Please or Register to create posts and topics.

Sound Layering for realistic gunshots

Well, after spending more time and money on sound effects than I care to admit... I put together some footage of the sound design progress. Still needs some tweaking, but I think I have a process down that I can apply to the other weapons as far as layering near and far sounds and getting them to transition smoothly. Let me hear your thoughts!

I've not done much is sound design before, but I'm learning quite a bit about mixing layers manipulating audio levels and frequencies to achieve the desired effect. Pretty fun really.


So I'm doing the sounds a bit different than the norm.

Typically, the game uses 2 or 3 sound layers within a sound-set for a gun sound. One for close range, and another one or two for mid and distant range. These are usually arranged where the closest layer contains more detail of the gunshot where you have more of a base percussion and mechanical sound of the gun action. The last layer heard is a different wav all together made to sound like the distant gunshot, with less emphasis on the percussion and more on the distorted echo and reduced clarity.

This works decent, but it can be tricky to find or mix two wav's that sound similar but at different distances.

My process similarly uses 3 layers. We can use the same wave file for 3 different distance layers, which blends with one another better during transition, and is actually more realistic to how sound frequencies behave in reality.

You'll start by finding a decent WAV file for your gunshot, something that is recorded from a close range perspective with a fairly clean trail off. Then cut out certain frequencies for each track. The 1st track will use a high pass filter to contain mostly higher frequencies (for mine I use 350HZ and up). The 2nd track will be filtered down to only 350HZ and lower, so it is mostly the bass. On these two tracks, you will mute the percussion portion of the tracks. Then the 3rd track will be your original track, but with everything but the shot percussion nearly muted, so that you only barely hear the trail off.

When all 3 of these are played at the same time at full volume, it should sound identical to your original track.

Now, using the sound tool for your LWF. Create your sound-set, give it 3 layers. Layer 1 will be the 1st track containing the high frequencies. We will set it's distance to about 450 meters. 2nd layer will be track 2 with only the low frequencies. Set its distance to about 750 meters. The 3rd layer will be the 3rd track that has the main percussion hit. set this to 900 meters.

The result: Standing near the player or in 1st person, the shot sounds like your original completed track. In reality higher frequencies attenuate more over distance, so as your get further from the source, the high frequencies on track one will fall off at a faster rate than 2 and 3, until eventually at around 500+ meters, you hear only the thump and slight trail off of track 3. You can adjust the ratio at which the high and low frequencies fall off by playing with the max distance of each one.

It blends well and sounds very natural, and only requires you to mix one initial track. Now if need be, you can mix additional variances to the different distance trail offs if you wish, but I'd try to keep them close to the original.

If anyone is interested, I can make a more detailed tutorial in audacity for this.