Houdini CHOPs used to Make Tech-Ambient Music

Link to 1-minute audio sample in Real Audio.- not available now

The historic first broadcast on the web of Houdini-created music was on Sept 20 by Dave Robert of Consciousness Lab. Houdini's CHOPs were used to synthesize and build all the sound layers in this piece that was broadcast on E;ectroRadio.

Houdini's ability to synthesize and mix sounds, edit samples, use and generate MIDI, and trigger notes was a half-deliberate side effect of the design of Houdini's CHOPs. CHOPs are a new part of Houdini that is a procedural channel editor, where channels are typically motion channels for 3D animation, but extend to include audio channels.

3D animation tools had not been able to create audio until the arrival of Houdini 2.5 in July 98. Greg Hermanovic, the principal designer of CHOPs, saw many parallels of motion editing and sound editing. He also viewed audio to be an integral part of making 3D animation. Having observed that about half of 3D animators have some music gear at home, it was clear that audio editing and synthesis had to be part of Houdini. Most animation tools simply load an audio scratch track as a reference for animating. Houdini goes as far as simulating the sound of 3D objects as they whoosh by a camera, complete with Doppler shift, distance and left-right level changes.

Dave Robert is a artist/musician and runs Consciousness Lab Ambient Sound Research in San Francisco. He also works as a customer support specialist for Side Effects Software, creator of Houdini. This piece is all synthesized with Houdini. There were no pre-existing sound samples or instruments. It's another example of the innovative uses of Houdini from artists exploring visual and sound media.