by Matt Yocum
Explore the process of sound designing magic and fantasy elements.
Sound artist Matt Yocum (Pet Sematary, The Cloverfield Paradox) joins us for another exclusive sound design tutorial – this time designing a fantastical and energetic magic spell from scratch with sounds exclusively from the CORE 4 Standard Library Bundle.
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Fantasy Sound Design:
In this detailed video tutorial, Matt walks us through his sound design template in Pro Tools and outlines each component to design. Watch as he talks us through his process for searching for sound effects, and as he explains his processing choices.
Follow along as Matt breaks down each component of the sound design and and his processing workflow:
- 00:00:00 – Intro
- 00:01:06 – Fire whoosh element
- 00:21:33 – Fire impact element
- 00:41:01 – Fire full spell edit
- 00:41:48 – Fire spell adjustments
- 00:44:47 – Water impact
- 00:57:34 – Outro
Tips to Keep in Mind:
- With fantasy sound design, don't feel like you need to stick with realism – adding abstract elements like animal sounds can add texture and impact to your designs.
- Adding a longer sustain to the low frequencies of your impact sounds will help it feel bigger and more powerful.
- Don't obsess over specific plugins or processing tools – the best designers all use different sets of tools.
- Sounds with more tonal qualities tend to cut through a mix more than sounds with more noise content.
- Try stacking your tracks by frequency (higher frequency elements on top, lower on the bottom) and grouping each component of the sound together (transient, tail, etc).
- Create variation in your designs by interchanging which files/parts of the clips are layered together – this keeps everything sounding homogenous and cohesive since they're pulling from the same source material.
- Pro Tools shortcuts:
- Ctrl + Cmd + T: Expands a file on both sides (until it hits another clip on the track)
- Ctrl + Cmd + Y: Expands a file at the tail (until it hits another clip on the track)
- Ctrl + Cmd + R: Expands a file at the head (until it hits another clip on the track)
- Shift + Play: Playback at half-speed, but record automations in real time (so you have time to react)
Using great sound effects and having a deep understanding of them as tools in your toolbox will help your creativity tremendously. Designing for fantasy and magic elements lends itself to a lot of abstract choices and opportunities to use unexpected sounds, so remember to have fun with the process!
Matt Yocum is a freelance sound designer based out of Los Angeles.
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