Workflow for Creating Dozens of Individual Sound Effects?

I haven’t found a really good way of working on individual sound effects in any DAW yet, and I’ve tried a lot.

DAWs are fundamentally linear systems that obey time. You have music, it goes from 0:00 to 3:50 or something. You have a movie, it goes from 0:00 to 1:50:00 or something. In those projects you have one big session you’re working on. You edit the dialog, location sound, foley, mix all together, until everything fits the picture perfectly. All feeds into one linear timeline from 0:00 to X:XX.

  • But I wonder how people work who do the individual sound effects for those movies. People who create Sci-Fi sound libraries like this one
  • Or people who do specific sound effects for a movie and deliver them to the guy who lays them out in a scene. Like different laser guns in a big fight scene for a Star Wars movie.
  • Or in games, where there’s no linear time at all and all is just individual sound effects triggered at the right time based on the player’s actions.

I’ve tried many ways.

  • Having all files in one big session, then you end up with a huge session whose sound effects are largely not related. You need to create a group for every sound effect to have control of the overall sound and EQ. Thus you end up with dozens and dozens if not hundreds of tracks and groups, making overview a huge mess.
  • Categorizing sound effects and putting all fire magic sounds in one session, wind magic sounds in another session, and enemies in a third session and working like that. Still, depending on the amount of effects, overview is a mess. Exporting is a hassle, you end up with many tracks because you need to tweak individual layers of one particular sound effect anyway, so you have one track for each layer of one sound.
  • I’ve tried one session per sound effect but then it’s hard to quickly profit from sounds you already did. Many wind magic sounds should sound like being from the same class, so you end up sharing specific elements between each other. But now that you have one project file per sound effect, you have to have dozens of projects open and jump between them.

It seems there’s no DAW that can really handle this type of non-linear sound making well, as everything is set up to be squeezed into a linear timeline paradigm. Individual sound effects do not follow that paradigm.

I’d think it would be great if there was a workflow mode to get rid of the singular linear timeline for sound effects and have one project with individual elements, or folders. Each of those elements is a sound effect that can have multiple tracks, each with its individual effects, EQs, plugins.

Because I was thinking this problem is NOT specific to game sound. It’s also everybody working on sound effects libraries, and everybody creating sounds for films who’s not mixing the whole session but really creating the sounds, ending up with hundreds of sound effects in the end.

Is anybody of you working in this fashion, how do you cope with this? Do you have one big session, smaller sessions with multiple sounds, or does each sound has an individual session file? How do you work?

I dont quite get what you see as a problem?

No in use the sounds may not be linear but in creation they often have to be.
You create ranges of sounds from Lo-hi regardless if it is mostly a energy content of the sound or the complexity of the sound. So in my experience final creation/polishing/delivering is pretty much always a linear process. If it all would be a totally random process then it would be really hard but in most cases it just isn’t. Time and resources are to valuable.
Basic creation of ideas on the other hand may well be chaotic and rather random, and retracing your steps back there may sometimes just not be possible. And then you work around that.

When creating sounds for fx libraries and other sound editors:
Step 1 create/design The sounds.
Step 2 name, add metadata and categorise the designed sounds.
Step 3 Deliver assets/individual sounds to the next step.

In this workflow going back to the original sound may or may not be needed depending on the situation. careful namingconventions is how you deal with that.

in game audio the above is mainly the same but here you almost always have to be able to find your way back to the specific time/place in the project to be able to modify the sounds according to the needs of the game. The GAC with wwise helps here of course. But only with wwise. With other gaming engines you will have to rely on naming conventions or metadata to backtrack where it came from.

Define big projects? A typical tv drama project in my world are 100-300 tracks 10-15 groups and perhaps ten or so different reverbs, and everything is automated all the time.
The size of my Fx design projects will depend on the complexity of the design in my experience.
And yes sometim s when the sounds themselves are created/designed using plugins it is easier to keep the different type of sounds in different projects.

The above is just how I look at it, others have vastly different ideas of how to do this.

I probably did not express myself clearly enough. I didn’t mean to get rid of the timeline. Of course you need a timeline for the individual sound effects then. What I was talking about is more a meta-layer, a management-layer where you can manage your multitude of project files and search for markers, jump directly into a project to a specific sound effect and so on. But on the level of individual sound of course go back to a timeline paradigm.

