Pigments

Polychrome software synthesizer

The art
of sound design

Pigments offers hundreds of master-crafted preset sounds for you to explore, enjoy, and personalize.

To give you the best range of sounds to represent the awesome power of Pigments, we scoured the globe for the most adventurous, experimental, and down-right cool sound designers around. Trailer sound design masters to sample pack geniuses, highly respected recording artists to pioneering modular synthesists. They’ve all been busy making totally unique, massively exciting sounds just for you.

On this page, you can read - in their own words - what our sound designers thought about Pigments, its workflow, how they approached their sound design, and a little bit about their favorite patch.

Hailstorm

( Simon Gallifet)

Hailstorm uses low speed exponential FM to create octave jumps, which are duplicated by adding unison voices. Each duplicate is spread out in the stereo field, and this creates a massive sound with lots of movement and openness.

Simon Gallifet - on Pigments

About Simon Gallifet ↓

Being specialized in reproducing famous sounds in preset form, I can easily affirm that Pigments is able to recreate 99% of the sounds of any other synth. It’s the plugin that you can always open to create any sound. Part of my professional activity is teaching sound design. For me, Pigments is a great teaching tool that allows me to approach complex notions of sound synthesis in a simple way. Its architecture and its visual interface allows it to go very far into sound design while remaining clear and simple to handle.

I have 2 different approaches when I create sounds:

-The first one is to recreate existing tracks, meaning I never run out of ideas, and I can be sure that the presets are inspiring and usable in tracks.

-The second approach is to build a preset around a feature to explore the specifics of the synth and bring out its sonic uniqueness. This type of preset also appeals to users who want to learn by deconstructing the sound.

Dreamy Touch

( Marco Iodice)

Dreamy Touch is made of different layers. A koto string sample accentuates the transients, a granulated kithara sample brings a unique texture, and a triangle wave adds stability and body.

Marco Iodice - on Pigments

About Marco Iodice ↓

The main strength of Pigments is, in my opinion, the amount of synth engines that it provides, each characterized by deep and specific functions that elevate its sound design level to the stars. In Pigments it’s very easy to use and assign modulations and you have 9 slots in which you can insert high quality effects. You don’t need much more to make amazing music and sound design!

I usually organize the sound design process from the beginning, trying to define the timbral macro objectives that I want to achieve. I’ve been collaborating on the creation of presets for Pigments for a while now but, every time, I’m amazed at how many different and alternative methods I can utilize.

ELP Brain BASS

( Jeremiah Savage)

Night Tremor was my first preset created with Pigments. It has a nice expressive attack and is very playable as a stand alone sound. As it was my first sound, I took the experimental approach in its creation and was very pleased with the result and immediately became hooked. With Night Tremor, I carved out the tone in the Wave Table section, then used modulation with various wave table parameters. The combination of flexible modulation and deep wave table editing is not just powerful in achieving nice sounds but it’s a joy being able to get to that level, finding interesting and unique tones so quickly and easily because it means you can spend more time exploring even deeper possibilities.

Jeremiah Savage - on Pigments

About Jeremiah ↓

While learning Pigments and experimenting with various parameters, I quickly honed in on my favorite feature: the wave table editor. I always begin my synthesis work by crafting the wave unit first and work my way out from there. With Pigments, you can quickly get the tones and harmonics you need with it’s powerful features. I love using the different noise modulators in combination with simpler wave shapes to create realistic sounding instrument timbres.

My approach usually involves deciding on a theme and building the sounds around it. On new synths I like to explore possibilities and experiment to find a certain niche. With my 32 Pigments presets, I created a broad range of challenging tonal and musical pallets, and felt Pigments did a great job of meeting those challenges.

Space Pad

( Starcadian)

The foundation of this whole sound comes from a single waveform. When you animate the position, it creates this gorgeous harmonic that would oscillate between the IVth and an octave. After experimenting with macros, I found it interesting how with just one knob you can turn this from a soft spacey pad to a distant black metal guitar from space. I used Pad Enabler to segue in the harmonies, while using the Timbre with a bezier curve towards the end to intensify the finale. I peppered in little automation hills of wavefolding and phase distortion to give it some variation and intensity. Finally I use Time to alternate between a slow ambient sound to the faster arpeggio section.

