One last thing….

December 14, 2009

It was something I forgot to mention in previous posts and although not directly related to my subject question it is something that inspired me this semester and I feel it deserves a mention!

It is Disney Pixars most recent release “Up”.  I had read up on this one quite a lot before it’s release in October and was very excited as I had been a very big fan of previous Pixar releases, which I’m sure you will have picked up from previous posts.

The film itself looked and sounded amazing and is defiantly up there with their best releases to date!  Having watched it at the cinema it was a big push in the right direction for me and made me want to kick off the project as soon as I got home but unfortunately I had to wait.

It is this excitment that continues to make me want to work in this industry and why I hope to make this my career in the very near future.


A look to the future!

December 13, 2009

So I feel this may be my last blog update before the hand in as I feel it has got to the point where I am happy with the research side of things and I would either be repeating what I have said in one way or another.  I will however update if I have something productive to say or find out something new in the subject area.

So as the title suggests this update will be more towards my plans for next years work, where I am at the moment and where I want to be come May 2010.

At the moment I have started the recording process for the basic environmental sounds that can be modified if the timing doesn’t match etc but it is an exciting time and after all the reasearch it is refreshing to get back into the practical side! As mentioned a few weeks ago I had started writing the music for the intro which I have since scrapped.  I need to spend a bit more time listening to music which will be more fitting to the time and place (still no mandolin 😦 )

As mentioned previously most of the practical work can be done when the animation is up to date but I understand this can be a lengthy process so I plan to be prepared and have my content list ready for when each sound is required.

Here is a list of my own goals for next year and anything I need to acquire to do this:

  • Write an amazing dissertation on how Metaphoric sound can be used in an animation to enhance a viewers experience – Continue reading on subject and contact people of the industry to try to gain as much information as possible.
  • Make intro/outro music – Continue to listen to music of that time, create several tracks and choose the one that is most suitable.  Also buy a mandolin.
  • Create sound library based on the technique of Metaphoric sound – Continue research in area to make sure I can create these sounds and incorporate them into the animation without over using them which may result in a poor sound library.
  • Mix/Master all the recorded voice acting – This will be done to match the animation and can be completed as and when the specific scenes in the animation are ready.
  • Create final mix when the animation comes together and make it my best work to date!

All very realistic goals :p

I understand that I will only get out of the course what I put into it, so although it has been stressful so far and certain lectures have felt irrelevant to me I have learned a lot this first semester and plan to continue this throughout the course.  If I do this and make this project successfully I honestly feel it will give me a positive start and high moral when I come out of the course and try to get myself into this industry!

Method of research.

November 26, 2009

OK so I’ve been mentioning this one in the last few updates as I wanted to make sure to take time on this one, its not the easiest thing to write about without being to specific and I don’t want it to seem irrelevant so here goes.

To begin with I like to watch animations as inspiration, such as those mentioned in previous updates, one of the more recent animations that find myself going back to is Disney Pixar’s Wall-E.  This is a perfect example of why sound in important in animation and sound designer Ben Burtt managed to portray emotion through a robot through out the whole film but more importantly with one word alone, “Eva”.

Watching animations like this makes me confidant that what I am doing is just as relevant to everyone now as it has been throughout the years.  It makes me want to continue with my ambition of someday working with one of these major animation studios and everyone hearing my sounds.

To use Wall-E and and Ben Burtt as a starting point I firstly watched a special featurette titled “Animation Sound Design: Building Worlds from the Sound Up” which appeared on the DVD extras.  It shows the creative process and tools used when creating sounds for the film which was interesting to learn the time spent on certain areas and to get an insite into one of the great sound designers thought process.

I was then set on creating sound for an animation so I began initial research in books and websites for more information, at this stage i found more useful information on the sound design for Wall-E which can be found at :

It was a frustrating process leading to a final topic question, not because I didn’t know what I wanted to do but because I did know what I wanted to do, I just wasn’t sure how to describe the process or technique.  After the initial reading I found what I was looking for so have since then tried to focus on that particular subject area trying to find out as much as possible.

With the more practical side of the project in mind I have already begun with initial sound ideas for the animation and as it is a joint effort between myself and my flatmate it is easy to bounce ideas off of each other and give each other feedback on our work as we create it.  At this moment in time I have been working along to a basic Animatic and the storyboard so most of the work done to this stage has been to create a content list of the sounds required and any music or specific environment sound that may be complex.

We have already recorded the narration required for the animation and will be working on mixing it in with the animation over the coming months.  As well as this I have been working on writing music for the intro sequence of the animation which will require acoustic guitar and a mandolin (which I have yet to acquire).

This will continue to develop as with the animation, we plan on working scene by scene which may not be the best creatively but will be the most consistant and productive with the time available.  The final animation will be roughly 3 minutes long and will be ready for the hand in come May 2010 so although we have alot of work ahead, it is very possible to have a finished piece to a high standard which will demonstrate what has been learned throughout the year and could even be used as portefollio material.


November 23, 2009

So, as mentioned in my last update I have had sinking suspicion that I was letting a lot of relevant information slip by due to the terminology I had been using.  Well I was right, the term “Metaphoric Sound” can also be referred to as “Non-Literal Sound” and typically this has lots more information written about it than metaphoric sound does, primarily in film but I will take what I can get!

Not only has this helped when it comes to further reading and referencing but I have also found some discussion about it online, not quite a forum but a question and answer discussion non the less.