What I meant is there are 2 fundamentally different types of work.

  1. People who work on movies and shows, who can reference the video material and have one project where they mix everything together.
  2. People who work on individual sound effects. They are suppliers of sound effects for (1). They don’t adhere to the movie as reference, they work on individual little pieces. They create sound effects for the sake of it and don’t have a frame of reference.

My question is now: how do you organize when you’re doing work in category (2). Nuendo and other DAWs are good at keeping one big session open and manage memory and resources, so when you mix and edit a movie, you’re set. But I’ve seen people edit 1 sound effect per project file. So they would end up with 100 different project files for their game project. How do you manage that when you have to jump back and forth between different sounds, copy some elements of one sound to the other, trying to keep everything consistent. Then you have to do a change across dozens of them because of some project changes (happens often in games, at least for me). You have to open up 100 projects and change settings, naming conventions, sound character.

DAWs are not great at juggling dozens of project files simultaneously. Nuendo kind of copes with that in that it has only one active project and you can switch windows and copy stuff. But quickly listening in for reference is not possible, you need to activate and that is an overhead. It’s not practical doing this constantly. Within one project, DAWs do great work. But when managing dozens of project, keeping them consistent, batch-renaming markers cross-project to keep everything conform, they don’t work. Lot of manual work. So what’s the solution? That’s my question.

Do you put everything in one project then? Still you cannot efficiently manage and batch-rename or even search for markers.

So yes, in your TV drama you have 100-300 tracks. All in a linear fashion, so it’s kind of manageable to keep the overview as you always have the TV show as reference. You can jump to a specific time, part or scene.

When you create 100 sound effects plus variations for a game, you don’t have this reference. Building those sound effects that are comprised of multiple individual sounds themselves in one project file is hard to manage. In order to batch export them you’d need to place them in different parts of the timeline so each sound effect has its exclusive part in the timeline (so you don’t have to manage solo and mute individually per export).

Especially in games, where you create a bunch of effects only to find half of them need re-editing because they sound good but in the game don’t feel that great. There’s a lot of iteration going on, lots of back and forth, trying, mixing in the game engine, adjusting settings. So overview and quick turnaround are key. And for this, being able to quickly jump to a specific effect, manipulating it, searching and exporting a bunch of them back into the game is important. Currently, a lot of this happens manually.

I just find this way of working tedious. I’m longing for some means of better organizing, jumping back and forth projects quicker, renaming, searching, finding. Could I explain more what I mean?

Good extension of your question, and yes you are “right” but also a little bit “wrong”.

Right in terms of the fact that it IS hard to juggle all those files (N.B. Games is not at all the main part of what I do, and many others will have a LOT more experience in this area than me).

And wrong as there ARE ways to search for tracks or markers and events in Nuendo. It is not perfect but it does work (using the PLE).

Structure and naming conventions will also help. And having a clear structure would make finding the various sound iterations pretty darn quick so I don’t quite see the main problem that you do.
If you Know that MAGICSPELL-MEANMAN1-05 is a problem you will have to know what project it is in. Logically the magic spells will be in one project, and of course it’s name then ought to be MAGICSPELL. Then you can use the PLE to quickly locate the correct export marker which ought to be named MEANMAN1-05. Basically its two steps. If you keep all assets in one project then yes the processing chains etc may just be to convoluted. But this will of course be determined by the type of aset delivery you are doing.

If you are delivering to a game implementation then there is a very specific workflow you just have to adhere to. I have not yet explored the possibilities using the Perforce versioning sever solution, but I think it would also help quite a lot when dealing with massive deliverables to large games.

If you are making Sound effects to sell, then you just create your master files and sell them (yes a good system is of course still needed to be able to trace back to the original if a sound needs to be remastered because of a mistake, but it is not at all the same workflow ashen working with a game.

When working in a film or TV context most work will be within a context, either to picture, or creating specific type of source material for a location or a specific usage. So it will (most of the time) be relatively easy to find the correct piece of data.

But whenever we work with large datasets and many sound files it does become tedious. and of course sometimes when you do a mistake, or forget to correct that pice of data, then you are basically screwed.