Starcadian - on Pigments

About Starcadian ↓

Pigments led me down this wonderful rabbit hole of new exciting ways of manipulating the sounds and made me rethink what I was doing. I’ve always said that music should never be fully retrospective, or never fully futuristic. The real beauty lies in the middle. No one writes a new language for their next book. You take the existing language and use it in new interesting ways that touch real people. The best way you can do that is by using the right pen, like Pigments.

It’s funny how sound design works. You never know what the trigger will be. A “standard” way of starting out would be to try and emulate your favorite sounds build off that. With the right plug-in, you start with those intentions and veer wildly off-course. That’s when the real magic happens. Not only does that entire song structure change, but the meaning and vibe. That’s really lightning in a bottle and you can’t account for when and how that happens, other than making sure you use the right tool that lets you do that and accommodates your trip.

Basstastica

( Jörg Huttner)

I tested a Functions modulation to modulate the filter, which ended up sounding more like a sequence, which I liked. The aggressiveness comes from the wavetable’s sound though. Function 1 is the main sculpting feature of this sound. It makes the rhythm and filter movement. I combined hard parameter jumps in it with smooth and curved parameter changes.

Jörg Huttner - on Pigments

About Jörg ↓

Pigments is a very ‘visual’ synth. You immediately see what is happening with a sound and its settings thanks to its clear graphics. The easy setup of modulations makes Pigments fun to work with, and I especially like how you see modulations at work in the modulations bar. Combining Wavetables with “conventional” analog oscillators and using Arturia’s great sounding filters from various software synths makes for a powerful synth engine.

I always start with “init” sounds with any synthesizer I get my hands on to see what it can do. I checked out Pigments’ wavetables first to see which ones I liked best. Then I started to play with different modulation sources to scan the wavetables. From there it gave me an idea what type of sound I might go for. I always focus on making sounds very useful in productions and not to “show off” features. Sounds are tools for my compositions.

Glass Guitar

( Klaus Baetz)

My idea was to create a sound that somehow resembles a guitar and while starting pretty simplistic and soft, can be turned into an overdriven lead sound that has a strong 80s vibe with a synthetic attitude. Did I mentioned that I love Pigments’ distortion capabilities? Well, this is exactly what this sound is based on – putting two of the softer wavetable sounds through different distortion units.

Klaus Baetz - on Pigments

About Klaus ↓

I was super-surprised and happy about all the different ways that Pigments lets you shape and “destroy” a sound. Having all these parameters right at your fingertips is fantastic if you want to create sounds that really remind you of a plasma chainsaw on fire. The great thing is that the Arturia team also put in some of the most famous filters in synth history so that you have the chance to tame all the madness that you just created. It’s a great mixture.

As Pigments isn’t modeled after something else, I started the sound design process completely unbiased. At first, I created sounds that focused mainly on just one of the many strengths of the synthesizer like just the wavetable section or only the powerful modulators. But after a while everything kind of grew together and I constantly went back to what gave me the most fun and that was the different shaping possibilities.

Glitch Releases

( Matt Pike)

This was an experiment into musical uses of random modulation and how they could create a sense of call and response between the synth and player. The result massively exceeded my expectations. The feature which made this preset work so well was the quantized pitch modulation allowing me to restrict the random modulation to 5ths and Octaves, keeping the dramatic glitching harmonically safe.

Matt Pike - on Pigments

About Matt ↓

The feature sets of the wavetable and analog engines complement each other superbly, giving a very broad scope to the timbres that can be achieved. This, combined with the deep yet speedy modulation workflow, multiple filter models and extensive FX section really allow you to get mix-ready and expressive sounds. A personal favourite feature is the ability to quantize the OSC Engines and use modulators to create melodies and variation.

As there is so much variation possible in Pigments I had a very open approach to the sound design process. A common underpinning principle was always trying to stretch the musical idea as far as possible within each preset. This often made use of the extensive modulation routing to try and create layered voicings within the sounds and, because Pigments is not truly bi-timbral, this was always a fun challenge that often found me in new creative territory.

Exodar

( Ludovic Hourdebaigt)

This Preset is the result of an experimental approach. What happens if we use the Granular Engine to play multiple samples, from the same source, but with differents octaves played ? The granular engine was used to make this sound, by using the 'Time' knob, which allowed me to use it like an Arp-Seq. Many of the Pigment's Granular functions are really good for that kind of sound.

Ludovic Hourdebaigt - on Pigments

About Ludovic ↓

Pigments is the easiest advanced synth I have ever seen. It's really musically inspiring by design. The flexibility and the visualization of its modulations are what make Pigments unique. The new sample engine is well engineered, perfectly integrated with the other features.

