Sunday, September 6, 2009

CG Challenge - Secret Agent (part 4)

OK, here comes the last part of this project (at least on my end).

In the previous (third) draft, I replaced the synth lead sound that played the main melody with a saxophone sound taken from AMG's Kick-Ass Brass library. I also added some brass tracks to the intro to build up some tension.

To be honest, I wasn't 100% happy with this last version. Although the sax in the melody sounds quite authentic, it was somewhat weak sounding and not strong enough to dominate the tune. But since that's just my limited opinion, I sent it to my brother's team anyways to see what they think.

Well, they shared my opinion haha.

So we decided to give it a try using the VL70-m synth. Even though it's not using any samples at all, its physical modeling synthesis is still pretty good. Combined with a breath-controller, it does sound solid. So I went with the motto "let's hope it'll sound good enough as a main melody track! "

On top of that, they needed the brass tracks out of the intro. It was too dominant that it dictates the mood, limiting the options when it comes to creating the visuals. That's something I couldn't forsee, but it made sense. Since the production on the visual side was still developing it was better to keep the music more neutral. Also, my brother liked the sudden change to the main theme as opposed to the rather smooth transition I had made in the third draft.

So my tasks for the final version were set:
  • Remove the horns from the intro
  • Make the transition to the main theme more sudden
  • Replace the main melody with a VL70-m Sax sound (in hopes it'll work out OK)

The other "polishing" tasks I had pending were:

  • Add details to the bass track (string noise, dead notes etc)
  • Sync the rhythmical patterns of the E-piano with the drums and the bass
  • Edit the drum breaks to sync with the horn riffs and other fills
  • Replace the guitar tracks with a real performance
  • Mixdown everything

I had asked a guitarist friend of mine to play the cutting patterns and the solo for me. Synth guitars just don't compare to a real performance. At least the guitars in my hardware synthesizers just don't do it for me :)

And it got good!

Here's the final version:

A virtual sax can sound pretty good, huh?
Well, of course a real saxophone would always be better, but for this time anyways, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. My brother and his team were happy too :)

And many thanks to guitarist Yuya Haraguchi, who laid down some awesome guitar tracks!

As for the project, the animated visuals are still in works. Can't wait to see the final result!


  1. last part? I don't think so :P
    Now you have to write a part 5

  2. Yeah, little did I know I had that coming ^^;

    Part 5 was a new speed record. Will write about it later.