I would almost argue that it is even worse in a film/tv context.Why? Because most editors do not spend the time renaming files according to their use (i know I don’t) so to find that exact combination of sounds used elsewhere you have to rely on your memory to locate to where it was last used. But as always, structure always helps in these situations.

Maybe try using a combination of Folder tracks, Group channels and Track Versions, and never put plug-in effects on the master outs, instead put plug-in effects only on the track inserts or on the Group channels. In this way, treat each bunch of tracks contained within each folder track as a ‘separate’ project within a project… to avoid having 100 different project files.

To manage such a project you could try using Visibility / Show Only Selected tracks (Right click in the Visibility tab of the Inspector).

RIP / Export might be better for this? Then you wouldn’t need to be timeline based, you could render as ‘separate events / complete signal path’ or ‘as one event’.

Would Track Versions help a little with this?

I think I understand what you mean. It’s pretty well explained above.

So how about adding markers as a Media-Bay asset type and then be able to open/locate to it?

In other words markers like audio files would be scanned by MB and end up in the database. When doing a search in MB the markers would show up (if selected) and then the option would be given to open that project and locate to the marker straight from MB. Perhaps this would cause databases to balloon to tremendous sizes if all markers were included, so perhaps a new type of marker could be created or filtering the inclusion to the database by prefix or suffix.

Would that be closer to what you’re looking for? It’s really the only addition that comes to mind that seems to address what you’re looking for.

Masterclass Sounddesign - James Mather

Yes, but there could also just be a search field in the Marker window. It would be easy.

I think Nuendo has some really powerful features and when you need a special solution, you can turn to the PLE or in Reaper you can script a lot if I’m not mistaken. That’s great for those special (edge-)cases and make Nuendo and Reaper super flexible for custom solutions. But you should not be required to open an extra editor window and configure custom queries in the PLE to do a basic search. It’s always an extra step. And unnecessary in my opinion.

Sigh… I know I’m complicated. But it bugs me to no end if I need doing something repetitively but have to open an extra window and click some query, especially if I could just stay in the marker window and enter a search term. I get angry a tiny bit each time I have to work around a simple solution. It adds up and I’m frustrated at the end of the day because I could be much further into my project than I managed to. It feels to me as if I’m building a small house with just a knife. Sure, you can do it, but it takes months. If you had the proper tools that empower your workflow, you could do it in weeks. :confused:

Yes, and a convoluted, complex project, where it’s hard to keep the overview means you spend more time hunting down signal paths to adjust a setting in an FX bus, manage channel visibility options etc. than making actual sounds. The management part gets really time-consuming.

I haven’t used Perforce but we use SVN on all our projects. SVN just helps exchanging project files, version them in case you screw up, and make sure no-one overwrites the work of somebody else. It doesn’t help with management within one project file or managing dozens of project files. SVN knows nothing of the internal logic of your project files.

This could be a wonderful solution that would be in-line with how Nuendo works today. Having Media Bay search for projects files by name and look inside of them, listing tracks, markers and being able to open that project and jump to that marker directly from Media Bay. Or, while listing channels and their plugins, being able to copy that plugin with settings or the complete channel strip to a channel strip in your current project without opening the project (and loading all resources). That would be quite handy I think, brilliant idea!

I have an idea for a specific sound effects design and export workflow that would make sense to me. I’ll post it later to see what you guys think.

Oh, I didn’t know this resource. It will keep me busy for a while! Thanks a lot Tim!

Erik mentioned above:

I think I am still a little bit at that point. You mentioned the idea that working in a timeline paradigm is not suitable for this kind of work but IMO the big problem is that the program has probably been designed with a timeline way of working in mind.

Using the marker window or the locate button in the marker track you can jump to markers along the timeline instantly, so you can already jump to a sound effect… which is, at least, part of what you are looking for, and I’m sure you already knew this. But as you mention above I guess you also want a search field in the Marker window (which seems like a good idea). And “having Media Bay search for projects files by name and look inside of them, listing tracks, markers and being able to open that project and jump to that marker directly from Media Bay” also seems like a good idea.

Just wondering… do you use clip packages?

Still not quite getting you on this. Why is exporting of multiple tracks an issue?