All of my presets were made from scratch using the "Default" one. Thanks to Pigments it's quite easy to work like this. I want my presets to be modern, wide, big and clean at the same time. Because it's what we are looking for in cinematic music branch today. For creating my presets, I've looked over recent Trailer music, and their specific sound design, to make my own sound.

Grainanas

( Maxime Dangles)

I had the idea of having something that resembles what can be achieved with granular synthesis, with some clues to its jerky randomness. I started by modulating the volume of Engine 1 by an LFO, and then I created complexity by modulating the parameters of the LFOs between them. Each LFO has an influence on the other, and that's what creates the controllable instability that I like in this preset.

Maxime Dangles - on Pigments

About Maxime ↓

For me, Pigments takes all my favorite Arturia features like Functions, filters, modulations, and macros, and puts them all in one place. It is a huge modular system, because all parameters are assignable to any modulator. In addition, it is very easy to learn, use, and master because the interface is very logical and well thought out.

When creating sounds for Pigments, I did not have a single mode of approach. For me, it's like I'm in front of my Eurorack setup. I always started with a very simple sound, and then explored my particular desire at the time. Sometimes I started with the sequencer, sometimes with the assignment of LFOs, or sometimes with a search in wavetables.

Ksenija Ladić - on Pigments

About Ksenija ↓

I find the instrument to be very intuitive and visually beautiful to work with. All the new features and sounds are just amazing. I mostly got hooked on the noise engines as the colors of the noises were so soothing to me and sounding organic and natural. Sub oscillator is a welcoming add, it has a routing choice too. I also loved to play with the formant section of the harmonic oscillator engines, it lets you mould the spectrum. Jup-8 filter adds class, the multi-band compressor performs amazing and the pitch shift delay adds an extra kick in the SFX territory. The attack is faster than the blink of an eye. Combining the three engines you really get a powerful sonic tool!

As this was the first time creating sound design with Pigments, I just dug in and learned all the features exploring their possibilities. I aimed to create sounds that were given in the brief and also go for my favorite styles. My sounds turned out as classic sounding evolving leads, lo-fi and retro leads, as well as cutting edge basses and sequences. My method was to include the new features, other than that I fully went with my creativity

Fine Time

It is hard to say what is my favorite preset, their styles vary so much! Most fun when making sounds to me is to think about a movie scene or a concrete situation where I would use a particular sound, and then I just shape it until I get the feeling it would be perfect for the scene or the mood. This experimental sound could accompany a cartoon character from the future or a motion graphic design. I named it after a past fav radio show - 'Fine Time'. I wanted to make a combination of the new featured Harmonic oscillator and the noise engines, checking the filter routing split option. I couldn't have imagined this versatile sound in the beginning, so it was an experimental approach. Fine Time preset is based on the new Pigments 3 features - two new Harmonic oscillator engines and two noise engines. One harmonic engine gives the warm melodic base, the second engine adds the bass sound, whilst the noise engines put in the rawness and the gritty texture, you can play with all the layers using macros, try out the mod wheel too. What is also cool with this sound is that it is versatile due to the arpeggio styles and speeds. All rounded up with a sliding cutoff touch of the new Jup-8 filter. Takes me to a sonic fantasy world!

Tomorrow Never Comes

( Mord Fustang)

I wanted to make something calm and melancholic, not sure if foreseen, but this simple sound is what I ended up with. The sound is based on a sine wave, with a teeny-tiny bit of vibrato and basic wavefolding on the sound, plus just that slight portamento along with a nice reverb make this sound very effective, I feel.

Mord Fustang - on Pigments

About Mord ↓

The main strength of Pigments is the ease of mapping modulation sources to destinations. As a person who tends to be fairly lazy at times, Pigments has helped me get used to producing again regularly due to its user-friendliness. Getting started a new sound from scratch is just super easy. I also find the layout simple yet intuitive.

As far as my approach to my sound design work goes, sometimes I have a specific type of sound in mind I want to go for, be it an iconic sound from a 80s hit song, or a sound effect from a popular video game; other times I just go nuts on every knob I can until it sounds good to my ears.

