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Sound Particles - The Revolution in 3D Audio Software

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SoundParticles (Sound Particles - The Revolution in 3D Audio Software)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2020-09-01 do 2021-10-31

The Problem:
The entire entertainment industry (cinema, videogames, VR/AR, TV, music) is rapidly adopting 3D sound as a better way to immerse their audiences and offer superior experience. Unfortunately, existing audio software tools that are used to create sounds for the entertainment industry, continue using a 2D audio approach, which is very limited for 3D audio work because of the inefficient and costly workflows.

SoundParticles is a disruptive 3D audio software that uses computer graphics techniques applied to audio. Combining particle systems techniques with a 3D CGI-like engine, SoundParticles generates thousands of sounds to create complex soundscapes, enriching the audio results and achieving an unprecedented realism in the audio software. In other words: we create sounds like never heard before.

We provide the world’s first native 3D audio software combining CGI & audio techniques to create a new audio standard. Our software creates the most realistic sound effects allowing perfect coherence between image and sound due to its true 3D CGI integration, while increasing the productivity of audio professionals: up to 24 times faster to create complex sounds (cost reduction) at best value for money.

Importance for Society:
The right 3D audio tools can unleash the true power of 3D sound, making entertainment much more immersive in Cinema, TV, Videogames, VR/AR, and Music, improving the experience of audiences.
Also, these tools will bring a certain democratisation factor, allowing lower budget productions to achieve better results in terms of sound.

Overall Objectives:
By the end of the project, a full 3D audio solution will exist, allowing audio professionals to work their productions natively in 3D, overcoming the limitations of traditional 2D audio software.
Besides the technical developments of the software, the business development must be taken into consideration, to allow the viability of the product.
Sound Particles software continued to grow in terms of features with additional support for audio recording/editing/mixing, MIDI, audio plugins, control surfaces and GPU render.
- Sound Particles 3D audio engine was redesigned to allow the new audio and MIDI features.
- An audio editor was added to Sound Particles software, to allow the user to edit audio clips.
- Basic audio editing actions (e.g. trim) are also possible on the time editor view.
- A mixing panel view was created, to simulate the look of audio mixing desks, allowing users to better mix the several audio tracks.
- The concept of MIDI tracks and MIDI clips were added to the software.
- Support for external audio plugins (VST, AU) were added to the software, both in terms of audio effects and virtual instruments.
- Sound Particles now supports control surfaces (MCU)
- Triggering in real-time of audio sounds are now possible, using any 3D speaker layout.
- A significant part of the render process can now be done using a GPU, releasing the CPU for other tasks.

Work was done to create a sound marketplace for Sound Particles, both in terms of the cloud and in terms of the Sound Particles software.
- A cloud solution was developed on top of AWS.
- Sound Particles software is now able to search assets of the cloud and use them on the project.
- A special client software exists for Marketplace partners, which allows partners to create new sound collections and uploading them to the cloud.
As deliverable, we provide the installers of the current Sound Particles version under development.

Videogame Integration
Integration between Sound Particles and game engines (Unreal, Unity) is now possible.
- An audio engine were created on top of Unreal and Unity game engine, capable of rendering 3D audio, with support for Doppler and air propagation eq.
- A file format were created to allow a better integration between SoundParticles and Unreal, allowing audio assets from SoundParticles to be easily imported into Unreal.
- Sound Particles is now capable of monitoring in real-time what happens on the game engine, using a monitoring solution that connects through the network, receiving in real-time information (including video and wireframe) of what happens in the game.

Sound Particles has now a Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows third party developers to create extensions (plugins) to extend the features of the software.
- Ability to import/export custom audio files
- Ability to create custom audio effects and custom virtual instruments with 3D sound
- Ability to control multiple features of Sound Particles (transport, tracks, etc.)
- Ability to use custom views to show any 2D or 3D contents

Commercialization & Dissemination
- Sound Particles was present at some physical and online events with an exhibition stand.
- In terms of traction, Sound Particles continues to be used in big Hollywood productions, been used in movies like "Frozen 2", "StarWars 9", “Dune”.
- New resellers and a new distributor were added.
- Business development meetings were done with some companies, including Netflix, Samsung, Google, Dolby, Avid.
- Several marketing campaigns (including email nurturing) were done, testing different approaches.
- Much more activity was added to our social media channels (tutorial videos, articles, interviews, etc.)
- Two Patents were submitted
- A Global Market Report from Insight Partners, regarding 3D audio, projects a market of $15B in 2028 and consider us as one of the top 10 companies in the field.

Project Management
In terms of project management:
- Required equipment was bought, including the audio studio, which is required for fully testing of Sound Particles software.
- Professionals were hired for the project.
- User stories and similar software development documentation was written.
- Managing "Covid" situation, to prevent significant impacts on the project.

End of Project
With this project, Sound Particles became an even more powerful audio tool for audio professionals working on the entertainment world, with highly advanced features.
Also, it allowed our business to develop, with Sound Particles becoming a recognizable brand in the market.
With all this, we truly believe that Sound Particles company will flourish in the upcoming years, with an accentuated growth in the next 2 years.
Progress (beyond the state of the art):
- Sound Particles is the only native 3D audio software that exist on the market.
- Sound Particles is becoming a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) but is the only native 3D DAW.
- Sound Particles is able to support most 3D audio formats (channel-based audio, binaural, ambisonics).
- Sound Particles is the only audio software to support particle systems in a 3D environment.

Expected results (until the end of the project)
- Sound Particles can replace existing DAWs, with most of their features, but allowing users to work in 3D.
- Sound Particles will provide some audio features that no other software includes.

Potential Impacts
- Better use of 3D audio will exist in the entertainment world, through the use of Sound Particles software.
- Increase of immersion on movies, tv, videogames, music, and similar entertainment projects.
- Better adoption of 3D sound in the world.
- Better audio quality in entertainment projects, in all budget ranges.
- Decrease of the difference between audio quality in low-budget productions and high-budget productions.
- Increase of Europe's role in the worldwide entertainment market.
Screenshot of "Sound Particles" software
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