A computer programme created by an Edinburgh University student, which takes normal speech and coverts it into a monster growl, is being snapped up by top TV, film and games makers .
Converting an actor’s voice into a monster sound is a timely process however thanks to Orfeas Boteas’s Dehumaniser application, the conversion can now be down in real time meaning a human voice can be morphed into something more grisly as it is spoken.
The 27 year-old explains how the programme, which went on sale in November last year, works: ”Dehumaniser really solves a problem for sound designers. Ordinarily one growl of a monster can take up to 8 hours to create. It’s also expensive because you need to layer sounds which you have to record or use sound libraries. With Dehumaniser, not only can the designers create the sounds in real time, the sounds can be generated by the actors themselves. This can be created in seconds not hours. By using a microphone you make the sounds in real time using your voice.
“The Dehumaniser prototype was my final project for the MSc Sound Design at the University of Edinburgh. After receiving positive feedback from people that watched the video demonstration, I decided to offer the prototype online for anyone to use with very successful results. After receiving great feedback from acknowledged professionals in the film and game industry I decided to work on a commercial release. The university’s help allowed me to work on this full time. As a result I became an entrepreneur.”
The Edinburgh University student has seen his concept, released by his company Krotos Ltd, has grown to become part of the production process of some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
“Making a professional version of the prototype with a very low budget and to have garnered such a great response from professionals was an achievement.
“The product has been purchased by major companies in the game and film industry and has been used in several series and video games, such as Animal Planet’s big foot, Fox’s sleepy hollow, ABC’s 666 park avenue and Turtle Rocks’ Evolve. We also have many clients from the industry whose names can’t be disclosed.”
Orefeas says he was given assistance by University of Edinburgh to turn his idea into a commercial venture.
He said: “I went to see Paul Devlin at LAUNCH.ed who really helped me realise the value of the product and gave me ideas on how to start a business out of this. After 9 months of extensive research and development, I started an internship at LAUNCH.ed at the University of Edinburgh. With their valuable help, we finished the commercial version and I incorporated Krotos Ltd. On top of that the University of Edinburgh invested in my company, covering expenses for the commercial release.
“The University’s program helped me develop a company and release the commercial version. Additionally I got valuable advice for every hard decision that I had to make and they gave me access to funding while assisting me with the application process.”
Orfeas says that developing a mobile application will be key to the company’s growth.
He said: “The main target is to grow the company and hire the right people in order to make a powerful team. The plan is to keep improving the software and create unique sound design tools that can contribute to the audio professional community and improve the process of designing sound effects. On top of that, there are plans for creating versions for mobile devices that could be used by every day users.”
Student entrepreneurs at the University of Edinburgh receive dedicated support through LAUNCH.ed, an award-winning information, advice and mentoring service established by Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the University’s commercialisation arm. ERI delivers a comprehensive range of services to support entrepreneurial staff and students in establishing new enterprises that have the potential to become major players in their sectors as they grow and employ more staff. This high level of support has helped University of Edinburgh staff and students set up 171 new businesses in the past five years.