Image of SoundFellas Technology Logo FocusBlur.


FocusBlur™ is a delicate psychoacoustic process that defocuses the signal of directional sources in soundscape or music material, producing a difficult to localize result with a subtle in-front focus, perfect for scene ambience, music, and non-diegetic material.

Table of Contents


What is FocusBlur™

FocusBlur™ is the result of decades of working and experimenting with spatial audio. It came from reversing the process we use to create contrast between the correlated and uncorrelated parts of a signal with spatial information.

By reversing the spatial contrast of the audio material, we get a defocused version that is the equivalent of the blur effect in graphics.

Blur is used in graphics to move the background out of the viewer’s attention so that the graphic designer can direct the viewer’s attention to the important elements of the image. This is a common practice for backgrounds in photography, graphic design, game level graphics, and film.

In the same way, FocusBlur™ can be used in audio compositing for ambience loops, environmental background noise, drones/atmos, and even music material, to minimize spatial contrast and to move some material on the perceptual background, leaving more space for the important elements of the sound experience to grab the attention of the audience.

Image of SoundFellas Innovation FocusBlur Poster.
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A simple example

To get a good idea of how FocusBlur™ works, imagine that you want to create the soundscape for the scene shown in the pictures below. This could be a video game, a movie, or any media that combines audio and visuals.

You already have the sounds for the skateboard, and you want to add a loop for the background ambience. Possibly a loop with recordings from a park, with people walking around, talking, etc.

Ordinary background noise

Image of FocusBlur example of scene Skateboarding in the park FocusBlur Off.

In general, the possibility to have the various recorded sources positioned in the place your visuals are is highly unlikely.

Your audience might hear more people on the right together with the seagulls, and if you turn that around, everything goes to the left, while in your visuals, the seagulls are on the right.

Your camera work, and even worst in games – the player’s free movement,  will not match the movement of the recorded material, head-locked or not.

Also, many elements of the background noise are not important, not as much as the main subject’s Foley and any sounds that need attention.

FocusBlur™ processed background noise

Image of FocusBlur example of scene Skateboarding in the park FocusBlur On.

By using material that is processed with FocusBlur™, for your background noise, you can easily give the character of the setting your scene takes place, surrounding the audience with all the sound elements, but without stealing the focus from the foreground sounds or having to care about combining the direction of the audio with the visuals.

You don’t have to care about any other details, drag-and-drop the background layers in your project and it will perfectly fit in your scene.

It’s that easy.

The spatial audio equivalent of Impressionism

Having the background elements defocused to give your main subject the complete attention of the audience while maintaining enough detail that represents the background, is not a new thing. It has been used in the visual arts for ages. It’s called “contextual aesthetics”, and you can see it when the film director focuses on the main subject/character of the movie, while in games, you experience it in the form of what is called a “sky box,” not always containing just the sky. In visuals, the “depth of field” is one of the most used techniques or effects.

Processing the elements that you will use as the background of your sound composites through FocusBlur™, allows you to create an acoustic depth-of-field effect between your background and foreground sound elements.

That way, you psychoacoustically boost what matters the most in your storytelling. You are directing your soundscape as a director does with a visual scene.

Image of focusblur example of painting soleil levant by claude monet.
The painting titled “Impression, soleil levant”, created in 1872 by Claude Monet, set the name of the artistic movement which is known as ‘Impressionism’. As illustrated by the impressionists, we can communicate the generalities of a subject, by blurring the forms and colors, and also normalizing the luminance. FocusBlur™ applies the same principles in sound.

Main FocusBlur™ advantages

Boost immersion

Our brains already distinguish and classify information as important or unimportant every fraction of the second.

By using background ambience and music processed with FocusBlur™, together with any significant sounds added on top, you free your audience from the cognitive load by creating enough contrast between the focused and defocused layers of your audio, making the experience more engaging and boosting immersion.

Use with music and soundtracks

Music is used in game and movie soundtracks as a non-diegetic layer and by using FocusBlur™ in your music tracks, you allow all the important layers of your audio to pop out, while at the same time, you surround your audience with music.

More advantages

More advantages of using FocusBlur™ material are:

  • Create a better acoustic interface for your end user by psychoacoustically separating the foreground and the background layers of your audio composite.
  • Allow the listener to focus on the important parts of your experience without burying the background which plays an important role in immersion and virtual presence.
  • Combine background ambience with visuals without the need to sync every audiovisual detail.
  • For interactive media, allow the highest degree of freedom to the end user without breaking the suspension of disbelief.

Who benefits from FocusBlur™

Sound library users

If you use our Sound Libraries, then you are in luck. Our Ambience Kits, Production Music, and Designed IRs libraries as well as any asset from other libraries that could benefit from a defocused version, include a FocusBlur™ version of the assets along with the original ones, so you can create the perfect acoustic background.

Echotopia and DMDJ users

The factory contents of Echotopia and DMDJ include content processed withFocusBlur™ to ensure that the users can instantly create immersive soundscapes.

Game developers, filmmakers, and videographers

Game developers, filmmakers, and videographers can use our Sound Libraries that feature FocusBlur™, or we can process your audio assets before you use them in your project.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more details on our services and our very accessible pricing.

Sound librarians and media publishers

Suppose you are a sound library producer, a sound library publisher or store owner, or a stock media publisher. In that case, you can take advantage of FocusBlur™ to create alternative defocused versions of the content you produce or publish, adding value for your customers and a unique selling proposition to set you ahead of your competition.

We offer FocusBlur™ as part of our Immersive Audio services for both sound librarians and media producers. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more details on pricing and white-label options.

VR, AR, MR, and XR experience producers

As a virtual, augmented, or mixed reality producer you already know how important is immersion, after all, you are working in the most immersive field of media.

By using our Sound Libraries to create the audio layer of the experience, you have access to the included version of the assets that have been made using FocusBlur™, making it easy for you to separate the background and the foreground elements of the sound.

In case you already have audio content, we offer FocusBlur™ as part of our Immersive Audio services, so we can create defocused versions for all the assets you would like to use as the background of your acoustic scene.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more details on our services and our very accessible pricing.

Software developers and music instrument creators

Perhaps you are a software developer creating audio or media tools, embedded applications, or audio tools and music instruments (virtual or not), and you need to separate your audio content into background and foreground elements.

We offer FocusBlur™ as part of our Immersive Audio services, so we can create defocused versions for all the assets you would like to use as acoustic backgrounds.

Please get in touch with us to discuss options.

Producers and service providers

Suppose you are an audio producer or a production studio leadand you would like to offer FocusBlur™ as a service to your clients, creating a unique selling proposition that gets you ahead of your competition.

We can provide you with FocusBlur™ related services as a silent partner or an official affiliate.

Please get in touch with us to discuss options.