It would be interesting to see that. It would be good to know if your idea is an ideal workflow based upon changes to Nuendo, or the best workflow for the current version of Nuendo. (i’m guessing you are referring to the former).

Read the thread title, but sorry did not spent time to flip through all these long conversations.
I’m not doing monster size game designs, only your average TV stuff.
So I don’t complicate my life …I’m an old grumpy fellow coming from pro analog and tape… :blush:

You brought up " clip packages " and that is the only way I work if repeatable, easily searchable files are in need.
Have a template with bunch of tracks, groups, fxs sends etc…
I work from there to build my effects, export clip groups appropriately named and store them in a “custom fxs” folder.
Also, as I need to do quite a few foreign versioning all my announcement, contacts and similar VO’s get the same clip structure and can easily called back in a session…

just saying…

That’s the part where I haven’t expressed myself well enough. I should have said “creating dozens of individual sound effects in one monolithic timeline is not efficient”. When doing sound FX, each sound stands for itself. You share certain samples among them, yes, so it’s an advantage having all in one project to access sounds of a similar category (e.g. all fire magic sounds) quickly and copying samples between them / re-using elements. The point I wanted to make is, all you have is one timeline per project, so you need to spread out the sounds across the whole timeline for batch exporting. When you have dozens and dozens of sounds, then you have a 30 minute timeline of somewhat unrelated sounds. And hundreds of tracks. But in fact each sound effect only needs ~5 tracks and all the others are irrelevant to that one sound.

So when you optimize sounds for a game, it’s an advantage having all in one project as you can go and make changes to many of them very quickly, then batch export them again, copy into game and playtest. But having all in one project is hard to manage and keeping the overview is hard. You have to try keeping the overview, managing visibility of tracks and group and fx channels all the time. A lot of clicking. Or you split the sounds up in projects but then, as I said, you have to manage and juggle project files and open and close them if you, for whatever reason, have to jump around.

It happened to me in my indie game projects a lot. Suddenly some game element is changed, a dozen sounds need re-working or adapting. And when the time for polishing the game in the end comes, you go over your sounds and find some that aren’t quite right. Across multiple categories, and you want to make changes to many of them, arbitrarily as you hear them in the game, and improve them. It’s a lot of in and out of Nuendo, copying files, playtesting, going back, opening other projects, finding sounds, managing visibility and solos and mutes of tracks etc. I feel like I’m losing a lot of time there.

Ehm, nope. I guess I should read up on that.

Exporting multiple tracks is not a hassle per se. My thing is, the only way you can export a batch of sounds in an automated way is if you have one sound effect at any point in the timeline. When 2 effects overlap you have to manually manage solo and mute to export the sound you want, as Nuendo, of course, doesn’t know which tracks the sound consists of and which of those tracks it should take for rendering. You also cannot fold multiple tracks into a folder and then export that folder roll-up, if it overlaps with other sounds. And what name should the sound effect be given with the automated naming convention feature when a sound is layered over 5 tracks? The naming script doesn’t take folder names into account. The only way is to use marker names and exporting markers means there can only be one sound concurrently on the timeline, so you end up with a long timeline as every sound has its own time.

Hi Chris, Thanks for the detailed explanation which clarifies the issues. I guess you must be managing extremely large projects and I fully appreciate how that must be difficult over a ‘monolithic’ timeline, as you say. Just out of interest, how do you navigate to a specific marker for a sound effect? Do you use the locate menu of the Marker track?

RIP Export might help in some cases when you have to go back in and export individual sounds, (and if you need multiple tracks you can tick ‘Mix Down to One Track’ in the RIP window). In my opinion, this is sometimes more convenient workflow when export of cycle markers becomes awkward.

Sounds like a good way of using clip packages.

The joke is, I’m not! The largest project I worked on had 531 sounds. I guess it is a lot, but compared to huge productions it’s probably ridiculous. It doesn’t take an extremely large project to make all the little management tasks add up to be time-consuming. My workflow is extremely iterative and quick. I switch from Nuendo (create sounds, export) to the game engine (implement and tweak sounds) to the game (playtesting). And this extremely quickly back and forth. So I change contexts a lot and all the time. My brain is not very good at multitasking so by the time I come back to Nuendo after a 10 minute implementation and playtesting session, I first need to orientate myself in the project again: Where was I? Where was the sound I just made that needs changes (Nuendo always jumps to 0:00 when opening a project.) And where is that other sound I just noticed needs some work?

