Creative Mac


Harry Marks

 

ABC movie

One of harry's designs

OPINION SEPTEMBER 20 , 2000
Road Hog:
Road Hog Blues [Page 3 of 4]

You can tell the difference in approach from the moment you arrive at Sonic Desktop's Web site, which heralds, "SmartSound: The Powerful and Intuitive Way to Create Soul-Stirring Soundtracks in Minutes." The basic building blocks tend to contain full ensembles, including orchestras. Sections are clearly intended to serve as beginnings and ends of various sorts, with a variety of middle sections as well.

The intent in general is to build compositions of a very, very specific length, with a beginning, middle and end. As a producer, you might need a section of music exactly one minute and 42 seconds long, and another that's 2:12. Using SmartSound, you can build actual songs of precisely those lengths, including precisely the same song with the only distinction being their differing lengths.

Because they're built on full ensembles, the compositions you build in SmartSound can take on a much wider range of styles. While ACID includes styles as diverse as hip-hop, techno, ambient and DJ—okay, I'm being a little hard on them, but those are actual style names—SmartSound includes everything from swelling, cinematic orchestras through country and western. More than this, you can build music to lay underneath narration, to serve as a soundtrack or even stand alone and, in the latest version, even build looping compositions.

If you're building loops for a living, ACID is the tool of choice, but for creating actual music that can loop when you need it to, it's SmartSound all the way. You can load all the components onto your Road Hog and feel like a composer as you build real music on your laptop.

Three more quick points. One, even though it's cross-platform, everything about SmartSound feels like a Mac. You have to love that the Mac version is at a higher number, too. (1.6.5 compared to 1.5.5 on Windows). Two, I can't emphasize enough that this is real music. The folks at SmartSound take real music and magically find a way to break apart into organic pieces that re-assemble every bit as organically.

Three, we have a SmartSound user forum for this remarkable product here at DMN, in the Worldwide Users Groups area, The WWUG. That forum is hosted by Harry Marks, a fan of the product who just happens to also to be one of the most influential graphic artists of our time. Ever seen a fly-through three-dimentional logo or oversized images that pull back into the screen to reveal themselves? Just a couple of the many visual elements that Harry invented over the years, pretty much creating the field of motion graphics as he went along. Harry is one of the dozens of amazing hosts you'll find in the WWUG, and SmartSound is one of the coolest music applications you'll find anywhere.

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