Magic Sound Effects Library Asbjoern Andersen


What goes into creating a magic sound effects library? Articulated Sounds' Magic Elements Vol. 1 library has been a very popular release, and with the arrival of Magic Elements Vol. 2 - the second and final installment in the series -, we were curious to hear what it takes to create the sound of magic.

Here's Magic Elements sound artist Vincent Fliniaux with the story behind the making of a magic SFX library - including audio examples, tips, tricks and tools + a video demonstrating the complete making of one of the sounds in the library:


Please share:
 

Hi Vincent, please introduce yourselves and Magic Elements Vol. 2 – what’s your background, and how did you get into indie SFX?
VF: Hi my name is Vincent Fliniaux and I’ve been working with Stephane [Fufa Dufour] for around 3 years — and my journey to indie SFX was a long, extensive and chaotic road, full of amazing and decisive encounters like the one with Stephane from Articulated Sounds. After my graduation at university and conservatory in France I decided it was time to step back and discover another culture so I flew to Montreal to study digital music and orchestration. What was supposed to be a one year experience ending being my new home while I was discovering the magic of creative field recordings and game audio. I’m now a happy freelance sound designer living in a charming Montreal neighborhood with my lovely Canadian girlfriend.
 

What’s Magic Elements Vol. 2 about, and what are some of the sounds included in it? How did you come up with the idea for the library in the first place?
VF: Magic Elements Vol. 2 is the follow-up to (you guessed it) Magic Elements Vol.1 and concludes this series focused on elements or types of magic.

This idea came to me because in game audio, we were constantly in need of magic or supernatural sounds, but they weren’t a lot of options regarding sound effect libraries. Also I couldn’t find the sounds I was hearing in all the classic movies out there that are now part of our collective conscience.

I presented my idea to Stephane and together, we decided that there were too many elements for one library, so we divided it into 2 volumes. The first one is about air, earth, ice, fire, black magic, generic magic, and the second one about energy (or electricity), liquid, foliage, white magic, cartoon (or anime) and generic magic again.

I think with the complete series this is the most exhaustive elemental magic collection out there.

Video Thumbnail

The trailer for Magic Elements Vol. 2

In general, what are some of the characteristics of the magic sounds you’ve created for this library?
VF: In my work I often find it difficult to use overly designed sound effects, especially magic ones, so I wanted something more usable and modular where there is no ton of layers all mixed in, but rather really good, isolated sources, building blocks and gently designed sounds. When I’m working on sound effects libraries I really ask myself what sounds I would like to have as a sound designer and I try to create sounds more rare or not easy to find in the sound libraries community.
 

Anything in particular which inspired you sonically for the library? And what sort of research did you do for the project?
VF: I don’t know about influences but I’m constantly actively listening for any magic sounds in film, series and video games because it’s often a great opportunity for the sound designers to inject creativity into their art.

I find magic sounds fascinating because of their paradoxical nature: Although no one ever experiences magic sounds in real life, we all find them more convincing if they are rooted in reality. So it’s a subtle balance between acoustic sources and transformed or synthesis elements. Some tools are really appropriate for that (spoiler: granular).

I find magic sounds fascinating because of their paradoxical nature: Although no one ever experiences magic sounds in real life, we all find them more convincing if they are rooted in reality

About researching, as I was saying before, I tried listening to what already existed in the market to avoid doing the same things and propose new ideas.

I also re-watched a lot of Miyazaki movies with my girlfriend and the elemental magic-based anime Avatar: The Last Airbender. It was an efficient combination of work and relaxation.
 

Fruits of the labour:

Here are the two libraries in the Magic Elements series:

  • Destruction & Impact Magic Elements vol.1 Play Track 770 sounds included $119

    ‘Magic Elements’ is a detailed collection of designed & source sounds of organic elements, actions, characters, items, spells & atmospheres in the realm of Magic.


    DESIGNED:
    In the designed section you will find 326 carefully crafted sounds.
    Volume 1 of this magic saga is comprehensively focused on 6 elements:
    Earth, Ice, Fire, Air, Black, and Generic.

    Each element comes with a variety of spells, actions/movements such as whoosh, impacts, atmospheres, projectiles, along with many variations in intensity and speed.

    All these sounds are carefully designed, edited and meta-tagged.

    The ‘generic’ category contains handy neutral go-to sounds that are useful for any project.

    SOURCE:
    The source folder is packed with 444 useful sounds that cover a large spectrum; thoroughly edited and meta-tagged. They will support your creativity with materials such as choirs, dissonant metal, creatures, papers, debris, drones, cracks, textures, friction, LFE sub sweeteners,…

    What’s inside:

    • Impacts, Whoosh, Air Swirls,
    • Fireball, Deflagration, Flame Thrower, Deep Sub Whoosh
    • Aura, Energy Stone, Old Grimoire, Healing,
    • Earthquake, Constant Debris, Falling Rocks, Ground Friction,
    • Haunted Books,Laboratory, Magic Box, Potion
    • Huge Ground Opening, Eerie Drones,
    • Dark Choir, Ominous Creatures, Dark Dissonant Metal Scrape,
    • Iceberg Destruction, Ice Scrapes, LFE Sub Sweeteners,


    Choose how you want your sounds!
    2 DOWNLOAD OPTIONS INCLUDED:

    • GLUED (Multiple variations of the same sound glued in one file)

    • SEPARATED (Each variations of sound are separated in different files)

    Add to cart
  • Destruction & Impact Magic Elements vol.2 Play Track 1438 sounds included $149

    Discover the new and complementary opus of Magic Elements sound library!