In small projects, you also operate on very thin margins. Small indie teams don’t have a big budget set aside for sound. So I hate losing time with management work. It flushes the things I try to remember, all the sounds I heard that need a tweak, the sounds I yet have to do away from my brain. It is distracting. And everything that is distracting annoys me to the point I get angry. Additionally I lose time I don’t get paid for.

The project where I had 531 sound effects was not one single project file. I split it up. But then it was annoying opening and closing projects all the time. There’s currently no ideal solution for me to this. I tried one sound per project, all sounds of a category per project, or all sounds in one project. It’s always a trade-off. I either try to manage overview or manage project files.

And to answer your question, I jump to my markers by clicking on the marker in the marker window. But when you have lots and lots of markers, it’s hard to find the right stuff quickly. Given the super small font the markers are displayed in, and given that marker names follow a naming convention that makes them hard to distinguish:

You don’t need 500 to make that annoying.

Yes I can see the difficulty there and the problem of similar names.

Just a quick thought. Have you considered using multiple marker tracks? You could use a ‘master’ marker track and a ‘working’ marker track.

The ‘master’ marker track has all the markers as you first conceived them.
The ‘working’ marker track is used whenever you are editing a particular sound effect. You copy its marker (ctrl c / ctrl v) from the ‘master’ to the ‘working’ marker track. When you come back into Nuendo later you can locate the sounds you’ve been working on more easily… simply because there are not so many of them on the ‘working’ marker track.

You could then either delete the ‘working’ marker track when you are happy with the sound effects you’ve worked on that day… or hide it. If you want to know when you worked on those sound effects you could name that ‘working’ marker track with the date.

Or you could use some similar system using multiple marker tracks. It might make managing 500 sounds a little easier. (You could even just use 5 marker tracks with 100 markers in each effectively dividing the project into more manageable dimensions along the timeline, or divide according to sound effect category).

Let’s see if I can put this together… I thought about how to make project administration and configuration more efficient and implement a workflow that would at least work for games, probably also FX libraries, and movie effects while working with what Nuendo offers today in terms of functionality. Give it a read if you like, it’s not short, but tell me what you think. Total bogus or some interesting points?

For individual sound effects work I would suggest a mind map UI. It’s easy as data format as it’s just a hierarchical list. You start with your project file, here named “Game X”. You can now add a hierarchy and structure your project. Below you see the categories Player, Enemies, Vehicles, and sub-nodes.

This is all just structure, there’s no sound or track in this project yet. Let’s add sounds. Sounds are marked in blue here so you know where there’s some content.

Clicking on a sound opens a timeline we’re all familiar with. Here you can work as usual: add tracks, groups, FX. Each node has its own (automatically created) group channel (yellow in my example) to add a compressor or EQ. Sort of like adding multiple tracks to a folder that simultaneously is a group channel.

Work on your sound, maybe add sound variations for a game.

When finished, seamlessly go back up one level to the structure view and dive into the next sound. It not only helps you keep the overview, the organisation also helps your orientation. You can quickly dive in and out of individual sounds while always keeping the overview, or regaining overview quickly when you come back to the project after your holidays.

If, at a later stage, your organisation doesn’t prove to be effective, just drag and drop nodes to re-arrange. Like I did here. I created a “Spells” node and dragged all player and enemy spell sounds into it if that’s better for this particular project.

Noticed the music icons? Without “opening” a node you can quickly audition any sound you see. Good after a weekend to quickly listen to and check the work from the week before. No unnecessary diving and clicking into projects, just click the audition button for super fast checking.

The numbers (1/4) mean that you’re auditioning the 1st of 4 sound variations in that sub-project. You can cycle through the variations by repeatedly clicking the audition button. This allows you to quickly hear if the variations you made fit together. As if they were triggered repeatedly in the game. Great for sanity check before you make the round-trip to the game engine. This can save hours of roundtrip time each week.

Overall, this “management layer” allows you to quickly get an overview of a project. For example, what sounds are still missing (no audition icon as there’s no content to play). Re-arranging, renaming, auditioning and diving into a sound for editing.

