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Adding audio

From: After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

Video: Adding audio

Importing audio files into After Effects is very similar to importing video files. As a matter of fact, quite often audio is embedded alongside the video when you import a video file. If it's an audio-only file, After Effects takes the most common formats like .wav, .aif, and .mp3. Just select them and import them. The one thing to be careful though, is make sure you have the rights to use any music or sound effects that you bring into After Effects. Whenever you combine audio--music--with graphics, you need a special license, known as a synchronization license, to put the two together.

Adding audio

Importing audio files into After Effects is very similar to importing video files. As a matter of fact, quite often audio is embedded alongside the video when you import a video file. If it's an audio-only file, After Effects takes the most common formats like .wav, .aif, and .mp3. Just select them and import them. The one thing to be careful though, is make sure you have the rights to use any music or sound effects that you bring into After Effects. Whenever you combine audio--music--with graphics, you need a special license, known as a synchronization license, to put the two together.

So you can't just rip your audio CDs or download a track from iTunes; you need to make sure you are using stock music that's already been rights- cleared, or work with a local musician or band to compose some original music for you. There are also lots of great programs like Ableton Live, GarageBand, Sony ACID, et cetera, to make it easier for you to create your soundtracks. But once you have imported it, now let's play around with how you use it inside a composition in After Effects. To import an audio track, you can either use the normal File > Import command you are used to, or you can also browse in Bridge.

In Bridge, as soon as you select an audio track, (music playing) it will start previewing in the Preview panel. (music playing) If you like that track, you just double-click it. It will open up in After Effects. And there is my audio track. To audition audio tracks once they are inside After Effects, you have a couple of choices. If you hold down Option on Mac, or Alt on Windows, then double-click, it will open up in that platform's media player.

If you double-click it without the modifier key, it will open up in the Footage panel. You don't see any imagery because this is an audio-only track. You don't see a thumbnail up here on the Project panel either. But you can still preview it. I will press 0 on the numeric keypad just like I would for a video clip, (music playing) and there I'll hear my playback. Okay, let's add this to a composition. That 08-Wiggly that Trish was playing with earlier would be a good track to add some fun music to.

I want to go ahead and jump down to 08-Wiggly_final. So it's already finished and already has a text animation in it. See where the text settles down there. I am going to locate my audio track and I can just drag it into the Comp panel or drag it down into the Timeline panel. Since it's audio only with no video content, this position is not important. You can also use the normal shortcut of Command+Forward Slash or Ctrl+Forward Slash. To preview audio once it's in a composition, you can't just press the Spacebar because it's not a real-time playback. If I do that, I can't hear anything.

Instead, you either want to do a normal RAM preview--0 on the numeric keypad--but that takes some extra time because it has to calculate the video just to play the audio. The really cool audio shortcut is to press the Period key on the numeric keypad and that will preview audio only. I am going to press it now. (music playing) The neat thing about that is that it's an automatic instant playback, no rendering required. If you want to adjust how long of an audio preview you can hear at one time, that's actually done underneath Preferences > Previews, and here is where I get to set the duration of my audio preview.

In previous versions of After Effects, this used to be a fairly short number. I prefer longer values now, like 20 or 30 seconds. It gives me a good segment in music or dialog to listen to. Layers which have audio content grow an extra switch as well. They have an audio mute switch. You are used to the video switch to turn video on and off. It's just identical but for audio only. No sound, with sound. You can use an audio track as is, or you can adjust its level, kind of like the equivalent of opacity. I will show that in the next movie.

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Image for After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music
After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

49 video lessons · 17760 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Overview
      1m 35s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 14m 51s
    1. Setting up
      2m 20s
    2. Entering, editing, and styling type
      5m 49s
    3. Using strokes
      3m 6s
    4. Working with paragraph text
      3m 36s
  3. 23m 21s
    1. Setting a title
      2m 31s
    2. Creating a text animator
      6m 54s
    3. Selecting by character vs. percent
      3m 0s
    4. Animating position
      2m 4s
    5. Animating more properties
      3m 31s
    6. Exploring text transitions
      2m 47s
    7. Randomizing order
      2m 34s
  4. 22m 49s
    1. The Cascade recipe
      2m 15s
    2. Exploring offset plus selection shapes
      4m 16s
    3. Working with ramp selection shapes
      4m 26s
    4. Using character anchor points
      4m 40s
    5. Further refinements
      7m 12s
  5. 9m 0s
    1. Working with selections based on words
      4m 16s
    2. Anchor point grouping
      4m 44s
  6. 15m 46s
    1. Using a vertical blur treatment
      3m 58s
    2. Animated tracking
      5m 46s
    3. Working with text on a path
      6m 2s
  7. 14m 56s
    1. Per-character 3D overview
      5m 45s
    2. Enabling per-character 3D
      4m 4s
    3. Exploring per-character 3D rotation
      5m 7s
  8. 18m 37s
    1. Separating fields
      3m 48s
    2. Exploring wiggly options
      4m 28s
    3. Animating wiggles
      3m 18s
    4. Rendering with alpha channels
      7m 3s
  9. 45m 29s
    1. Adding audio
      4m 8s
    2. Audio levels
      4m 27s
    3. Spotting hit points
      5m 33s
    4. Timing to audio
      5m 25s
    5. Spotting dialogue
      7m 32s
    6. Timing dialogue to music
      6m 45s
    7. Mixing audio
      7m 53s
    8. Exploring audio refinements
      3m 46s
  10. 23m 9s
    1. Applying text presets
      5m 50s
    2. Browsing presets in Bridge
      4m 35s
    3. Editing presets
      6m 49s
    4. Saving presets
      5m 55s
  11. 16m 27s
    1. Working with Photoshop text
      4m 58s
    2. Keyframing source text
      4m 21s
    3. The Buzz Words preset
      7m 8s
  12. 20m 43s
    1. Exploring faux styling options
      7m 42s
    2. Tracking and kerning
      4m 56s
    3. Using smart quotes
      4m 8s
    4. Using hyphens and dashes
      3m 57s

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