    ‘Magic Elements’ is a detailed collection of designed & source sounds of organic elements, actions, characters, items, spells & atmospheres in the realm of Magic.
    Volume 2 is complementary to Volume 1 and comes with almost twice the sounds!

    The library is meant to be modular: while being ready-to-use, it delivers useful materials and building blocks that will allow you to create your own sounds.

    • DESIGNED: (772 SOUNDS)
    Volume 2 of this magic saga is comprehensively focused on these 6 elements:
    Energy, Liquid, Foliage, White, Cartoon/Anime, and Generic.

    Each element comes with a variety of spells, actions/movements such as whoosh, impacts, atmospheres, projectiles, along with many variations in intensity and speed.

    All these sounds are carefully designed, edited and meta-tagged.
    The ‘generic’ category contains handy neutral go-to sounds that are useful for any project.

    The ‘cartoon’ will also work well with anime, & manga.

    • SOURCE: (666 SOUNDS)
    The source folder is packed with`many useful files that cover a large spectrum; thoroughly edited and meta-tagged. They will support your creativity with materials such as electricity, liquids, foliage, explosion, whoosh, drones, textures, impacts, chimes, … (file list here)

    Unique & Useful
    This library is made to empower the sound designer’s sonic palette with high quality material but also with unique ‘never heard before’ sound effects.
    A godsend for every sound artist, wether you are looking to start off with a magical toolkit, or you want to enrich your collection with new unique sounds!

    What’s inside:
    Impacts, Whoosh, explosion, fireworks
    Chemical Acid, Bubble, Splash
    Aura, Glyph, Shimmer, Fairy Dust
    Electric Spark, zap, Discharge
    Foliage motion, hit, rustle
    Growing vines, Ent Footstep
    Choir, Harp, Chimes, Bells
    Laboratory, Potion
    Buff, Spell, Hypnotize, Projectile,

    Choose how you want your sounds!
    2 DOWNLOAD OPTIONS PROVIDED:

    • GLUED (Multiple variations of the same sound glued in one file)

    • SEPARATED (Each variations of sound are separated in different files)

    Add to cart
Discover more sound effects from Articulated Sounds here

What was your recording setup for this one?
VF: Stephane and I have really different setups but his is always better than mine – even if he’s traveling the world with only a backpack! I mainly used my SONY D100 and a non-orthodox setup of two DPA 4060 with an old Sound Devices MixPre mixer for the gorgeous analog limiter.

I also did some recordings with an Aquarian H1A hydrophone mic that my good friend Michel Marchant from BONSON lent me.

Video Thumbnail

The trailer for Magic Elements Vol.1

 

What were some of the synths and plugins you used for the library – and did you know from the get-go what tools you’d need to get the sound you were after?
VF: At the beginning, especially for the volume 1, I had no idea which plugins I was gonna use because it was a lot of experimenting. With time, however, I started to use a few plugins more often and I even created mine in Reaktor and Bidule (a graphic modular environment like Max/MSP from Plogue, an awesome Montreal company).
The plugin I used the most was Whoosh from Tonsturm, it’s an amazing tool to create movement or sculpt envelopes in sound and there is an easy “hack” to be able to use it as an FX instead of an instrument, so you can process you sound in realtime.

Here is a picture with the instructions for the small hack:

I also used The Mangle from Sound Guru, which has, in my view, the most appealing visual interface for a granular instrument out there.

During the process of creating the sounds for volume 2, I also took a couple of days to develop my own realtime granular FX in Reaktor

The list can be very long so I’m going to drop a few names to check out if you want to experiment with magic sounds: Crystallizer from Soundtoys, SpaceGrain from GRM, Chromaphone 2 from AAS (another awesome Montreal company), Paul Stretch (thanks Xenakios for the VST implementation) and of course the (not anymore) secret weapon of all sound designer: S-Layer from Twisted Tools.

During the process of creating the sounds for volume 2, I also took a couple of days to develop my own realtime granular FX in Reaktor because I always felt frustrated with the existing ones (too much latency, too sci-fi sounding, not enough quantized pitch manipulation, too music-production oriented). It’s not perfect but I’m really proud of it because it was my first effect. It’s now my go to granular processing FX.

