Animating Fire with Sound


Jeffrey N. Chadwick and Doug L. James

We propose a practical method for synthesizing plausible fire sounds that are synchronized with physically based fire animations. To enable synthesis of combustion sounds without incurring the cost of time-stepping fluid simulations at audio rates, we decompose our synthesis procedure into two components.

First, a low-frequency flame sound is synthesized using a physically based combustion sound model driven with data from a visual flame simulation run at a relatively low temporal sampling rate.

Second, we propose two bandwidth extension methods for synthesizing additional high-frequency flame sound content: (1) spectral bandwidth extension which synthesizes higher-frequency noise matching combustion sound spectra from theory and experiment; and (2) data-driven texture synthesis to synthesize high-frequency content based on input flame sound recordings. Various examples and comparisons are presented demonstrating plausible flame sounds, from small candle flames to large flame jets.

Paper | Citation | Video | Video (Youtube) | Press | Source Code | Presentation Slides | Acknowledgements


Jeffrey N. Chadwick and Doug L. James, Animating Fire with Sound, ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2011), 30(4), August, 2011 (TeX)

Source Code:

Source code for the spectral bandwidth extension and sound texture synthesis algorithms used in the paper can be downloaded here. The bandwidth extension algorithm is implemented in Matlab, and C++ code is provided for sound texture synthesis.

Sound texture synthesis: tar.gz | ZIP
Bandwidth extension: tar.gz | ZIP

See the README documents in each archive for instructions on how to compile and run our software.

Training inputs for the sound texture synthesis algorithm are selected from the Ultimate Fire sound library. Permission to provide a few of these audio clips as examples in our source code package has been generously granted by The Recordist.

Compilation of the sound texture synthesis routines requires the ANN nearest neighbor search library.

SIGGRAPH 2011 Presentation:

Keynote slides (zipped, 247MB)


The National Science Foundation (HCC-0905506)
The Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Intel (ISTC-VC)
Vision Research
Side Effects Software (for Houdini 3D animation tools and Mantra renderer)