Waking up to Sound Design

Reflection May 3, 2023

Do you ever have moments where you 'wake up' to what you're doing, and begin to see things in a different light?

I have written up the circumstance which led to a light bulb moment and its outcome, but I am finding that describing the moment itself isn't quite so easy. It felt like a 3-D sidestep in a 2-D side-scroller. Like an L/R move in Mortal Kombat 4 (N64), except that something clicked into place, a door opened, and I saw my process with a suddenly different perspective.

The moment occurred a week or so ago during a quick 30min sound design sprint where I pulled a fireball video clip and, in a relaxed pace, grabbed audio from my library instead of recording and processing original source. The switch to rely on my library, as opposed to pushing for original recordings, had me feeling like I was taking a weight off of a warm-up baseball bat. And then, something dinged and I felt as if I were 'waking up' to Sound Design.

While I feel that this is only one of many light bulbs; following the Audio Gung Fu method, I am excited to continue the process of diving deeper and making connections.

The audio above is a sketch. The sound was designed to accompany a cantrip in the D&D sense - something which could be spammed by a player.

Within that sound exist all of these components which I can tweak to drastically alter the sound - Beefier impacts; more sizzle; a dash of some synth sci-fi.

Dear Reader, whenever you are, I am interested in hearing about your experience with similar phenomena. I think skill and knowledge acquisition is incredibly interesting and would enjoy reading about your light bulb and 3-D side stepping moments. Hope to see you out there. ✌️