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Humanization tips

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I have been working on a soundtrack for a game, a whilst I am generally liking the music I've come up with, it still sounds a bit too mechanical for my taste.

Does anyone have any tips for humanizing an orchestral piece within FL Studios? I already have done things such as basic automation of expression, velocity, proper orchestration, and changing the timing.

Thanks in advance

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Treat your virtual instruments like human players.

Visualize the orchestral setting.

Here is a really old example, but one I've used before:


In this little excerpt, there is a flute solo. After the intro, when the orch dies down, I visualize a situation where the conductor is has brought his hands in to conduct the small beat rhythm while watching attentively for the flute solo entrance. I imagine that the conductor is following the floutist and the rest of the orchestra (especially the bass pizz) is watching the conductor for their cue. This results in a delay from the beginning of the flute solo and the beginning of the rest of the ensemble. In the beginning of the solo, the flute is really not on tempo (partly, I imagine due to the nerves of the player during the solo, getting slightly lost in the melody, etc--use psychology) but when the rest of the ensemble starts joining, the players get more syncronised as they have more information about their cues. Finally, when the climax comes, everyone is together.

Humanization means making them human, and that process starts in your mind.

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Changing the timing and velocity is probably the most important part, but you have to do it right. Randomized note timing and velocity isn't gonna sound any more realistic than quantized single-velocity stuff.

You might want to make use of cc11, a midi control thing that works like the mod wheel except it's usually used to instrument intensity. Long sustained notes need this to sound more human. Of course, that's only if your orchestral sampler actually cares about cc11.

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