Opening Spatial Studio

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Note: refer to the Resources page in Lesson 1 if you have not downloaded the associated asset files or created a Spatial account.


Spatial Studio is a standard Mac OS application that exists within your applications folder. If you haven’t yet installed Spatial Studio, refer to the setup page to download and install the software.

  1. In the Mac OS Finder go to Applications > Spatial Studio and double-click to launch Spatial Studio.

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    As Spatial Studio opens, if you’re not already logged in to your Spatial account, you’ll be prompted to do so. You must have a Spatial account to use Studio.

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    Once Spatial Studio opens the Scene Manager window will appear. You can close that for now as we’ll be coming back to it in a later lesson. 

  2. Close the Scene Manager.

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    Now, you should see the main user interface which displays three sections. To the left you’ll see a column at the top that says New Scene. This column is referred to as the Scene List, which is used to display all audio Objects and events within your Scene. Currently it’s empty, other than the Scene Root displayed at the top of this area. The Scene Root is the top of a hierarchical structure that encompasses the collection of Objects that will make up your Spatial Scene.

    In the center is a 3D view called the Canvas. By default it shows a default local Spacemap. This local Spacemap can be thought of as a virtual room that can be used to author and test your sound design without the need of multiple speakers in a physical room. The default Spacemap displays 20 speakers configured in lower, middle and upper layers with a virtual subwoofer in two corners.

    To hear your sound design through headphones or stereo speakers as if you were within the room, turn on Spatial Headspace. Spatial Headspace allows you to view and move a virtual listener’s position in the room, which in turn adjusts the audio output to stereo speakers or headphones accordingly.

  3. In the toolbar, click the Spatial Headspace icon.

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    This will reveal a dropdown menu with various options for configuring a binaural output to either headphones, internal or external speakers.

  4. Turn on the Headspace Selector (it appears as a slider).
    It may be on by default, as shown in the previous step.
    You can access more settings from Studio’s preferences window to determine how the virtual listening position is rendered. For this course, you’ll be using headphones as they provide the most predictable output. In the Canvas you also see a virtual listener icon appear in the center of the room. The position of the Listener icon can be moved, simulating a person walking to other parts of the room. Leave the Listener icon where it is for now, but you’ll be moving it around later in the lesson.

    TIP: If you move the Listener Icon, you can quickly get it back to its default position by clicking the Reset button in the Spatial Headspace popup window.

  5. Click the Spatial Headspace Icon to close the dropdown.

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    To the right of the Canvas you’ll see another column known as the inspector. This column displays various modifiable properties of any individual Object that is selected in the Canvas or in the Object List. 
  6. Click the Scene Root in the Object List.

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    Notice how the inspector now displays a multitude of properties related to the Scene Root. In addition, you’ll see an icon in the center of the canvas that also becomes selected. This visually indicates that the Scene, albeit empty, is anchored to the middle of the Spacemap. Everything you design in a Scene is relative to this origin point. While the origin can be repositioned off center relative to the speakers in the Spacemap, you’ll leave it here for now. The main thing is to understand that Objects in the Object list are represented in both the Canvas and the inspector.

    NOTE: The origin’s initial position is calculated automatically and takes an average of the entire Spacemap as its center. It is technically a true center relative to the available speakers, but placed at the ground plane.

    You may find that locating the Inspector next to the Object List can cut down on the amount of cursor movement needed when making adjustments. The order of the Object List, Canvas and Inspector can be changed.

  7. Choose View  > Cycle Inspector Panel or press Option-Command-I.
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    The Inspector moves to the left hand side.

  8. Cycle the Inspector once again.

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    The Inspector is now positioned between the Object List and the Canvas. This will be the layout used for the remainder of this tutorial.


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