Krotos’ vocal processing software helps monsters, demons and aliens come to life in real time.
You've probably heard Krotos’ work without even realising it. If you’ve watched blockbusters such as Avengers: the Age of Ultron or TV series such as Sleepy Hollow, or even played AAA games such as Doom or Diablo, you’ll have heard creatures voiced by their innovative software, Dehumaniser.
What is Dehumaniser?
Dehumaniser has been used in:
- Avengers: the Age of Ultron
- Disney’s Jungle Book
- Conjuring 2
- League of Legends
- Sleepy Hollow
- Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot
- Sonic the Hedgehog
Creating monster and creature sounds for the entertainment industry can be a time-consuming procedure. It involves recording various animal sounds or the human voice, then syncing them with the moving image to create the desired sound.
Dehumaniser is a sound tool that makes the process instant. It’s designed to produce studio–quality sounds by using multiple layers of sound manipulation techniques simultaneously.
Aimed at sound designers, engineers and sound artists, Dehumaniser can be used for films, video games and theatrical performances.
It’s increasingly being used as the software of choice in the industry, as it allows workflow customisation, reducing time and effort to complete sounds design projects as well as providing an attractive reduction in associated costs.
“It’s exciting designing software that can help the development of games and can make the procedure of designing sounds more efficient and more fun,” says Orfeas Boteas, the CEO and founder of Krotos.
Krotos has also developed a mobile app version of Dehumaniser, which allows users to speak into their device and have their voice transformed into a monster’s screech or growl instantly.
From Athens to the Athens of the North
Orfeas started his career working as an audio engineer in post-production in Greece, but he knew he was more interested in doing sound design for films and games. He started looking for a suitable course and found that the University of Edinburgh offers a world-leading MSc course in sound design, so he decided to move to Scotland to develop his skills.
Orfeas developed Dehumaniser in 2012 as part of his MSc project.
“I had recently worked on a project where I needed to design monster sounds, and I mainly used a combination of different software, voice and animal sounds. Then I came up with the idea of trying to design a real-time application for this purpose.
"The MSc gave me the opportunity, the knowledge and the facilities to achieve this target,” says Orfeas.
After a video he posted online began to generate interest in the software, he started giving it away for free – but it was clear that the idea had commercial potential. That’s when he decided to develop the professional version.
He got an internship at the University of Edinburgh followed by a Royal Society of Edinburgh fellowship, which was supported Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s main economic development agency.
“The fellowship allowed me to develop my business, invest money back into the company and meet customers,” Orfeas says.
The right support for growth
Support for Krotos didn’t end with the fellowship. The company has received funding support to develop Dehumaniser II, as well as business development support from Scottish Enterprise’s high growth start-up programme.
Scottish Development International has also helped the company attend global conferences like the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in order to meet new global customers and partners.
Due to this support – and the growing popularity of the Dehumaniser in the games and film industry - the company has grown from three staff to 10 in the past year.
“I think Edinburgh is a perfect base for tech start-ups - there's great support and lots of grants and programmes available. I don’t think the same level of support is available anywhere else in the UK," says Orfeas.
What Krotos does is very specialised and over and above the talent coming out of the University of Edinburgh, people from around the world have been drawn to work with this exciting company. For its staff from the US, Greece, France and of course Scotland, Edinburgh has become home.
“Edinburgh is a great place to live. It has beautiful architecture, the festival and it combines the choices of a big city in a small scale. You can walk or cycle everywhere and the airport is only 30 minutes away from the centre with direct flights worldwide,” says Orfeas.
What’s next for Krotos?
Want to find out more about Dehumaniser? Visit the Krotos website.
May 2016 saw the release of Dehumaniser II, which gives users the ability to move copies of the software between studios and sessions with ease, providing freedom within working environments. It also includes a vastly expanded sound library of monsters, robots and animal sounds.
Most recently, the company released Dehumaniser Simple Monster, an easy-to-use version of the software that you can control with your iPad.
The company is also developing versions of Dehumaniser for game engines that can run in real time in the game, so you can manipulate sounds within the game as you play.
This time next year, who knows which cutting-edge producers and engineers could be using this innovative software for their films or games?
“We’re always hearing about new games or movies that use our products, which is exciting. Many of our clients are based in California because a big part of the film and games industry is based over there,” says Orfeas.
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