Siren

( emptyvessel)

I set out to use the Granular engine to explore a recording of stirring a mug of Miso soup. From there informed experimentation takes over to layer and fine tune to create the finished playable patch. Heavy use of various randomising options & modulation give timbral variation. 3 samples in engine 2 are randomly selected each note plus vinyl noise and a transient from the Utility section.

emptyvessel - on Pigments

About emptyvessel ↓

Pigments’ main strengths are the great range of possibilities combined with an intuitive interface, timbral scope with accessibility. I found the sound quality of the various engines and fx immediately compelling and find Pigments a very enjoyable and rich sonic experimentation playground.

The various engines in Pigments offered scope for exploring a range of ideas, from re-imagining some field recordings using the granular engine to importing audio to create wavetables. I set out also to explore the new Harmonic engine, moving through cold glassy soundscapes to inharmonic metallic clangs and on to dusty lofi organs and electric pianos. The new Noise sources in the Utility section were very helpful for adding that “dusty attic” vibe I love.

Rustophon

( Thomas Koot)

The Rustophon preset was really a combination of an initial idea for a brass-type patch, and Pigments guiding me in the direction of the final preset. For the attack of the brass sound, I initially wanted to use noise to emulate the breath. I then tried FM synthesis with a non-integer carrier/modulator ratio to create something noise-like for the attack. This gave the sound a really nice attack, and made the patch almost feel ‘real’, its decaying envelope made the sound more playable to my ears. The patch has such a nice raw texture!

Thomas Koot - on Pigments

About Thomas ↓

Pigments has a wonderful combination digital synthesis methods and analog-style filtering. Using only digital synthesis like FM en Phase distortion can sound cold or harsh. By running the sound through the Moog filter for example, you can obtain textures that have an incredible real-world quality. The combination of digital synthesis and analog filtering can yield a wild variety of sounds since the sonic possibilities of the wavetable synthesizer are virtually endless.

I also like the straight-forwardness of Pigments. For me, sound design is really something that happens in dialogue with the synthesizer. If I were to improvise on a piano or on a guitar, the result would be different because the physical and sonic particularities of the instrument will send me in a certain direction. The same happens with synthesizers; the particular sound, lay-out and functionality of a synthesizer invite you to use it in a certain way. So I start out with a more or less clear idea of what I want to make, and then synthesizer nudges me in a certain direction. The result will be some sort of compromise between my original idea and the influence of the synthesizer.

Hang My Keys

( Lily Jordy)

This is a highly expressive preset using hang drum samples, MS-20 and Comb filters, and Rainforest noise. The mod wheel adds a bass note and changes the filter parameters subtly. You can hear the FX and Time Macros being increased slowly until the sound drifts into space.

Lily Jordy - on Pigments

About Lily ↓

Pigments has always felt like an endless horizon of possibilities in terms of sound design, but I felt a bit limited when browsing the factory samples. I was really happy to help Maxime, our Pigments sound design lead, in selecting new samples for Pigments 4: natural noises, world instruments, folk guitar etc. to create warmer, more organic presets. Now you’ve got the perfect basis for lo-fi, hip-hop, and other hybrid genres to come forth!

I’m a big fan of the Harmonic Engine in Pigments, and I wanted to carefully craft the macros so that the complementary engines to the samples are there to enhance and embellish the ’real sound’. Since I haven’t made any Pigments presets since 2.0, my approach was to simply make beautiful presets that easily fit into a track, that inspire and make you want to tweak with precision and care.

Gustavo Bravetti - on Pigments

About Gustavo Bravetti ↓

If I had to choose just one synthesizer for my studio, that would be Pigments. With all its synthesis techniques and effects, its sound palette is so broad and rich that I can’t think of a sound that can’t be achieved with it. The icing on the cake is the seemingly endless modulation system, with its visual feedback that makes complex modulations super easy to understand and follow.

For the Pigments 4 factory library, I focused on exploring and combining the new features. I certainly abused my favorite ones, the MS-20 filter, and the Shimmer reverb. The MS-20 has a unique character, making sounds fatter just by adding it, and the Shimmer is a must for cinematic pad sounds. They are so inspiring and versatile that I used them in most of my sounds.

Super

Super comes from experimenting with the unique Super Unison effect's retrig function resulting in a super thick, piercing attack. It uses three oscillators from the Analog Engine through an 8 voices Classic Unison and then through an 8 voices Super Unison FX resulting in 198 voices!

