Tutorial: Making transformers sound effect in Fruity Loops

A couple of years ago I saw the Transformers movie in the cinema. When I saw it I was amazed by the graphics and sound effects of this movie. I got inspired by the sound and I tried to make that wobbling sound in Fruity Loops 8, so in this tutorial you can see/hear my attempt. However the sound effects in transformers consist of multiple samples. In this tutorial I’m only going to try to make that wobbling background sound. You often hear this wobbling sound in the background when a weapon charges or when autobot/decepticon transforms. You can hear this type of sound in the youtube movie I posted below, go to timeframe 0:34 or 0:47.

I’m only going to mention the steps I took to create the sound effect, I won’t explain in too much detail what everything does. I think you’ll actually learn from this tutorial if you just play around and experiment with different settings, just to get a feeling for it. This tutorial won’t be hard to follow (probably too easy for some of you…), since all the intermediate steps are explained in this tutorial. Please leave a message if you like it or if something is not clear, I hope you like this tutorial.


Selecting a basic sound

For this tutorial I used Fruity Loops version 8, probably you can also follow this tutorial if you have a different version. First insert ‘Sytrus’ (do right click on a sampler):

step 1

Sytrus is a nice piece of software, it’s a synthesizer which can be used to create your own special sounds. I’m going to use it in my attempt to create a transformer sound. Let’s select a virtual instrument:

step 2

After right clicking on the arrow you get this screen (yes I know it’s huge list :P):

step 3

From this screen select ‘Depthcore’, the depthcore will give this kind of sound:

::: MP3 flash player :::

Pretty cool huh? we are going to use this as a basic sound.
Now left click on the ‘Depthcore’ sample, see next figure:

step 4

You should get an additional screen ‘channel settings’ like shown below:

step 5

In this screen you can select your ‘FX’ channel, this channel will be used later on to add some sound effects. Set ‘FX’ to 1, you can do this by clicking on ‘FX’ field and scroll to 1. Ok let’s add some sound by using a ‘piano roll’. Go back to your ‘step sequencer’ and right click on ‘Depthcore’, see figures below:

step 6 step 7

You will see the ‘piano roll’ screen, within this screen draw a note for the c4 key:

step 8

Extend this key a bit, see in the next figure. The key should be at least 2 seconds long. I used the extension to avoid that the sound is repeated too quick, now you can hear the echo when the sound is finished.

step 9

Adding effects using FX channel

Now we are going to add some effects to this sound by using the mixer. Click on ‘Mixer’, see figure:

step 10

Do you remember the ‘FX’ channel you have set? (if not click here) Now we are going to use it :) First make sure you select the correct channel, see figure below (point 1):

step 11

We are going to add effects to channel 1, which means that all samples which are connected to this ‘FX’ channel will get this effect. Now left click on the arrow, see step 2 in figure above. You will get a screen where you can select ‘Fruity multiband compressor’, something like this:

step 12

After selecting the multiband compressor right click on the gain knob. The position of the gain knob can be seen in the next 2 screens:

step 13 step 14

After clicking on ‘Edit events’ a new screen will pop-up. In this screen click on tools (click on the wrench button) and then click on LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator). With this LFO you can add some really nice effects to your sound. We are going to use it to create the wobbling effect. Use the screen below to copy the settings, if everything is ok hit enter.

step 15

Dynamic channel panning

It’s time to add another effect, let’s add the stereo effect (I hope you don’t have a mono sound system, otherwise you can skip this step :p). Now go back to your ‘step sequencer’ where you have your sample. First right click on the ‘channel panning’ knob and click on ‘Edit events’, see screens below:

step 16 step 17

Then again use the LFO tool and copy the settings of screen below:

step 18

Final result

The final result of what you get after following this tutorial should be something like this:

::: MP3 flash player :::

I have experimented a bit with different settings and effects, here you can hear my other sounds:

sound 1:

::: MP3 flash player :::

sound 2:

::: MP3 flash player :::

sound 3:

::: MP3 flash player :::

I think the last sound is my best attempt, it’s almost similar to what you hear in the background of youtube movie at timeframe 0:34 and 0:47. You can download the complete sound package here:

Transformer sound package

It contains the original fruity loop files and the mp3 sound files. I hope you liked this tutorial and that you learned something.

Task manager in Ubuntu

This is going to be my first tutorial, I hope you like it. In this tutorial I will explain how you get a ‘task manager’ in Ubuntu. Please leave a message if something is missing or something is not clear.

If you are a windows user and you switched to Ubuntu, the first thing you probably are looking for is the task manager. In windows you can press the famous keyboard combo ‘Ctrl+Alt+Delete’ to get your task manager. However this does not seems to work in Ubuntu.

In Ubuntu you have a similar tool as the task manager, it is called ‘System monitor‘.
In this tutorial I will show you how to make a shortcut for system monitor in Ubuntu. This tutorial is written for Ubuntu version 9.04 with GNOME as desktop.

1] First go to ‘System‘ and then to ‘Preferences‘, finally click on ‘Keyboard Shortcuts‘. If it’s not clear see figure 1 below.

figure 1, Ubuntu step 1: setting up shortcut for task manager
Figure 1: Creating shortcut for system monitor, step 1

2] Then you get the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts‘ screen, see figure 2. Click on ‘+ Add‘.

figure 2, Ubuntu step 2: setting up shortcut for task manager
Figure 2: Creating shortcut for system monitor, step 2

3] Now a screen will popup where you have to fill in a name and a command, see figure 3. You can choose an arbitrary name as long it does not already exist. In this case we choose ‘System monitor‘. For command use the following: ‘gnome-system-monitor’. Click on ‘Apply’ when you are done.

figure 3, Ubuntu step 3: setting up shortcut for task manager
Figure 3: Creating shortcut for system monitor, step 3

4] If you scroll down you find ‘Custom Shortcuts‘, see figure 4. Now click on the field with the text ‘Disabled’ which is next to ‘System monitor‘. To create a key combination for it just press your keys. In this case ‘Ctrl+Shift+Esc’ was chosen since ‘Ctrl+Alt+Del’ was already used.

figure 4, Ubuntu step 4: setting up shortcut for task manager
Figure 4: Creating shortcut for system monitor, step 4

5] If everything went ok, then you should have something similar like figure 5. You can close the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts‘ window and test you new keyboard shortcut.

figure 5, Ubuntu step 5: setting up shortcut for task manager
Figure 5: Creating shortcut for system monitor, step 5