In the second part of this tutorial, we will learn to design more cartoonish sound effects using procedural audio, including a laughing rabbit. Yes, you read that right: we will synthesize a laughing rabbit in GameSynth. Really, what more could you ask for? First, let’s check the final video once again.
Falling in the pit
Objects and characters falling down are the bread-and-butter of comical effects in cartoons. Sound-wise, they often rely on long descending sweeps followed by exaggerated impacts. For the falling boy, we opted for a whistle-like sweep sound.
- The main branch of the patch softens the sound of a Pulse Oscillator with a Lowpass EQ Filter.
- The second branch sends a Noise signal through a Bandpass and a Tube to simulate the air exhaled when whistling.
- The actual sweep is performed by modulating the pitch of the Oscillator, EQ Filters and a Frequency Shifter by an Envelope.
- Finally, Cabinet and Delay modules add some resonances to make the sound more organic.
The impacts are often over-the-top: explosions, punches or gunshots are often used. Classic percussion sounds can also be added for emphasis.
- Chirp and Blip modules are combined and send through a Chorus to create a powerful initial impact.
- They are then made even louder with an EQ (3 bands) enhancing the low and mid bands.
- Reverb and Spectral Delay modules add more tail to the sound. They also soften its high frequencies.
- The final Clipper adds some saturation while keeping the sound loud.
- To increase the comedic effect, a “Cymbal” patch was also created, which consists of a short Noise signal going through three Comb Filters creating the resonances.
After the impact, the rabbit, finding the whole situation hilarious, begins to laugh hysterically (we know you have been waiting for this part!). GameSynth comes with various modules to simulate character or animal reactions. In this case, we went with the most basic ones.
- First, a Glottis module followed by a Formant Filter produces the vocal timbre of this distinguished member of the Leporidae family.
- Then, a LFO (and its own modulators) shapes up the laughing sound. In short, by using Envelope, Mapper and Arithmetic modules, we ensure that the rhythm of the laughing increases while its pitch decreases.
After crashing down the pit, the boy is dizzy, at least until a falling plank hits him!
Plank and Impacts
- The plank sweep is produced by a Sine Bank with resonances brought by a Ring Modulator.
- The main impacts are generated by the “Punch” and “Cowbell” patches. For the plank hitting the bucket and the ground, Impact and Modes modules followed by filters are used to simulate the different materials.
- A wobbly patch uses the Modes surface input and the internal modulation of the module for comical effect.
To evocate dizziness, two patches were layered together:
- The first one is a simple Noise Bands module with narrow bands, which is then modulated by a LFO and sent through a Chorus.
- The second creates a quick chirping sound with the Animal module set to Bird mode and a Pitch Shifter to reach higher frequencies. A combination of LFO and Perlin Noise allows for the generation of the fast, random variations applied to the amplitude and the pitch.
Transition to black
The video ends with a 2-step iris out effect, a popular transition in cartoons.
- To accompany this effect, two detuned Horn modules are used, with their pitch decreasing to follow the movement.
- A Pitch Shifter amplifies the decreasing pitch.
- A final Flanger adds some modulations, making the sound less dry.
- Two variations of the sound were created – with different pitches and durations – to match the two steps of the iris out effect.
We should also mention that a couple of ambiences were added to make the video livelier. While relatively quiet, they add context to the scenes.
- The forest ambience relies on the “Autumnal Forest” patch from the GameSynth repository. The movements of the wind and the leaves are generated with Noise Bands and Leaves modules.
- Modulated Animal and Oscillator modules are used to simulate bird tweets and insect chirps. They are scattered by different Clock slightly randomize.
The cavernous ambience at the bottom of the pit is generated by a simpler patch.
- A Noise Bands module is sent through an EQ Filter configured as a lowpass, which is modulated by a Perlin Noise for some light variation over time.
- Two Reverbs with different Damping values produce a small stereo effect.
As always, you can download all the patches described in this tutorial below. While they the tutorial was primarily aimed at animation, this style of sound design is well suited for many fun and casual games!