If you want to try it out, get the download link here
 

Can you describe the process behind the making of one of the sounds from the library, from your initial idea to the final sound?
VF: To answer that question I did a small video with my splendid French accent, showing the complete process of creating a particular sound of the library:

Video Thumbnail

What were some of the hardest sounds to get right? And overall, what was the biggest challenge with the library?
VF: There was one sound I really wanted to design, and it took me about one month of stubbornness to finally get it: It’s the classic electric zap sound effect that we can hear basically everywhere. For some reason, it almost seems like the rarest sound effect, at least in my personal library. The only one I have is from Sound Ideas and who knows who – and how – they did it…

When spring arrives, we tear off the film – and as I was violently tearing it off, I heard a sound really close to electricity

Everything began with a happy accident: Maybe you know how cold it gets here in Montreal during the winter – and I live in a very old apartment -, so each year, at the end of fall, we put an insulating plastic film on every window to keep the heat in. When spring arrives, we tear off the film – and as I was violently tearing it off, I heard a sound really close to electricity.

Here it is:

It became the main source for the electric zap sound.

After that it was a long process of trial and errors.

I remember designing a kind of saberlight lockup initial attack and one day, playing with transposition, reverse, layers and processing, without quite knowing why, I finally got it!
I was so happy that day – pop the champagne!

Here is the final sound:

Overall I would say that the biggest challenge was to find a good balance and to keep consistency between all the magic elements. Even if one kind of sound was easier to design, I had to force myself to work on the missing sounds for the library. I also renamed almost all the sounds at one point to have a better consistency across the whole library, something I find I could have done better for the volume 1.
 

The library had a strong impact on my personal life: For example, we could not hike anywhere without me recording EVERY rotten tree we came across

Any particularly fun moments or experiences making the library?
VF: I don’t have any particular moment in mind, but I can tell you that the library had a strong impact on my personal life: For example, we could not hike anywhere without me recording EVERY rotten tree we came across.
 

Any favorite sounds in the library?
VF: I would say the electric zap sounds because of all the tears (!) I put in them – and maybe also the fairy dust sounds. I like them because they are very pleasant to listen to, useful and really versatile (in the way that I designed them you get short appear-sounds, but also medium and long constant-fairy presence). I’m also happy with the spectre or wizard flying sounds because I think it’s the kind of sound you don’t have a lot in your personal library (credit to my girlfriend for giving me that idea).
 

Any essential design advice for customers on how to make the most of your sounds?
VF: I would say try to combine a few types of magic together to build more complex sounds; white magic sounds, for example, is a good match with other elements or any other sounds you want to use in a magical context.
Also, even if we use the word “magic” in the title of the library, a lot of sounds are really useful in other situations like supernatural scenes or “over the top” moments.

A big thanks to Vincent Fliniaux and Articulated Sounds for the story behind their magic sounds. Be sure to check out the full library below:

 
 
  • Destruction & Impact Magic Elements vol.2 Play Track 1438 sounds included $149

    Discover the new and complementary opus of Magic Elements sound library!

    ‘Magic Elements’ is a detailed collection of designed & source sounds of organic elements, actions, characters, items, spells & atmospheres in the realm of Magic.
    Volume 2 is complementary to Volume 1 and comes with almost twice the sounds!

    The library is meant to be modular: while being ready-to-use, it delivers useful materials and building blocks that will allow you to create your own sounds.

    • DESIGNED: (772 SOUNDS)
    Volume 2 of this magic saga is comprehensively focused on these 6 elements:
    Energy, Liquid, Foliage, White, Cartoon/Anime, and Generic.

    Each element comes with a variety of spells, actions/movements such as whoosh, impacts, atmospheres, projectiles, along with many variations in intensity and speed.

    All these sounds are carefully designed, edited and meta-tagged.
    The ‘generic’ category contains handy neutral go-to sounds that are useful for any project.

    The ‘cartoon’ will also work well with anime, & manga.

    • SOURCE: (666 SOUNDS)
    The source folder is packed with`many useful files that cover a large spectrum; thoroughly edited and meta-tagged. They will support your creativity with materials such as electricity, liquids, foliage, explosion, whoosh, drones, textures, impacts, chimes, … (file list here)

    Unique & Useful
    This library is made to empower the sound designer’s sonic palette with high quality material but also with unique ‘never heard before’ sound effects.
    A godsend for every sound artist, wether you are looking to start off with a magical toolkit, or you want to enrich your collection with new unique sounds!

    What’s inside:
    Impacts, Whoosh, explosion, fireworks
    Chemical Acid, Bubble, Splash
    Aura, Glyph, Shimmer, Fairy Dust
    Electric Spark, zap, Discharge
    Foliage motion, hit, rustle
    Growing vines, Ent Footstep
    Choir, Harp, Chimes, Bells
    Laboratory, Potion
    Buff, Spell, Hypnotize, Projectile,

    Choose how you want your sounds!
    2 DOWNLOAD OPTIONS PROVIDED:

    • GLUED (Multiple variations of the same sound glued in one file)

    • SEPARATED (Each variations of sound are separated in different files)

    Add to cart
 

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