so picking a value of around 60/70 and having a few movements from side to side within the loop is adequate. The automation also needs to start and stop at the same value.
(9:27) The next step is to design the surround Extent of our Twister sound. The Extent is related to the width and envelopment of the sound itself, but in this circumstance, we using the Extent to limit the tracks in the Twister sound to only being sent out of the output of certain speakers. So we can have a very wide extent here, instead of a very point source extent, and this means we will get more of this washing feeling that we are aiming for by virtue of making the sound “larger”.
(10:02) So when we hit play, we can watch the automation represented in the 3D panning preview in the Submix tab of the Effect Deck. You can see it just gently sweeping from side to side.
(10:39) The last step in completing our Twister is to design our snapshot. So, our snapshot will be ducking our character sounds, so that you will hear sounds being overpowered by the Twister. We are able to create a Snapshot from right within our Event. Right-click in the Snapshot track, and add a snapshot and select the “new overriding snapshot” option.
(11:17) Name this one “Twister Mix”. And then we will pull it all the way out to be the same duration as the loop region, then double click on the Snapshot to open it in the Mixer window for editing.
(11:28) The first step in creating our ducking “Twister Mix” is to set up our Mixer Groups. Create a Character group so we can apply the ducking to that. And create an Environment group, and we can assign the Twister and Ambience sounds to this group.
(11:58) Switch to the Snapshots view (by pressing the tab on the left hand side), where you can see your Twister Ducking snapshot in the list.
(12:00) We’ll scope in the character group by clicking on the fader, and pull the volume down so you get a bit of ducking on the sounds we will put in that group (-30dB) when we create them in the next video. That is all we need to do for the snapshot, so we will just save and build so we can listen to our new sound in Unreal.
(12:58) Alright, so in our last tutorial, we have attached the Twister sound in our Twister blueprint, so we can hit play to hear.
(13:35) So, we can immediately hear the sound is different, but we can test the distance attenuation by running towards and away from the twister. And then we can hear that the Twister sound fades away to the Ambience sound outside of the 300 meter radius.
(14:38) Let’s jump back in to Studio to apply some intensity automation to the Twister Mix Snapshot. The first step to this is to head back to the Snapshot view of the Mixer Window, and look in the Deck area for the Intensity dial, and right click this dial and select “Expose as Parameter”. This will make the Intensity parameter of the snapshot available for us to automate in the Event.
(14:44) Back in the Event Editor Window, open up the Twister event, select the Snapshot Module. In the deck area, the Intensity parameter should be visible (if the Snapshot Module was selected). Right click and Create Automation to create the automation lane for you to design the curve.
From here, head to the Distance Parameter tab and sculpt the automation curve to suit – perhaps we would only want the ducking to come in to effect (aka, from 0 to 100%) from 30 units, to be at 100% by 10 units or so.
(15:37) We will just save and build, and it’s advisable to test the ducking of the character sounds after completing the next tutorial.
(16:46) So that is everything we are going to do with our twister in this video, o stay tuned for our next video, the fourth video in the series we are going to look at character sounds, and attaching sounds to animation in Unreal.
And we look forward to seeing you then, see you!
Credits and Attribution
Assets in the asset pack are provided by the Sound Librarian, Soundwave Concepts, Mixamo, Epic Games and Sally Kellaway by herself at Firelight Technologies. Please refer to the Read Me document for further information on licensing, attribution and commercial distribution.