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Scenario: An Orc or Goblin creature you've spent a long time creating a palette of great angry, hostile and antagonistic effects for from different animal sources (dogs, seals, lions, bears, etc.) has a later scene which he needs to be comically scared or hurt and whining.

What do you do and how do you achieve a whimpering effect for a humongous scary creature? Record your own voice? Find trained dogs who can whimper on command? Does it matter if it matches the previous timbre of the roars and growls you have already created for the mean and scary scenes?

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I think that's a matter of taste on how well it matches. I've seen movies where a creature is clicky and chripy and cute, and out of nowhere becomes this roaring monster. It's funny because it's unexpected. I think you can achieve that either way - complete 180, or something that makes sense.

As far as a source - dogs are good. Mine whines, grunts, huffs, sighs - he's a goldmine of sad emotion. Also, find a friend with a baby.

The other option is to find a good creature voice actor.. someone like Frank Welker. I'm constantly amazed at the creativity and range of those kinds of voice actors. There's something to be said for naturally produced sounds vs. those that are mixed and layered.

Is this for a video game?

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  • Yes, a video game - I was just curious how people plan things out like that. You're totally right, the comic comes from contrast of big/angry-small/cute. – Utopia Oct 22 '10 at 1:07
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My memory on this is a bit fuzzy, but I believe that for the troll in LOTR: Fellowship, David Farmer used tiger, Canadian lynx, horse, and pig, then added a walrus moan to the mix (possibly replacing other elements with it) when it started to get hurt toward the end of the fight. It certainly doesn't come across as comical -- the contrast isn't huge, so it blends well with the previous angry roars -- but it absolutely sells the "injured" state of the creature.

The tricky part seems to lie in deciding just how much contrast to create -- if the difference between ferocious and hurt is too extreme, it may be funny but may also sound distractingly inappropriate for the vocals you've already established. Good for a children's cartoon; not so much for a serious game.

Agreed about dogs for "sad beast" source. Chuck recently released some great 24/192 dog source here: http://www.chuckrussom.com/2010/09/dogs-sound-library-now-available/ that has plenty of good whine sequences.

I've also found bear, fox cub, and human baby vocals to be useful for "injured" creature source in the past.

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