Parametric Wave Field Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation

Nikunj Raghuvanshi, John Snyder

ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG) - Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 2014 | , Vol 33

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The acoustic wave field in a complex scene is a chaotic 7D function of time and the positions of source and listener, making it difficult to compress and interpolate. This hampers precomputed approaches which tabulate impulse responses (IRs) to allow immersive, real-time sound propagation in static scenes. We code the field of time-varying IRs in terms of a few perceptual parameters derived from the IR’s energy decay. The resulting parameter fields are spatially smooth and compressed using a lossless scheme similar to PNG. We show that this encoding removes two of the seven dimensions, making it possible to handle large scenes such as entire game maps within 100MB of memory. Run-time decoding is fast, taking 100 microseconds per source. We introduce an efficient and scalable method for convolutionally rendering acoustic parameters that generates artifact-free audio even for fast motion and sudden changes in reverberance. We demonstrate convincing spatially-varying effects in complex scenes including occlusion/obstruction and reverberation, in our system integrated with Unreal Engine(TM).

Accompanying presentation material can be found here.

Parametric Wave Field Coding for Precomputed Sound Propagation

The acoustic wave field in a complex scene is a chaotic 7D function of time and the positions of source and listener, making it difficult to compress and interpolate. This hampers precomputed approaches which tabulate impulse responses (IRs) to allow immersive, real-time sound propagation in static scenes. We code the field of time-varying IRs in terms of a few perceptual parameters derived from the IR’s energy decay. The resulting parameter fields are spatially smooth and compressed using a lossless scheme similar to PNG. We show that this encoding removes two of the seven dimensions, making it possible to handle large scenes such as entire game maps within 100MB of memory. Run-time decoding is fast, taking 100 microseconds per source. We introduce an efficient and scalable method for convolutionally rendering acoustic parameters that generates artifact-free audio even for fast motion and sudden changes in reverberance. We demonstrate convincing spatially-varying effects in complex scenes including occlusion/obstruction and reverberation, in our system integrated with Unreal Engine (TM).