In After Effects, you can convert sound into a visual element by turning dialogue or music into a waveform visualization.
In the past few years, YouTube and Netflix have seen the rise of explainer videos that aim to break down complex topics through simple, engaging graphics. If you’ve ever watched one of these videos, you’ve probably seen an animated soundwave. It’s a common animation technique used to fill space when a journalist calls a source over the phone and doesn’t have any visuals to accompany their voice on-screen. And using Adobe After Effects, you can use it in your videos, too!
The sound wave effect works with any audio elements, so you can use it with dialogue, music tracks, or sound effects. Just drag the sound into your After Effects composition to begin.
How to Create a Sound Wave
- Press the “L” key twice to see your audio waveform.
In the timeline window, press “LL” on your audio file. This shortcut allows you to see the audio level at every time over the course of a video. In the areas where the wave is high, you have more sound—so these areas will work well when creating the sound wave animation.
Looking at the audio waveform, you might notice the sound does not start until a couple seconds into the composition. Drag the audio file back and forth in the timeline until it begins at the correct point. For this tutorial, I made sure the sound started right at the beginning of the timeline.
- Create a new solid.
The color doesn’t matter! This layer will become invisible when we apply the effect in the next step.
- In the Effects and Presets window, apply the Generate > Audio Spectrum effect to your solid layer.
Drag this effect onto your solid layer in the timeline. In the “Effect Controls,” set the “audio layer” to the name of your audio file.
- Manipulate the settings until you create something you like.
In the effect controls, you can change the color of the wave, as well as its roundness, length, height, and various other settings. “Frequency bands” refers to the number of bars that the spectrum creates. “Softness” refers to the blurriness of the outside color you choose. Below, I used a lighter blue shade for the “inside color” and a darker blue shade for the “outside color.” Using 50% softness, this gives the entire waveform a glow effect.
With your cursor in the timeline, press the spacebar to play your composition back and see how the audio wave looks in motion! (And to learn more about the other effects you can generate in After Effects, see the full list here.)
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How to Add Audio in After Effects
Working with audio files in Adobe After Effects would be challenging since it is basically a visual effects and motion graphics software, but audio can be added to a video in After Effects by the following method we are going to introduce in this guide.
The process can be time consuming and may have room for error when you add audio to video in After Effects. If you are looking for a much more efficient and easier method to add audio to video and do some basic audio editing such as Audio Mixing, Aucio Equalization or Audio Ducking, you can try Wondershare FilmoraPro, which is one of the best video editing software for semi-pros with many versatile options as well enhancing the overall user experience. Download it to have try (Free).
How to Add Audio in After Effects
1. Start the program and open a new project.
2. Import the files in the project panel. Mute the video sound if neccesary
3. Import the audio file to the project file as well (that is required to be added).
4. Make sure to convert the audio file to .mp3 format.
5. Drag and drop the audio onto the composition.
To preview the audio in After Effects, enable the audio in the timeline first and then Press cmd+0 on Mac to preview.
6. Adjust the audio settings. Double click "L" on you keyboard to show the audio waveform.
Check this video tutorial to know the details on adding, adjusting audio in After Effects
5 Best Audio Editing Software to Add Audio to Video
1. WavePad from NCH Software
This is definitely one of the most popular editing tools because of how simple and easy it is to use. It is great for beginners who need professional-level editing tools. It is possible to use any audio format on this software including MP3, WMA, OGG, VOX, GSM, etc.
2. Audacity: Free open source audio editing software
This is free software that works on multiple platforms and supports multi-track editing and even live audio recording. It has a very simple user interface that makes it easy to learn on and get used to while offering professional features and ensuring the best quality.
3. FL Studio 12.1.2
This digital editing workstation is definitely not for beginners. Trained professionals who are familiar with editing software will not have a lot of trouble adjusting to this format. This is a professional tool that offers a convenient platform for editing and mixing.
4. Adobe Audition
Here you will get a mix of simplicity and professionalism. It is easy to get used to but progresses in complexity with time.
Wavosaur is an old tool that doesn’t run on most modern computers and laptops. But it does offer many features and methods of processing for audio clips.
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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How to choose and add music to a video in Adobe After Effects
Music sets the mood of your video, creating an immediate link to your viewer. Choosing the correct music for your video is key to achieving its intended purpose.
A technically well-produced video with poorly chosen music can feel unsatisfying. Conversely, a video of lower technical production quality, but just the right music, is magically transformed from boring to captivating.
How to choose the music right?
When you’re just getting started, don’t be too concerned about tonal qualities like major/minor keys or guitar vs piano. The music you select will be decided largely by the genre and purpose of your video. When choosing the music you should consider the following tips.
1. Documentaries, Calls to Action, Informational or Corporate
To avoid song lyrics competing with voice-overs, the best choices for these are instrumental pieces of the appropriate mood.
Genres have subcategories. A documentary about Vanishing Mountain Gorillas is asking viewers to feel the plight of the gorilla. A documentary about an aging rock icon should feature the music of the rock legend.
If you need a corporate track, find it here.
2. Sports or Action-Adventure
High energy, upbeat music tracks are perfect for these videos and help to draw the viewer into the action, helping them to feel the adrenalin rush of the moment.
Explore the collection of action tracks to get inspired.
3. Wedding or Special Occasion videos
Appropriate music choices for these may be favorite songs of a marrying couple or beautiful piano instrumental pieces. Holiday or culturally specific events such as a Bar-mitzvah are best with selections familiar to or associated with the culture or holiday.
