Tracer

VR Composition tool for 4DSOUND System

Tracer is an interactive VR tool, that explores the relation between the tangible process of drawing and sound composition in VR. Initially, the project was developed for the artist's performance in an omnidirectional sound environment such as 4D Sound. The tool is designed to explore the qualities of the sound system using real-time 3D drawing instead of creating motion by using XYZ coordinates. My role in the project was to design and prototype the experience.

4D Sound system

4DSOUND is a fully omnidirectional sound environment where the listener can experience sound in an unlimited spatial continuum. Sound can move infinitely far away or come intimately close: it moves around, as well as above, beneath, in between or right through you. Led by your ears, you’re encouraged to explore the space. You can move between blocks of sound, touch lines of sound and walk through walls of sound. The 4DSOUND system is a spatial instrument that can be played through integration with a range of interfaces and controllers.

Experience

After putting the VR headset on, users are able to draw paths in 3D space. Afterwards, they're allowed to assign Tracers – sound emitting objects on these paths. Each Tracer then plays a sound the user has assigned to it. Based on user's position, the sound is perceived as being physically present in the space, relative to the user's position in the space. The user can control various parameters of the Tracers – their physical dimensions in the space, the playback speed, modes or assign effects. Sound designers are able to manipulate these in real time, making it possible to create live performances and experiences.

Above is a video about the early prototype. It was developed to validate the basic concepts of the interaction and observe it's flaws before actually connecting it to the 4D sound system. For spatial sound Unity's built in 3D sound engine was used.

In the final prototype we’ve also added more controls over some sonic and spatial parameters. It’s possible to control the volume of the track, its play state, speed of Tracer following the path, play mode of the Tracer along the path, along physical dimensions of the sound in space and send the track through an effect chain.

Code: Gábor Pribék   •   Interaction design: Gábor Pribék, Filip Ruisl   •   Sound design: Filip Ruisl    •   Special thanks to: Paul Oomen, Ana Amóros Lopéz

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