We spoke to Orfeas Boteas of Krotos about their new release Dehumaniser II, now available here. Members of G.A.N.G. are eligible for a 20% discount (details on the members perk page). Check out the interview below!
RS: For those who don’t know what is Dehumaniser?
Orfeas Boteas: Dehumaniser is software producing creature / monster sounds, efficiently in real-time through multiple layers of sound manipulation techniques that run simultaneously. By connecting a microphone to a sound interface or even using the computer’s built-in microphone, Dehumaniser creates astonishing creature sounds in seconds, using only your voice. You can even trigger animal sounds, which are included in the software or use your own sound library.
Additionally, Dehumaniser is not only for creature sounds, it’s a sound design tool with unique effects and a lot of our users have used it for robots, aliens, spaceship sounds, cars, weapons, whooshes, drones, music and other sound effects.
RS: What are some projects Dehumaniser has been used in?
OB: Dehumaniser has been used in films like The Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Jungle Book, series such as Sleepy Hollow and Finding Big Foot and video games like Doom, Sonic, Evolve and Far Cry 4 and the list is still growing. We’re always hearing about new games or movies that use our products which is exciting. For more projects that dehumaniser has been used in you can visit http://dehumaniser.com/client-projects/ .
RS: What made you decide to create Dehumaniser?
OB: I was studying for an MSc in Sound Design at The University of Edinburgh and Dehumaniser started as final year project. I’d already done some work on a sound design podcast and an audio game where I experimented with human and animal sounds to create monster and creepy sounds, and while I found the procedure exciting, it was extremely time consuming. I had to use so many plugins, go through different animal sounds, layer them and shape them – all to create one snippet of output. So, I came up with the idea making a software that would be fully inclusive, work in real time, and still completely customisable by the user. After receiving positive feedback from people who watched an online video demonstration, we started working on the commercial version which we released in November 2013.
RS: How did you go about the development of Dehumaniser and long did development take?
OB: Creature and monster sounds exist in many mediums, including sci-fi, horror and animated films as well as video games. In order to create these sounds, different methods of sound manipulation are used. These methods usually include many layers of sound and various processing techniques. To design this project, I had to identify the important features that contribute to create each type of sound. Additionally, I had to consider how these techniques could be used in order to transform the voice into creature sounds in real time as well as how effective the real time transformation was.
Making creature and monster sounds using voice in real time is a more intuitive process than sound editing. Voice is our basic way of expression. The transformation of voice into these sounds transfers emotions and expressions and makes this procedure more direct. On top of that each voice has a unique timbre, as a result using a single preset on Dehumaniser and your voice you can create unlimited sounds in seconds.
The prototype version of Dehumaniser standalone took an intensive 3 months to develop. After that I incorporated Krotos and the first commercial version “Dehumaniser Pro” took us less than a year to develop. Dehumaniser 2 took 14-15 months by a team of seven people plus freelancers. Dehumaniser 2 is by far the biggest and most complicated project we have worked on and our team is one of the best in the industry.
RS: What’s the process like to use Dehumaniser in a project?
OB: Dehumaniser saves sound professionals a lot of time and allows them to focus more on the creative aspect but they can also adjust every little detail if they want to take over more control within the programme.
The general workflow is quite simple. By simply connecting a microphone to the interface and growling, the predesigned presets will produce a monster or creature. If something a little more customised is desired, you can open up the settings and design away.
Dehumaniser is also great for voice actors because they can adjust the voice according to the effect and hear the processing live. It’s even ideal for localization. You can make a preset that you like, send it to a studio in another country that does localization, and then apply the same effect on another language. No longer do settings for multiple plugins have to be sent back and forth.
RS: With Dehumaniser 2 recently released, what are some of the updates and changes?
OB: Dehumaniser II now enables you to use the software right inside your DAW using our new all-modular node-based system. It allows you to create custom workflows very quickly. You can even use multiple instances of each module in whichever configuration you would like. You just drag down the modules from the menu and connect them using virtual cables, with a click of a button. You can also save and recall these complex routings as presets, and use the included 100+ library with wildlife sounds in your design. This really helps change the way you can work with the software, and it really frees up your imagination. It feels more like working with a modular synth than a fixed string of processing modules.
The sound engine has been completely redesigned, with improved algorithms and optimisation for DAWs. It also includes new effects like Flanger Chorus and Ring Modulators that allow you to create unique Alien and Robot sound effects. Also it includes envelope-follower based on pitch, noise content and amplitude per module, which means that different effects can be triggered depending on the input signal.
We’re really excited about this new version. It will help Dehumaniser reach a much larger audience and inspire even more innovative sound design.