If you're looking for a background instrumental music for wedding video, check out this Wedding Music collection.
4. Drama or Romantic
These videos express a wide range of emotions; music should rise and fall with the action of the videos, well-chosen music will peak at key times such as conflict resolution. Elsewhere, music moves the story along keeping the viewer's interest.
For sad and dramatic royalty-free music tracks, go here.
Inserting audio with Adobe After effects
Adding audio or music to your video in After Effects only requires you to point & click, drag & drop.
1) In the standard workspace select FILE.
2) Next select IMPORT.
3) Then select FILE from the dialogue box.
4) Locate desired audio files such as MP3, .wav. Click filename once to select.
5) Click IMPORT to add to the project. The selected audio file will be added to the After Effects project media panel.
6) To insert the chosen audio clip in your video, select the audio file from the project panel and drag and drop to the project timeline.
Editing sound level
1) Click the audio dropdown.
2) Click Audio levels and waveform.
3) Click DB to adjust the levels. 0 is the baseline. Below 0 = lowers volume.
4) To Lower volume in certain frames, position marker at the beginning frame, click keyframe marker ♦ to insert beginning point.
5) Position marker at endpoint and click ♦ marker to insert endpoint. The volume will be lowered between the beginning and ending markers.
How to detach audio in after effects
For this action there are several options, you need to duplicate your track with a clip
turn off opacity using the icon as shown in the picture, now you have audio and video track, on the video track you need to remove the sound and you're done.
The second option is to export the file to Adobe Audition and then export it as a .wav file, so you will save a few points.
A few closing notes
If you plan to render your video with the sound, it’s a good idea to convert MP3 files to .wav files. Mp3s can be squirrelly when output with the final project.
Finally, remember it’s a process and will get easier with time. Relax and try to have fun with it!
How to edit audio in After Effects – 5 skills every Creator must know
Adobe After Effects is the tool of choice for video pros looking to create visual effects without a ton of manual work. That said, remember that your viewers’ ears are just as important as their eyeballs when it comes to catching and holding their attention. If your watch time is dipping, using these quick and easy tips to edit audio in After Effects could be the change that makes your engagement skyrocket.
You can even use After Effects to create visual effects based just on audio, but first, you need to know the basics.
1. See what you need to see
Because of its video focus, After Effects doesn’t always show you all the information you need for your audio. If you only want to see audio levels for a given clip, press the L key. This lets you make sure you’re not pushing audio too loud and causing clipping.
If you want to get hands-on with the waveform, you can do that too. Press LL, and you’ll see just the waveform. This can be handy for precisely lining up sound effects with visual elements.
2. Preview early, preview often
If you’re used to standard video editors, you might have gotten used to seeing every edit reflected almost immediately. Because of the heavy-duty nature of After Effects, that often isn’t the case. This means you’ll need to get used to frequently previewing.
Usually the Preview panel will already be open, but if it isn’t, you can enable it by going to the Window menu, then choosing Preview. To start playing a preview of what you’ve put together so far using the default options, press the Spacebar. To force the preview to include audio, press the 0 key.
Sometimes, audio is the only thing you want to preview. To avoid unnecessarily previewing video as well, you can press the . key, which will start a preview with only the audio.
3. Use music for emphasis
When you think of music for your YouTube videos, you probably think of background music from ‘royalty-free’ music sites which provide unknown songs that won’t get a claim on YouTube.
I have good news for you, the days of generic ‘royalty-free’ music are now over. Music licensing platform, Lickd, is here to save the day. The Lickd platform allows video creators to use commercial music from famous artists without getting hit with copyright claims.
You don’t have to worry about musicians getting worked over either, because Lickd makes sure they get paid fairly. It’s a win for everyone. If you sign-up to the service, you’ll get 25% off your first track – a great chance to check out the library and practice how you edit audio in After Effects to get your perfect video soundtrack.
4. Can you see audio? Yes you can
If audio is one of the most important parts of your video, maybe you should make sure your viewers can see it too. Creating an audio visualizer in After Effects is way easier than you might think.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you have at least one music file in your composition. Now create a new Composition by right-clicking on a file and choosing New Comp From Selection. Now create a new layer by going to Layer > New > Solid, then hitting OK.
Select your new layer, then go to Effect > Generate and select Audio Spectrum. In the Effect Controls window, change the Audio Layer to the music file you want the visualizer to use. From here, you can tweak the results or export this to a video in Premiere. You can do a similar effect by choosing Audio Waveform instead of Audio.
5. Think outside the box
Nothing catches a viewer’s attention like something they’ve never seen or heard before. With so many people creating so many videos every day, that’s getting harder and harder to do. That’s why you need to get creative.
But, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, especially when you edit audio in After Effects. Reversing audio can create otherworldly sounds, while cutting bass can make it sound like your track’s playing on an old fashioned radio. Boost the bass and cut the treble to make it sound like your sounds are on the other side of a wall.
These are just a few basic ideas to get you started. Use your imagination and the tools at your disposal and see what you can make happen. If nothing else, you’ll have fun. If you get lucky, you might create the new trick everyone starts using in their videos.
After Effects is a complex tool and there’s loads more tips and tricks to learn to make it easier to use. To find out more, make sure to keep an eye on the Lickd audio editing tutorial channel.
In after effects music
.How to Add Music and Preview Audio in After Effects CC2013
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