On this link I managed to find my next steps for reading/viewing to find as many popular examples as possible, it has also made me aware of different sound designers in this area who I may to contact for more information 🙂

I’m currently in the process of making my update on my methods of research so will have that up in the next few days.

Work in progress!

November 15, 2009

So after this stressful week I have reached a point where I am happy with what I will be submitting and where my project is going, it might have been better if I was at this stage before last week but you can’t win ’em all.

So after discussing my project in my Crit session a few hurdles were brought to my attention such as the research question and how I plan on evaluating the outcome? Also whether or not I want the project to be processed based or if it is going to be on the viewers experince? At this moment in time it will be the latter as I feel I will get the most out of the project by doing it this way so this experince has definatly brought up some questions I will need to ask myself over the next month or 2 before the finally project proposal is to be handed in come January!

Over the next week or 2 I will be reading, reading, reading to find out as much as I can, I have a feeling that “Metaphoric Sound” can be described in other ways so google is going to be my best friend through trying to find other termanologies.

I will try and make my next update about my methods of research, where and how I find out the information.

Crit and Proposal

November 9, 2009

So i have my project proposal and Crit session coming up this week and I am getting a little stressed to say the least!  I am struggling to find enough information on animation alone so i have been widening the research area to film as well, which has helped but it will mean after my proposal i am going to refine my work again. All in the name of progress i guess.

It is all beginning to feel very real and I’ve been working away with my proposal on the use of metaphoric sound in animation, I don’t know my final question just yet but  I think it will be on the impact metaphoric sound has on the viewers experince or how it can help with character development.

I plan to disucuss this in my crit session but it doesnt look like it will be finalised before I hand in my proposal so it might need to wait!

Metaphoric Sound and Practical Project

November 8, 2009

So I think I am finally making progress with my question for my honours project, it’s something that has been bugging me since we received the course brief has to cater for everyone.  I knew I wanted to do sound for animation, for the reasons mentioned in my last post, but i couldn’t find a topic that would be both informative and relevant to the subject without just reiterating someone elses work.

Metaphoric sound is something that has been used in film, tv and animation for years and it is a really successful way of incorporating an irrelevant sound to an animation.  To give an example, you are watching a video of a stormy sea, you sea waves crashing off of rocks and the sound you hear is crashing cymbals  or the sound of bowling pins being knocked over

I have been reading up on animation sound and there seems to be very little written on the use of Metaphoric Sound in animation, which could be both good because i have found a subject to work on but also bad because it is going to be difficult to find other peoples work to strengthen my own arguments.

I plan on keeping my head in the books and will hopefully find out more solid information.

My practical project is creating the sound for an animation my flatmate is currently creating for his own Honours year project.  It will tell the story of a mafia boss, how he made his life in America and his choices of disposing of erm….trash.  Oh and did I mention he’s a cat? It will be based in 1930 New York with a cat mafia which I’m sure you will agree is something interesting and exciting!


November 1, 2009

As many others, I have enjoyed animation from a very young age and still find it amazing that even when going back and viewing the same animation years later it still feels very relevant and the quality of the work becomes more apparent. This is something that continues to inspire me as a creative sound designer and as technology and methods of sound development continue to improve it leaves a bright look to the future of the industry.

Now, with the importance of sound in animation being recognized for what it’s worth, the quality of sound FX towards character and environment development needs to be better than ever. This is where I intend on taking what I have learned last year, while studying for my degree, and focusing more on this particular subject area to show that metaphoric sound can be used to help influence a viewer’s perception of characters and environments.

I think it is safe to say that my interest in music (which I also studied for 3 years prior to my current studies in creative sound production) developed from an early introduction to cartoons by walt disney and also Tom and Jerry, where almost all sound is created through instruments rather than sound FX. This proved to be very important for me creativly as i would always find myself making a noise in the kitchen with pots and pans (to my parents displeasure) trying to recreate the one of my favorite scenes. Unfortunately I can’t find said scene on you tube so i will just include another one, any excuse to watch Tom and Jerry when i should be doing work is a good one!

One of my first memory’s of animated movies is from Walt Disney’s Fantasia, primarily the following scene:

This scene in particular is something I feel had a large impact on me musically, not only because the sound created to represent the characters movement and actions were all instruments but the way it was composed makes me feel like that is the way it should have sounded had it been actually foley sound FX.

I hope to create my own sounds with a similar mentallity, however I will be using sound effects rather than music.

Early research

October 28, 2009

Hey, just putting a quick update of notes up on my research for sound for animation which will be my main area of interest during my honours year of Creative Sound Production.

Some of my research into the creation of sound in animation involved watching DVD’s and making of sound in current Disney Pixar and Sony animations such as:

Wall-E, Toy Story 1 & 2, Pixar Shorts vol. 1, Monsters Inc

I also looked into the current techniques used for recording voice actors in the following:

Surfs up, Open Season, Corpse Bride

To show an example of the type of videos i have been sighting, here are 2 videos of a professional process when creating certain sounds for the Disney Pixar animation A bug’s life:

As well as this I have been reading different journals and books on sound design in animation, although I have not settled on a final question just yet, I have recently started looking further into Metaphoric sound in animation.  This is something i plan on looking into in the coming weeks and will be discussed in the next update.

Hello world!

October 26, 2009

Hello internet,

This is going to the dumping ground for all of my research through my honours project and will hopefully show my early creative process in how I carry out my research and why I am choosing animation as my subject area.

Hope you enjoy and I will do my best to update as much as possible but it will most likely happen when I stumble across something really cool or if I feel particularly motivated!