And regarding playing the variations: Multiple sounds in one node could be detected by looking at the “Folder Parts”. Each Folder Part could be interpreted as one sound event and be split up according to a naming convention when batch exporting. And also be used to jump between the variations when auditioning.

This hierarchy in the Mind Map view could then also be used in the naming convention editor. You could export sounds based on their hierarchy. For example <node_path>_<variation/marker name>

  • player_movement_footsteps_rock_01
  • spells_player_spell_1_01

Intelligent Visibility Presets / Track Enabling/Disabling
How could this be implemented in Nuendo? Behind the scenes, it could still be one timeline and one project for Nuendo. Those nodes in the Mind Map could be intelligent “visibility presets” that enable or disable tracks from view depending on the node you open. Only the tracks in the open node are enabled and visible. Everything else is hidden and disabled.

Intelligent Bouncing / Batch Exporting
Similarly, for exporting, you can select the nodes you want to export in the Mind Map view or just select them all. Based on the node hierarchy and naming conventions, Nuendo could export every sound and manage solo, mute, etc. behind the scenes and do a nice, clean export into a directory of your choosing, e.g. the game audio directory.

Managing Load Times of Projects
Because such projects could get big with tracks and plugins, Nuendo could dynamically load only the tracks that are needed in order to decrease loading times of big projects. Opening the project only loads the Mind Map structure, which is super quick. As soon as you click an audition button or open a node, Nuendo would load the necessary tracks and insert effects / plugins and then keep it in memory from there. So it’s very short loading times per node instead of waiting half an hour for a complete project with all nodes to load.

Further Ideas / Not Only For Single Sound FX
Nobody says a node only has to be a single sound effect with variations. As I said, a node is a normal timeline with all its features. A node (and its timeline) could contain a whole movie, too. Or be split up with sub nodes for reels, or scenes. Now this may not sound very sexy yet, but read the next item.

Further Ideas / Collaboration
Probably hard to do. But let’s imagine. Nodes could be a way of working together on a project over network or internet, in a whole team. Nuendo knows what nodes are open. It could lock those nodes when working in a team. Only the engineer that has the node open can work on it. Once the engineer’s done, the node gets unlocked.
Audio Directors could split up the project, creating movie parts or scenes and single special sound effects and distribute work. One could go into a node somebody else works on and view it in read only mode, or open the node you have permission to and continue working on your scenes or FX.

Further Ideas / Super Clip Packages
Nodes could be Super Clip Packages. Currently, Click Packs don’t save insert FX and they use existing tracks to be unpacked onto. Sort of a saved group of audio clips.
What if nodes could also be used as super clip packs. Instead of importing sounds onto many tracks, you could place a reference to another node in your timeline.
Imagine you’re working on a scene and either you or somebody else did a sound effect that is needed here. You could use Media Bay to search the local project for the node in question and insert a “reference” onto a track. This could look like this.

If anything needs to be changed, the original sound designer could just go into his/her node of the project and make the adjustments, automatically updating the master timeline for the scene.

Or if you’re a one man show, for quick access you could also just double click on the “super clip pack” and you’re taken to the node directly.

Like clip packs, nodes have pre-rendered audio bundled so it’s not necessary for Nuendo to load all the tracks and plugins when you put node references on a big timeline. This could keep project and memory footprint and overall system load small.

Further Ideas / Signal Flow
With this hierarchical view on things you really can do many cool things. For example, I find signal flow much easier to grasp in this grapgical style. At a glance you see where audio flows. Easier than looking through a long list of channels in the mixer, scrolling sideways and looking at the routing and sends areas.

Maybe it could even make sense to make the audio flow upwards to the root node by default. The root node would be the Master Output with all master inserts. Then, if I take the “Film X” example from above, there’s the “Special FX” node. You could put a limiter or compressor on there to process all FX nodes below it the same way. Basically, nodes would be group channels with automatic routing. You could grab a large number of nodes and move it below another node and have them all re-route automatically.

I think a mind map UI is easy to work with and understand as it’s very visual: create nodes, rename them, search the map, move entire structures somewhere else and instantly change routing that way.

