Positioning Beyond Room Boundaries


If you’ve ever worked with traditional surround sound panners, especially with those that provide panning to overhead channels, you may sense that the Canvas feels similar. An important difference to understand is that with conventional surround sound panners, speakers are at the edge of the room and it’s not possible to position a sound beyond that room boundary.

Hearing Distance Effects

In Spatial, Objects can be placed well beyond the room boundary. When this occurs, additional processing that mimics the physics of a sound from a distance are applied.


To hear this, you’ll move the bird even further to the right an additional 10 meters. It’s intuitive to grab the Bird Object and drag it to the right, but doing so runs the risk of also adjusting its front to back, Y axis  positioning. To control and limit movement to a single axis you can use the Object Manipulation Tool.

  1. Double-click the Bird Object.


    A 3D-axis is now attached to the selected Object. If you’ve worked with 3D modeling tools, this is a familiar control. It has arrows pointing in different directions.

  2. Hover the cursor over the red arrow.

    As you hover above the red arrow, it becomes highlighted. Dragging a highlighted arrow will limit the movement to that axis.

  3. Drag the red arrow to the right until the X axis value displayed in the inspector says 10 meters.


    Notice that when you moved, the movement was restricted to the X axis. You can see that the sound is clearly outside of the room boundary. Now take a listen to how the bird sound changes.

  4. Play the Scene.


    When listening to the bird sound, you’ll hear that it’s a bit quieter. Unlike a DAW, moving the position of an Object can impact the volume of a sound in a way that mimics how sounds further away sound tend to be quieter.
    To continue to move the sound further to the right, you’ll need to reposition the camera in the canvas.

    You can have the camera strafe left and right, or up and down. Using a trackpad, this is done by placing two fingers on the trackpad and dragging. If using a mouse with a scroll wheel, you can use it to strafe up and down, but horizontal scrolling is not possible. If your mouse does not support horizontal scrolling, it is recommended using a trackpad or any mouse with horizontal scrolling functionality.

  5. Using the trackpad or mouse, strafe the camera to the right and then continue to drag the bird further right to a value of 30 meters.


    Now you can really hear the change to the sound's volume, but if you listen closely, high frequency filtering is also being applied, making it even more believable that the bird is a further distance away. These changes to the sound due to distance are a result of distance effects that you’ll explore in greater detail in the next lesson.

    Now that you’ve moved the view so far to the right, you may not even see the speakers in the Canvas, making it difficult to understand just how far beyond the room boundary the Object sits. You can zoom out the Canvas camera to get a better overall perspective. To zoom, pinch in or out on a trackpad or if using a mouse, hold Option and while moving the scroll wheel.

    TIP: It’s also possible to rotate the camera by placing two fingers on the trackpad and twisting them left or right.

  6. Zoom out to where you can see the Bird Object and the entire room boundary in the same view.


    Now that you're zoomed out, you may quickly want to be able to get back to this perspective later in your work. You can save a Canvas view for a quick recall of that perspective.

  7. In the main menu choose View > Save Canvas View or press Command-[’].
    To test your setting you can return to the High Angle Camera view and then jump back to your saved Canvas View.


  8. Click the High Camera Angle view.


    You’re now back at the view that you started with. With your saved Canvas view you can now quickly jump back to that zoomed out perspective.

  9. In the main menu choose View > Show Saved Canvas View, or press [‘].


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