Tobias Menguser - on Pigments

About Tobias ↓

I love the modulation possibilities at the oscillator level! So much great and crazy sound shaping possibilities on top of a really cool wavetable collection. The filters, partly from other Arturia products like SEM are so great, and combined with the oscillator possibilities this is a sound designer’s dream synt

I began my Pigments sound design with an early version without all wavetables, which was great to make the best out of the already existing, but limited features. Basically I wanted to create very organic, "never sounding the same" patches. My favorite types of sounds are keys and pads in Pigments, but I didn’t plan to create those specifically.

Cartel

( Robert Dudzic)

My goal was to create individual sounds with a strong identity that would work for many different genres. At the same time I still wanted them to have my personality, they should be sounds that I would want to use in my own projects. For example when I design organ sounds, then I want to give it the body of an organ, and have that warm cathedral-like ambiance. But I want it to sound slightly off, this way it stands out, and will make people wonder “what is that?”. It almost forces them to pay super close attention when they’re playing the patch.

Robert Dudzic - on Pigments

About Robert ↓

I directly clicked with Pigments, and while playing around with it I was able to make sounds that will fit perfectly into my work for movie trailers. The powerful sound engine, the clean interface, and the powerful tools, which are available to transform your own waveforms, are great. I’m able to import my own waveforms, and turn Pigments into my own instrument, allowing me to create my own unique sounds.

I don’t have a specific way of doing my sound design, to me it’s all a journey. I let my imagination run free, and let the natural flow take over.

DarKhristian

( Cubic Spline)

I had an idea of a creepy cathedral organ sound by discovering the unison chord feature. I made it change during the chord, starting as a power fifth and going into a minor chord. Then I told myself that a sad creepy layer in the high could be great and that's when I experimented with the wavetable engine and its FM to get that sound. After that, it was just a question of putting the right modulations in place to make is as creepy as possible.

Cubic Spline - on Pigments

About Cubic Spline ↓

Pigments is quite flexible, and quite frankly I'm really fond of the possibilities of the wavetable engine: exponential FM, linear FM, the multiple phase modulation modes, same for phase distortion and wavefolding. Combined with the countless modulation capabilities with the LFO, envelopes, functions and so on, it's perfect for what I like! I love the "Highlight" feature: it's perfect for beginners to see which parameters will have the biggest impact on the sound, but also when I design patches for a track, I add tips and reminders for myself… ‘remember to tweak that when you'll be arranging the track’. That way, a few weeks later, when you do the arrangement, you can still remember what you had in mind when designing the track.

While I had some specific sounds in mind when creating my Pigments presets, I also let myself "float and follow" when discovering the wavetable engine, and sometimes it was more about finding a nice preset around a particular, unique feature

Grimmers Lake

( Solidtrax)

We knew we wanted to make a lush lead sound with a subtle edge, but we did experiment a bit with the different synthesizer engines before we ended up with this particular sound. With Grimmers Lake, we used a basic wavetable sound and we added frequency and phase modulation, phase distortion and wavefolding. The tape delay and reverb gives it a lovely spacious feeling.

Solidtrax - on Pigments

About Solidtrax ↓

We really enjoy Pigments because it combines a very easy workflow with lots of tweakability and a fantastic sound. Version 2.0 introduces even more features that synthesizer freaks like us really love! The sample engine with granular capabilities make it even more versatile than before and the addition of FM and unison to the analog engine is very welcome too, as is the undo/redo feature (thank you!) And did you hear the tape delay already? Wow!

When we created presets for Pigments, most of the time we let the synthesizer guide us. It showed us all his strengths and unique features and we build a sound around that. We do often create sounds for a specific genre, but for Pigments we decided to make all kinds of usable sounds that fit much more than just one type of genre.

Drum Biscuit

( Richard Veenstra)

I had some sequenced drum patches in mind and wanted to try out how far I could stretch the engine of Pigments 3. The basis consists of 6 samples which are all randomly picked by a turing machine. With the four macros, aftertouch and the mod wheel you can shape the sound and even change the rhythmical structure of the patch.

Richard Veenstra - on Pigments

About Richard ↓

Pigments is amazing, it’s such a versatile synth and everything you would want to do regarding sound design is possible. The new Harmonic engine is a great addition and the internal effects sound great. The visualization of all modulations is a great help when you want to see how a patch is constructed.

I tried to make use of a lot of the new features including the Harmonic engine, the new wavetables and the new samples. All sounds feature aftertouch, velocity and mod wheel assignments. Combined with the four macros, the user can drastically alter the original patch.