All this is just an idea how workflow and collaboration could be improved. Personally, that would make my work in games a lot more efficient with the auditioning and structuring features. Good overview, quick playback of sounds, fast iterations by going in and out of single sound effects (stored in nodes), more intelligent (or more automatic) export and routing.

Just intuitively it would seem to me to not be so quick to recall sounds on a click/open project-basis. The more back and forth that’s needed between effects the more annoying it’ll get every time one has to wait for the loading. So in a sense I think it’d ultimately still be easier to contain one type of sounds within one project and at that point I’m also guessing markers is the way to go. This is just me guessing based on intuition though and based on my experience switching between projects…

… though my computer is like 4-5 years old and wasn’t top of the line when I built it… so… running off of an m.2 nvme drive and a fast CPU I’d probably have a different experience… maybe…

Agree. This puts a spanner in the works.

I read through most of your suggested workflow, which seems to make sense. In my opinion some kind of similar hierachical structure within Nuendo might be helpful but, of course, it remains to be seen how such a structure could be succesfully implemented. Where would it live within Nuendo? Do you see it as an extension to Media Bay?

Some might say we already have some of this within Media Bay and also if a project is organised logically and uses multiple marker tracks and other functions. IMO it would still be better to work in one large project for ease of access to all sounds.

It might also be valuable to know how you can get closer to your requirements using the functions Nuendo already has.

What gets loaded when is a technicality. I’m sure there’s a way of making this very efficient.

That’s for sure, implementation is key. My idea isn’t worth a penny, only a clever real implementation of this is. I think the structure DAWs are built upon can only go so far. Working in timelines has become so streamlined and good, there’s not a lot to get out of it anymore. I believe the big opportunities to save time is with all the tasks you do outside your timeline. I would like Nuendo to help me with the management of tracks, projects, naming, and keeping overview.

It would need to be a new part of the software. That’s the point. As our projects get more complex, organization gets more time-consuming while delivery times get shorter and budgets smaller. It HAS to be a new part of the software that re-thinks the paradigm of having a “single timeline with hundreds of tracks” where you have to manage track visibility, group channels, VCAs, mutes, solos and marker tracks manually. Companies concentrate on making the timeline a bit more efficient (Cubase 8.5 window layout hover zones, names of copied tracks are better). But I’m feeling as if this paradigm comes to its limits and doesn’t allow us to work any faster in the future (unless layout hover zones are saving you a lot of time?). We’ve hit a wall. DAWs are like work-horse spinning hard drives, they just physically cannot get any faster. SSD technology needs to come along for the next boost in speed.

I don’t know. I saw the videos Tim Heinrich linked, about James Mather’s Masterclass Sounddesign. I don’t know when he last worked on the Mission Impossible project, but to me he doesn’t seem have the overview over his project. He’s scrolling an awful lot around in his demo project searching for the thing he wants to show the class.

James said the he perfected his template over multiple years. His technique is having a huge template with 12 tracks per sound, 1 group and 1 VCA for control. 10 sounds and you’re at 140 tracks. That’s a LOT of scrolling for 10 sounds. My node idea would get rid of all that. He’d click on a sound node that has a proper, readable name, and could show the class how this one sound was built. And not explain in 2 videos how his audio flows through the channels, group tracks and busses because it’s so complicated.

I don’t want to bend what’s there with force to make it something it isn’t. DAWs don’t allow higher level organization and hierarchy of projects. I believe that, to cope with future project requirements, shorter timelines and competitive budgets, we don’t need new features within the timeline, but outside the timeline.

I think we need to evolve the management part of projects: dividing projects into logical pieces, better overview and search, intelligent and automatic creation of tracks, groups, folders, and visibility presets for game / FX library workflows, a hierarchical structure of projects that makes overview far easier than a single, linear timeline.

In Pyramix not every track is a channel (like with a fader, eq and stuff), you can have multiple track going to one channel (like if it was a group, but in fact, its not a group), and you can close and open those tracks in the channel with a single click as far as i remember. thats pretty cool and a real help for sounddesign purposes.

And there is another feature thats pretty cool too and would help you i think: you can select multiple clips/events and drag and drop them to the library, give it a name and save it. everytime you take this FX from the library your events are loaded in the timeline with all the events and the fades, trim, automation etc…

i hope one day nuendo will get those features! it really improves the daily workflow of sounddesigners.