3Dception For FMOD

After much demand, we are pleased to announce that 3Dception is now available directly in FMOD Studio across all our supported platforms and game engines — including Unity and Unreal Engine. We have worked closely with the FMOD team to ensure that all of 3Dception’s functionality is seamlessly integrated within FMOD’s UI and workflow. Download FMOD Studio 1.07 to get started!

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Replace FMOD’s 3D panner with 3Dception to enable full binaural spatialisation and room modelling. If you are deploying your game, get in touch with us to get access to the runtime component.

Our aim with 3Dception has always been to make great 3D audio and environmental modelling technology available everywhere. Keep a ear for some major announcements in the next few weeks!

Björk – Stonemilker VR

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This weekend will see the preview launch of Stonemilker, the haunting first track of Björk’s worldwide hit album Vulnicura, in 360 virtual reality and powered by 3Dception’s real-time 3D audio rendering. The video will be previewed at MoMA PS1 as well as Rough Trade stores in the US and UK. This is just weeks after our announcement of 3Dception’s use in Songlines, currently in exhibition at MoMA, New York.

In Björk’s  words:

i am also incredibly proud to offer a premier of stonemilker . with 360 3D sound mix for virtual reality headset.

this came about as a spontaneous fruit of mine and andrew huang’s collaboration . we had already done black lake , the “family” moving album cover and the black lake “book cover” trailer and then found us in iceland one day with nothing to do and a 360 camera lying about . we discussed its potential for intimacy and andrew then suggested we take it to the beach where the song was written . it immediately rang true for me as that location has a beautiful 360 panoramic view which matches the cyclical fugue like movement in the song . if the song has a shape it is sort of like a circle that just goes on forever .
i had recorded the strings with a clip on mike on each instrument . we have made a different mix where we have fanned this in an intimate circle around the listener .
so as you watch this in the virtual reality headset it will be as if you are on that beach and with the 30 players sitting in a circle tightly around you.

To present such a unique experience, we designed a completely re-imagined workflow that blends the worlds of linear sound design and interactive audio.  Björk’s vision of making the user a part of her world in Iceland, where the film was shot, compelled us to push the envelope of what is possible on mobile in VR. In collaboration with talented teams across continents, we worked towards building a new audiophile VR player which marries the world of real-time binaural audio with high definition visuals. All of this, just to bring you an experience you’ve never seen or heard before.

The video was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, audio remixed for VR by Chris Pike and the mobile VR delivery platform was integrated and pieced together by Third Space Agency (3SA) and digital production specialists Rewind. Visitors to MoMA and Rough Trade will be shown the Stonemilker film on the new cross platform Freefly virtual reality headset developed by Proteus VR Labs.

Björk

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The Museum of Modern Art presents a retrospective of the multifaceted work of composer, musician, and singer Björk. The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative projects and her eight full-length albums to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes.

On the third floor, Songlines presents an interactive, location-based audio experience through Björk’s albums, with a biographical narrative that is both personal and poetic.

We’re honoured and proud to be involved in Songlines, with 3Dception powering the location-based augmented audio experience. We’ve worked with a fantastic team across the world to ensure that the whole experience runs exceptionally well and sounds amazing off an iPod Touch. Yes, an iPod Touch. The exhibition runs from March 8–June 7, 2015. Don’t miss it if you are in New York! Get in touch for press or other enquires.

This:

Only the 3Dception engine could provide us with the audiophile quality and ease of integration our creative and technical approach for the Björk Songlines project demanded.

The Two Big Ears team and their audio programming expertise were key in our ability to provide visitors to Björk’s show the revolutionary head tracking psychoacoustic spatialised audio experience the artist had visualised for presenting her pure audio work to MoMA audiences.

– Andrew Melchior, Third Space Agency,  Producer of Björk Songlines @ MoMA

Pitch And Perception

George Vlad is a sound design intern at Two Big Ears. Starting with this post he will be documenting his experiments with sound design parameters and audio spatialization on this blog.

Following up on the previous blog post I have been investigating the role of pitch in the perception of movement and spatialization. The first thing I need to mention is that this is my no means an exhaustive process. I would rather say that I’m scratching the surface and providing food for thought for whoever finds this as fascinating as I do.

I designed a set of 5 similar sounding files resembling an internal combustion engine hum. The frequency content in these files lies mostly below 1 kHz as you can see in the picture. The Wwise engine is programmed to pick one of the 5 files at random creating an indefinite loop. I first played the Intro scene with the original sound palette so as to examine its perception with regards to azimuth, elevation, movement and spatialization. My conclusions with regards to this particular file should be taken with a grain of salt when applied to other files. Pitch is only one of many parameters that can alter and skew the perception of movement, elevation, spatialization and so on.

A few words about the Wwise and 3Dception settings I used. The default doppler option in 3Dception was disabled to avoid pitch changes. 3Dception’s room modeling was enabled with the default settings and the attenuation mode was set to 3Dception’s default as well. You will notice an audible gap in the video at certain points. This seems to be caused by the Wwise engine that needs to catch up with the fact that the files are shorter once they are pitched up. I then proceeded to raising the pitch on the sound palette by 2 semitone increments. This helped me observe the changes in perception and enabled me write the following notes.

Azimuth

Although the unpitched sound is diffuse, there’s no doubt that initially it is coming from the left side. Once the Robot object reaches the camera and goes off screen again it is similarly easy to pinpoint it as coming from the right side. It is safe to say that increasing pitch does not affect the azimuth perception by a great deal.

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Designing Audio For VR

In addition to Two Big Ears, I’m also contributing editor on DesigningSound.org. For this month I put down a summary of some of the stuff I’ve learnt working with VR and developing 3Dception. If audio and VR is your thing, go read it:

Audio And VR : Designing Sound

I’ve also copied across the article to a wiki, which I hope to maintain and expand over time. If you are designing audio for VR I’d like to hear your thoughts and feel free to contribute to the wiki.

3Dception: So Far

We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received since the announcement of 3Dception two weeks ago. Thank you. Both the download and usage count have crossed our expectations by great margins.  We’ve had loads of questions ranging from pricing (which we just released) to technology. We’ll talk more about our technology in the coming weeks and months through this blog.

3Dception

3Dception has been quite a journey for us. We began majority of the work about two years ago by developing a binaural solution for Android (yes, a difficult platform for audio). This led us to develop proprietary algorithms and methods that have allowed us to scale very quickly, while maintaining quality. Managing to run LOADS of binaural sources on an Android phone that is a few years old, while still keeping the battery usage in check was a great achievement for us.

Why a desktop first release then? We’ve got 3Dception working well on all our target platforms (including some we haven’t announced), but because of the current demand for binaural audio on desktop operating systems (i.e, Oculus and VR) we chose to target that first. If you’ve shipped software previously you know of the long bridge that must be crossed when moving from a ‘working product’ to a ‘shippable product’. That said, the mobile versions of 3Dception will be out very soon.

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Alpha — Beta

3Dception has been under constant scrutiny and testing since day one of development. We’ve had academics, researchers, visually impaired groups, audio professionals, designers and other non-audio people lend us their ears. We developed about eight different games and augmented experiences over the span of two years to test our algorithms. It was extremely useful and humbling to constantly put our work ‘out there’. None of these games and apps were made public (for obvious reasons), but they were the easiest way to engage people with our technology and find areas for improvement.

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Since the release two weeks ago, we’ve been working hard on finalising the pricing plans while squashing bugs and making improvements under the hood. The beta version will be released in two weeks and available for commercial projects.

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