Sound in After Effects

December 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Thinking & Practice Tutorial 02/12/13

There are many things you can do with Sound in After Effects. To experiment with these elements a sound file was imported into After Effects and placed into a new composition. To play the sound either the full stop key or  the RAM preview tool can be used – pressing the spacebar will not enable the sound to play.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 13.57.41

To see a visual representation of what the sound file looks like, look at the waveform menu under the sound file. One thing that can also be done is adding a solid to the composition then dragging markers out to specific points in the sound file by using the work area at the top. If they are dragged out to where the beat drops, it will indicate where to add animation over the top so it is in sync with the music.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 14.02.57

Double clicking on the markers allows a comment to be added – this could be used to create dialogue or add lyrics if the animation included lip sync. If a new solid is created, dragging it (using shift to constrain it) along the timeline will make it move with the sound file. This gives a basic understanding of creating markers using a beat.

The other thing we were shown was how to automate animations with sound. In the ‘Effects and Presets’ toolbar, search for ‘Bass & Treble’ – clicking on this allows you to alter the settings. The ones used in this particular exercise were ‘Bass (100)’ and ‘Treble (-100)’ –  converting the audio to keyframes after this gives a new layer called ‘Audio Amplitude’. If it is renamed to ‘Bass’ it allows us to look at a different layer that takes purely the bass from the sound file. This action can be repeated for the treble setting (Once the treble is made at the settings 100 and bass is reduced to -100).

This setup can now be used to drive an animation. A new red solid was created and a constrained path was added before applying a stroke effect to the composition. The paint style was set to ‘On Transparent’ then the brush size to 10, as the ‘End’ setting is dragged back and forth it draws out the path for you. If  the expression pick whip is dragged to the bass layer and the timeline is played, the sound directly influences the movement of the path.

 Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 14.12.02  Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 14.18.46

The solid was then reduced to a square and duplicated into a green one. Right clicking ‘Position’ in the layer and then going to ‘Separate Dimensions’ creates two different components for that layer, one for the x axis and one for the y axis. This generates two separate animatable elements within that layer. If the expression pick whip is dragged towards the treble layer then the shape will move according to the treble in the sound file. The intensity of this can be adjusted as well to make it fit within what you want to create. Once linking the bass layer with the other shape it is clear to see that they act differently when the sound file is activated – this is because each shape is linked to a different component. The bass works on a lower frequency so does not allow the shape to move as much – the opposite applies to the treble, enabling it to move more.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 14.27.03


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