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Sound Design for Digital Media

Code: MM0034     Acronym: DSMD

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Communication Technology

Instance: 2017/2018 - 2S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Web Page: https://sites.google.com/a/gcloud.fe.up.pt/dsmd/
Responsible unit: Department of Informatics Engineering
Course/CS Responsible: Master in Multimedia

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MM 24 Syllabus 1 - 6 45 162

Teaching - Hours

Recitations: 3,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Recitations Totals 1 3,00
Eduardo Miguel Campos Magalhães 2,00
Rui Luis Nogueira Penha 1,00

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


1) Knowledge on the historical background and vocabulary of sound design.

2) Provide contact with 
the nomenclature, working methodology and main tools of sound design for digital media.

3) Application of sound design to the creation, manipulation and transmission of sound content for visual media, with emphasis on cinema and games.

Learning outcomes and competences

After successfully finishing this class, the student will be able to:
1) Know the history and vocabulary of sound design.
2) Know the main platforms, techniques and methodologies of sound design for digital media.
3) Work in sound design for digital media, with emphasis on sound design for cinema and games.

Working method



1) History of Sound Design:
a) foley;
b) music for cinema;
c) soundscapes;
d) semiotics;
e) theoretical models.

2) Sound perception and immersiveness:
a) psychoacoustics and cognition of hearing;
b) sound manipulation techniques;
c) spatialization techniques.

3) Technological platforms of sound design for digital media:
a) recording techniques;
b) editing and mixing with a Digital Audio Workstation;
c) affects and audio manipulation: reverberation, equalization, noise reduction, amplitude manipulation, etc.;
d) introduction to digital synthesis for sound design;
e) introduction to mastering;
f) integration of sound design in tools for game development.

4) Practical applications of sound design for digital media:
a) in cinema;
b) in games.

Mandatory literature

R. Murray Schafer; The soundscape. ISBN: 978-0-89281-455-8
Chion, M.; Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, C. Gorbman, trans. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994
SONNENSCHEIN, DAVID; Sound Design, Michael Wiese Productions, 2001
Ekman, I.; Modelling the Emotional Listener: Making Psychological Pro- cesses Audible, Proc. AudioMostly 2009, Sepbember, Glasgow, Great Britain., 2009
Andy Farnell; Designing sound. ISBN: 978-0-262-01441-0
Blesser, B., & Salter, L.-R.; Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, MIT Press, 2007

Complementary Bibliography

Álvaro Mendes Barbosa ; orient. Prof. Doutor Xavier Serra e co-orient. Prof. Doutor Sergi Jordà; Displaced soundscapes
RUMSEY, F.; The Audio Workstation Handbook, Oxford, Focal Press, 1996
ZAZA, T.; Audio Design, Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall, 1991
Lastra, J. Reading; Writing, and Representing Sound, n Altman, R. (ed.) Sound theory, Sound practise, Routledge, 1985

Teaching methods and learning activities

This course unit is composed mainly by practical applications of the sound desing methodologies, with some comprehensive seminars on the theorical program contents.
The practical projects are developed both as laboratorial work and outside contact hours.


Native Instruments Komplete
Izotope RX
Audiokinetic Wwise
Waves Audio
Digidesign Protools

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Participação presencial 35,00
Trabalho de campo 20,00
Trabalho laboratorial 45,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 30,00
Frequência das aulas 45,00
Trabalho de campo 20,00
Trabalho laboratorial 70,00
Total: 165,00

Calculation formula of final grade

Evaluation Formula: 0,45 * Proj1 + 0,20 * Proj2 + 0,25 * MiniProj + 0,1 * AC

Proj1 - Group project 1
Proj2 - Group project 2
MiniProj - Individual assignments carried out during the semester 
AC - Continuous assessment

Classification improvement

Substantial improvement of the final assignment or presentation of another assignment previously approved by the professor.


Classes will be taught in English if there is foreign students or if it is deemed necessary (e.g. presentations given by foreign professors). Students can either present their assignments in Portuguese or in English.

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