vector sound/audio waves
June 6, 2007 8:16 AM   Subscribe

How would I go about getting sound waves in to Illustrator?

I'm looking for an application (Mac or PC) that let's me export vector (or at least high resolution) sound wave graphics..

Any ideas?

posted by mrunderhill to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Shift Apple 4 on the mac will give you screen shots of the soundwaves then use the trace tool in Illustrator to create the vextors apologies if this info is redundant
posted by RecordBrother at 8:25 AM on June 6, 2007

Thanks RecordBrother. Do you know an app that generates simple, easily traceable soundwaves?
posted by mrunderhill at 8:27 AM on June 6, 2007

If you'd like, I can generate you a bunch of waves - just let me know what kind of waves you're looking for - email is in the profile. (I use audio editing software all day long for work)
posted by god hates math at 8:58 AM on June 6, 2007

Wow, that's a tough one. I know of no audio application that allows export of sound wave graphics at all, let alone in a vector format.

Best solution I can come up with is the above-mentioned screen-shot, then some selection-to-path operations in photoshop.

Why do they need to be vectorized? Are you going to blow them up to gigantic proportions? 'Cuz that would be cool.
posted by Aquaman at 8:59 AM on June 6, 2007

I worked on a Flash piece once that featured moving sound waves in sync with the narration, on an oscilloscope-like display.

To make this, i took the narration audio and opened it in the audio editor CoolEdit 2000 - no longer available, but any other decent audio editor should work, as long as it has a clearly visible wave display in a distinct colour. (your sample looks alot like CoolEdit)

It took some experimenting to find the right display height and resolution in the WAV editor, but once I did, i did screen captures of the entire narration (30 sec), advancing and capturing each new view.

I then spliced all these captures together in order, in Photoshop (producing a LOOOONG image), and through colour selection and filtering in Photoshop I was able to remove everything but the waveform itself, which you can then tint any colour you want.

This wave image was then saved out as a GIF and then imported into Flash, where I synced its start and move speed to match the narration. It was alot of work but the end result was pretty cool.

I hope at least some of this is helpful.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2007

This suggests Sox to convert to .dat and then plotting-package-of-choice (Gnuplot on that page).
posted by edd at 9:13 AM on June 6, 2007

Thanks for all the answers so far!

Edd, I think you've pointed me in the right direction..

Is there a Mac app that can take an audio file and turn it in to a data file of sorts?
posted by mrunderhill at 9:35 AM on June 6, 2007

You can export EPS files out of Praat. It's a great program, and free.

Just open your sound file using the menu Read -> Read from file and it will appear as an object; maximize the picture window, if possible, and make the selection box (the pink box) as large as possible; go back to the Praat objects menu and click the Draw... button; click OK and the soundwave will appear within the selection box in the picture window; then you can write to an EPS file from the File menu in the picture window. Sounds like a pain but it's pretty quick.
posted by cog_nate at 9:35 AM on June 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

Wow, cog_nate. That's an amazing app!

Thank you!
posted by mrunderhill at 9:52 AM on June 6, 2007

I was coming in to suggest Matlab if you have it (can export PDF) but the Praat option looks great.
posted by neustile at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2007

Matlab can export a meta file formats too (can't remember if it is cgm or wmf, or whatever). Post script too, I think, although that can be weird.
posted by Chuckles at 7:23 PM on June 6, 2007

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