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Audience perceptions of Foley footsteps and 3D realism designed to convey walker characteristics

Cunningham, Stuart; McGregor, Iain


Stuart Cunningham


Foley artistry is an essential part of the audio post-production process for film, television, games, and animation. By extension, it is as crucial in emergent media such as virtual, mixed, and augmented reality. Footsteps are a core activity that a Foley artist must undertake and convey information about the characters and environment presented on-screen. This study sought to identify if characteristics of age, gender, weight, health, and confidence could be conveyed, using sounds created by a professional Foley artist, in three different 3D humanoid models, following a single walk cycle. An experiment was conducted with human participants (n=100) and found that Foley manipulations could convey all the intended characteristics with varying degrees of contextual success. It was shown that the abstract 3D models were capable of communicating characteristics of age, gender, and weight. A discussion of the literature and inspection of related audio features with the Foley clips suggest signal parameters of frequency, envelope, and novelty may be a subset of markers of those perceived characteristics. The findings are relevant to researchers and practitioners in linear and interactive media and demonstrate mechanisms by which Foley can contribute useful information and concepts about on-screen characters.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 28, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 11, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 11, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 11, 2024
Print ISSN 1617-4909
Electronic ISSN 1617-4917
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Sound design, Foley, Audio features, User perceptions, Animation, Walk cycles
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