Blog

Exploring the May the 4th Presets with Krotos Sound Designers Pierre Griscelli and Molly Isaac

Latest Blog
May 21, 2024
JJ Lyon
Krotos Studio
Blog

We deliver new presets every month for Krotos Studio, but have you ever wondered what goes into their creation?

For our May 4th presets, we pulled our sound designers away from their microphones and DAWs and asked them to demonstrate their creations. After all, who better to show the capabilities of these presets than the people who created them!?

About Molly Isaac

Molly Isaac is an award-winning sound designer based in London, United Kingdom. Outside of her work with us at Krotos, Molly composes soundtracks for film, theatre, television, and video games. 

While well-versed in all things sound, Molly feels most at home working on the darker side of sound. She’s known to be fond of horror, continuously evolving her style and experimenting with how far the boundaries of sound can be pushed.

About Pierre Griscelli

Pierre Griscelli has 20 years experience in audio, working on titles such as Batman: Arkham Knight, Rainbow Six: Siege, and Returnal. Outside of Krotos, Pierre is studying a PhD in Live Techno Performance at the University of Huddersfield.

Pierre  specialises in story-telling and crafting immersive universes, offering top-notch technical and artistic visions.

Molly’s Presets

Laser Door

You have pitch and intensity axes, and you can run it for as long as you want to go. There's an open sound, a close sound, and then a central section which loops the sound of the door.

You can change the layers you wish to add. Clicking opens the door, and you can hold for as long as you wish, and as you release, you hear the door.

Laser adds sizzle, and there's a rusty layer with squeaks and crunching to add age. You can change the pitch of the laser layer to explore the momentum and speed of the door closing and opening. 

The intensity can change too. I like the pitch range to be quite extreme to give more control over the door size.

Finally there’s a locking sound which you can trigger separately, and trigger individually!

Gameplay Pickups

A really simple preset. You have your alerts, which cycle through and produce new sounds with each click. Lasers and mechanism layers add tactility and character to the sound, and the cloth layer adds a physical Foley-realism element to the sounds.

This preset, unlike previous button-based Interface sounds, lets you utilise the X-Y pad to blend these four layers together for the perfect blend of elements.

Mechanical Giant

When you click down, the machine lifts its foot up, and when you release, the foot hits the ground. You can change the pitch for a simple way to control the size of the machine. The thump layer does not change as extremely as the other layers because you still want to maintain the bass hit of the step.

You can take the thump out entirely for a mechanical rattle, and you can add in rust and hiss layer for more character, and again, there is one layer in each corner, so you can move between them. It gives you four different types of these enormous sounds.

Laser Cannon

You have a rise and a hit interaction. Click down and the rise builds, then when you release, you have your impact. The rise can happen for pretty much as long as you want it to.

There’s four elements to the cannon: electricity, ice, cannon and explosion, which gives you four different characters of sound.

You can control the strength of the hit - higher values give more impact.

The mechanism adds a crunchy rattle to the sound. You can also add or remove the powering up element to just maintain the transient of the shot, and you can control the pitch of the rise and impact separately.

Finally, the reload button stands alone, offering some clunky metallic reload sounds separate to the pitch controls. But you can control the level of mechanical-ness of the reload with the mechanism dial.

So lots of controls, but that means lots of options!

Speed Racer

Speed racer puts you in the seat of a racing ship similar to a pod racer. There are four layers; engine synth drive and electro and you can combine and balance them.

The XY pad controls speed, from slow to fast, and if you want more speed and a wider range, the speed boost dial lets you increase the pitch even further for super high-speed sounds.

Finally you have an ignition button separate to the driving sound, and you can control the pitch of this separately.

Additional Points

I wanted to stay as close to the star wars sound world as possible. I imagined that people would want to have sounds as close as possible to star wars. I didn't use Ben Burtt’s techniques, as they are very widely understood and recognisable. But by following this blueprint, I was able to create sounds that sound like star wars, but can also be used with a lot of versatility for sounds outside of star wars. We want the sounds to be as usable as possible across a range of projects.

Pierre’s Presets

Electro Sniper

With the sniper, you have four layers, mechanical ,electrical, ethereal and engine. You can control the rise and release separately. Click to rise, release to fire. You can use any of the four corners individually, or combine for a nicely layered impact.

You can also control the length of the tail, for longer shots or shorter, more impactful ones.

There are a lot of variations in this sound, so the versatility of the preset is huge. You can make so many weapons with this preset by experimenting with the numerous combinations.

Energies

Energies was initially setting out to create the warpspeed sound. However, after some experimentation, I landed on this sound. It sounds as if there are a lot of starships whizzing past you.

The higher the intensity, the more of these whizzing sounds will be heard. You can really crank up or reduce the level of sounds with the density dial.

An interesting usage is when you increase the pitch. It sounds like bullet fly bys instead! So plenty to explore in this one.

Rolling Droid

Rolling droid is fun; it is a small droid navigating a sandy/dirty environment.

There’s two elements, the rolling mechanism and the droid vocals. Moving up and down on the XY pad controls the speed of the oscillation of the droid's movements, and you can make this sound thinner or heavier using the weight parameter.

The metal Parameter adds a metallic ‘clackiness’ to it, for a spiky mechanism sound.

For the droid sound, I created some random beeps and bleeps, much like R2-D2’s voice. You can couple this sound with the machinery for some really crazy vocalisations! Finally you can blend the two elements together and control the pitch of the engine and droid sounds.

Jetpack

My research for this was the bounty-hunter style jetpacks of star wars, but also the likes of James Bond. This is one of the presets that are created from purely physical sounds, rather than synths. It's a lot of fun to play with.

X axis is panning and Y is intensity/power. You can also add and remove the start and stop of the sound if you wish.

There are four layers: afterburner, jet, wind and electronics. And you can combine these together or use them separately.

Click to ignite the jetpack, and release to stop. You can also click directly at the top of the XY pad for a huge impact sound too.

Experiment with different motions; figure 8’s up and down, clicks.

Force Lightning

Force lightning is inspired by the electrical force power. Its hissy and crackly.

Control the intensity on the Y axis and the stereo Field on the X axis. The X axis is more subtle than a whoosh, and is more for movement in the space rather than a hard left and right pan.

There is also a hum layer, which adds some depth and power to the sound. You can add and remove this layer and also control the pitch.

Notes

I wanted to approach these sounds with a star wars inspiration; fitting into that world but also standing alone as a unique set of sounds.

Download Molly and Pierre’s powerful presets by logging in and clicking on the library tab in Krotos Studio