Welcome to a new edition of The Compressed Interview! I had the chance to interview Arnaud Noble about his experience in audio. His wide experience in audio includes music composition for Indie games such as Puddle and DeadCore, Audio design and mixing for games such as For Honor, Absolver, WiLD, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, amongst others. During these projects, Arnaud had the chance to work with different studios such as SloClap, Ubisoft Montréal, Ubisoft Montpellier and Eidos-Montréal. At the moment, Arnaud is the Audio Lead in DONTNOD Montréal and an Audio Artist for Spectravelers (a sound library which he co-founded).
This is what Arnaud shared with me:
Threshold: Getting Started
J: What skills (either technical or personal) do you think that anyone starting in this industry needs?
A: Many skills are required in video game industry, but I think especially two are most important than other.
Be creative! This is certainly obvious, but it’s important to try to create something unique. So do not hesitate to explore your idea and whatever you have in mind. Allow yourself the time and try to reach your idea!
Teamwork! You are not alone and most of the time you will work with another people, so share your idea and listen to others it will bring something new. Everyone can have a good idea!
Attack: Things to discuss
J: When you are feeling creatively blocked, what do you do to get back in track?
A: Difficult situation! It’s always frustrating to have this kind of feeling and to go in circles.
First advice, take a step back! If it’s possible, work on something else and after some hours, some days, go back and listen it again. I think it’s important to have a fresh listening to understand what is works or does not work.
If you are blocked again, do not hesitate to listen your sound to someone else, and not necessary to a sound designer, to have these feedback:
- “What kind of feeling do you have when you listen this sound?”
- “What do you prefer between both version and why…?”
Try to have feedback from out of context! For example, I mean without video and get feedback.
Release: Talking about the good stuff
J: What do you think is the best part of working in this industry?
A: All parts, except the end of the production, are fun. But two of them are especially awesome.
The conception phase is good one because you can explore a lot of things and it’s the good moment to brainstorm with the team, be creative and try to aim a unique flavor.
The second one is the time when you integrate your sound and tweak it. This is cool part to listen your work in context, take the time to improve it. Your work it suddenly came alive!
J: Can you let us know a little about your creative process? Anything about the technical process?
A: In general, before starting doing anything in sound design I prefer to find 2 or 3 key words from the project vision to define a direction of the feature I’m in charge of. It allows me to choose raw texture and helps me to aim for the appropriate audio color.
Also, it will be important to have a talk with the rest of the team (designer, artist…) to be sure what the goal is and how audio can highlight it.
Next, I will record new texture the most I can. It will take some additional time but for me it’s the best way to have original and unique sources. During this part, you can explore and discover a lot of good things, unexpected sound and bring new idea. Moreover, I love this part because you will spend some time out of your computer, go outdoor or handling some props in studio. It’s fun, so try it!
Close to finishing and according to what I do, I will edit, layer and process my sources with my favorite plugin stuff to create audio asset. Most of the time I split by layering my audio asset to integrate it in audio engine.
It gives me some flexibility to apply some different volume, attenuation or dynamic effect depending on what the player does.
In my opinion, mixing is the key to the success, so having sound flexibility to highlight what it is important is good thing!
J: What are the biggest life lessons learned in your personal and professional career?
A: Everyone can teach you something or bring to you a brilliant idea, so open your mind and talk and share with other! It is the most important thing in my work, having fun with others.
I am really happy that Arnaud share with us this knowledge he has after working in many great projects!