Human Expressivity in the Control and Integration of Computationally Generated Audio
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While physics-based synthesis offers a wide range of benefits in the real-time generation of sound for interactive environments, it is difficult to incorporate nuanced and complex behaviour that enhances the sound in a narrative or aesthetic context. The work presented in this thesis explores real-time human performance as a means of stylistically augmenting computational sound models. Transdisciplinary in nature, this thesis builds upon previous work in sound synthesis, film sound theory and physical sound interaction. Two levels on which human performance can enhance the aesthetic value of computational models are investigated: first, in the real-time manipulation of an idiosyncratic parameter space to generate unique sound effects, and second, in the performance of physical source models in synchrony with moving images. In the former, various mapping techniques were evaluated to control a model of a creaking door based on a proposed extension of practical synthesis techniques. In the latter, audio post-production professionals with extensive experience in performing Foley were asked to perform the soundtrack to a physics-based animation using bespoke physical interfaces and synthesis engines. The generated dataset was used to gain insights into stylistic features afforded by performed sound synchronisation, and potential ways of integrating them into an interactive environment such as a game engine. Interacting with practical synthesis models that have extended to incorporate performability enables rapid generation of unique and expressive sound effects, while maintaining a believable source-sound relationship. Performatively authoring behaviours of sound models makes it possible to enhance the relationship between sound and image (both stylistically and perceptually) in ways precluded by one-to-one mappings between physics-based parameters. Mediation layers are required in order to facilitate performed behaviour: in the design of the model on one hand, and in the integration of such behaviours into interactive environments on the other. This thesis provides some examples of how such a system could be implemented. Furthermore, some interesting observations are made regarding the design of physical interfaces for performing environmental sound, and the creative exploitation of model constraints.
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