21 March 2009

Instrument Isolation (Funky Worm)

This is how I isolated the main instrument from Ohio Players' Funky Worm using Photosounder and Photoshop, as show in this video. I first loaded the original sound's image into Photoshop and using the clone tool I erased the lines matching to the instrument I wanted to isolate. That new image, once loaded in Photosounder in lossless mode using the original sound, gave me this drums and vocals-only version :

Back in Photoshop, I pasted the new image on top of the original one, switched to 16-bit mode for precision, corrected the gamma for both of them so they match to 1:1. However beware, Photoshop's Levels makes dark pixels darker than they should be when you increase the gamma, which has disastrous effects on pictures as dark as what we have here. Which is why it's best to invert the pictures so that their background turns to white before doing such corrections. Once inverted, you need a value of 2.0 in Levels' gamma, on both layers, then choose the Difference blending mode, flatten the image, invert again, apply a gamma of 0.5.

We now only have the bits we previously erased, and we can see what has to be done. With the example I chose I had entire missing areas matching to where the snare drums used to be, burying the overtones of the instrument of interest into noise, making them disappear. The fact that I used an MP3 as a basis only made matters worse. I also had things that didn't belong, mainly pieces of voice I mistook as belonging to my instrument. The rest of the work consisted in cleaning and fixing the image, using my best Photoshopping skills.

Note that when you're done, you might want to double-pass the processing to obtain a result more faithful to the actual image you obtained. To do that, normally load the image in lossless mode in Photosounder with the original sound as a basis, save the resulting sound, then open the very same sound file again, reopen the image, and save the sound.

Isolated main instrument

Edit : In this file you will find the original sample used as well as the two images needed to recreate the results shown above, along with detailed instructions on how to do that using the Photosounder Demo or the full version of Photosounder.

Also you can find a tutorial on how to reproduce this here

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Anonymous Djazz said...

Good job. It was very interesting...

March 23, 2009 12:36 PM  
Blogger Francesco said...

Wow! Impressive.

Definitely a trend setting technique being pioneered here my friend. Keep on.

March 23, 2009 2:26 PM  
OpenID gigdoggy said...

very nice work man

March 24, 2009 1:02 PM  
Blogger Jay Ru said...

is this going to be available for mac?

March 25, 2009 10:14 PM  
Blogger Michel Rouzic said...

Jay Ru : yes, I'm working on it, it will be a matter of a few months at worst (you never know with software development).

March 25, 2009 10:57 PM  
Blogger The Black Gestapo said...

I think I'm ready to buy it after 2 days of non stop trying it out. Another great tool to be creative...

March 26, 2009 9:54 PM  
Anonymous JUKE179r said...

Man... this would have came in handy back in the days of westcoast G-Funk. lol
Impressive. Very... impressive!

April 13, 2009 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would you mind putting up the isoloated funkyworm sample for download? would be appreciated..

uncle fil

May 15, 2009 3:25 AM  
Blogger Баян said...

yeah looks like a revolution in dealing with samples
just stunning

May 18, 2009 2:57 PM  
Blogger Michel Rouzic said...

Uncle Fil : There it is http://photosounder.com/blog/2009/03/funky_worm_isolated.mp3

May 19, 2009 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if all u get is a buzz sound when u first upload the sound image from photo shop to photo sounder does it mean that i erased to much of the wave lines?

uncle fil

May 20, 2009 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also when i turn on the lossless mode on photo sounder the sound that comes out is a short buzz sound. what am i doing wrong?

uncle fil

May 21, 2009 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is not working man wtf

October 25, 2009 9:42 AM  

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