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Generating graphics with audio

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Generating graphics with audio

Animating graphics to audio can take on two different forms inside of After Effects. The first form is the most traditional form of animation just cutting up your graphics to the beat of the music. But the second form is actually using audio to generate new graphics. We'll explore both forms in this video. To get started, I want to actually animate the text in this scene. But before we do that, let's go ahead and press period on our keypad to load up an audio only preview. On a standard sized keyboard, you can press control period.

Generating graphics with audio

Animating graphics to audio can take on two different forms inside of After Effects. The first form is the most traditional form of animation just cutting up your graphics to the beat of the music. But the second form is actually using audio to generate new graphics. We'll explore both forms in this video. To get started, I want to actually animate the text in this scene. But before we do that, let's go ahead and press period on our keypad to load up an audio only preview. On a standard sized keyboard, you can press control period.

(MUSIC) So I'll press the Spacebar to stop playback. You can see we've already added some markers into our composition and our audio layer. These are signifying the different frames of the audio build and your new instruments are actually popping into the track. So let's go ahead and animate our text.

We can select layer 1, and load another audio preview. But this time I want you to look very closely at the current time indicator as it's playing. I'm going to chose an area in here where I'd like to actually begin my edit and change the text but I don't want to specifically add a marker there. So let's go ahead and start. (MUSIC) Now I'll stop playback here, and I believe it was right around this area, one second, nine frames. Let's go ahead and press the Period button again to preview our audio. So that was a little late, I'll go ahead and just move it back here. (MUSIC) Okay it's somewhere in between.

(MUSIC) Okay if you're ever having an issue trying to find this specific point for the wave form go ahead and press ll on your keyboard with the audio track selected. So let's select layer four and press L, L. In here, I can see the exact audio track, and I can zoom really really closely in to be very precise on one of the tick marks for the audio. Let's go ahead and just move back here now that I can see my audio and let's load up an audio only preview. Again, it's Ctrl + Period on a standard size keyboard. (MUSIC) and that's it exactly.

One second, three frames. So, perfect. Let's go ahead and open up our layer one, and open up the text options, and we'll click on the key frame option for source text. Now, I want that change to happen right here, so let's move down one frame. I'll just click and drag on my current time indicator, and now we can change our text. I would like to change from the word energy to exercise so let's double click on the text in the Composition panel. When you're finished setting your text go ahead and grab your Selection tool.

Now let's make the text larger by going to our Character panel and changing that value from 80 to something around 120. Now, since the text popped off the side of the screen, I'm going to go ahead and just reposition it here towards the center of the screen in between our flying circles. So let's scrub through the timeline and you can see now the word is actually repositioned in the page. This has happened because when we use these two keyframes, they're only recording the specific parameters of the word.

Like the typeface, what it says, the font, the size. It's not recording things like the position or the rotation. Those values are down here and none of those have been key framed. So, when we re-positioned, now we positioned both instances of the word. Now that we've animated layer one, let's go ahead and collapse that layer Let's focus on creating our new graphic element that'll animate to the music. To do that, we need to create a layer solid. Let's go up to the layer menu and choose new solid.

The most important setting is make comp size so go ahead and select that. It doesn't matter what your color is because we're going to generate a whole new graphic, so I'm just going to click okay. Let's go back to effect one more time. This time, we'll go to Generate. The two audio parameters that we can generate graphics with are Audio Spectrum and Audio Waveform. They both have very similar features, so I'll show you the features of one, and you can apply it to the other. Let's choose Audio Waveform. Now, notice we have this pink line in the middle of our comp. Let's make the line go all the way across the comp by clicking on these control handles.

Just hold down shift as you click and drag the control handles off the sides of your composition. Now if we were to load up a RAM preview, nothing would be happening because we haven't chosen the audio track to drive this graphic. So if we go up to the audio layer pull down and the effect control. Let's click on that and make sure to choose animation music dot wave. Now we've started creating some graphics. Now just to create some noticeable graphics, I'm going to click and drag on the maximum height setting and let's drag this up quite a bit.

Let's drag it up to about 1,100. With our graphic a little larger, let's go ahead and load up a ram preview. I'm going to press 0 on my keypad. After a few seconds go ahead and press the Spacebar to preview. (MUSIC) So, let's stop Playback there. Now, I like how that's going, but as the music builds I'd like to go ahead and animate the color change for this graphic. So, let's go ahead and click and drag to change the magnification of our timeline.

Let's move our current time indicator to the second key frame. I'm going to hold down shift as I drag and right here's where we want to add a key frame for our color parameter for our wave form. So let's go ahead and just click and drag from inside color to outside color and that'll add a key frame. For both parameters. Since we added the key frame exactly on six seconds, let's move down one frame in the time line and then we can change the color here. So let's grab our eye dropper for the inside color, and sample this kind of teal color. And for the outside color, let's click and sample this yellow color. Now between those two its created kind of a green effect, but it definitely blends with the background a little but more.

Now we can scrub back through and you can see that its actually going to change at that marker. Now I encourage you to keep going through the different markers and make changes accordingly. I'm sure you understand how this function works. So I'm going to continue building the graphic. Lets add some separation between our graphic elements in this scene. Everything looks kind of busy. First thing lets click our layer two text layer and bring it up to the top of the layer hierarchy. Lets press T to open its opacity and you can see its already up at 100%.

Just to make this pop a little more I'm going to press Cmd + D to duplicate the layer. Now it's significantly brighter in the scene. If I wanted to change how bright that was I could press T on the second layer and just adjust its opacity up or down. Now we need to set back this audio wave form a little bit because it's very dominant and it's cutting up our text. So to do this, I'll add a very soft blur and we can adjust that in the Effect Control panel. Let's click and drag on the softness parameter. We can also adjust the thickness so let's click and drag the thickness to increase it. Now it looks a little blurry, but it's still too dominant in the scene. We can fix this with a Blend mode.

If you don't have your blend modes up, make sure you toggle your switches and modes 'til you see the Blend modes. Now let's change it from normal to screen. This'll help it blend with some of the other elements. Now we can press t on our keyboard to blend the opacity back down. Now there's one more thing we can do to create a little bit more separation for this. Let's select layer 3 and press Cmd + D or Ctrl + D on Windows to duplicate. I want to blur this out and scale it up. And this'll create a little more of a halo around this graphic.

So, let's go to Effect. Blur, and we'll do fast blur, and we can increase the blurriness value in the effect controls, just by clicking and dragging up to the right. Now we can press S to open the scale for that layer, and go ahead and click and drag to increase the scale of that layer. Now lets move this below layer four. Now I know it looks like a random blur, but as you actually watch this animate, you'll notice the blur is going to create these really interesting pops in the background. Now I could continue going through different blend modes and tweaking different layers. But I think you understand the process for creating graphics, edited to audio. Lets go ahead and load up a ramp preview, and checkout our finished work. (MUSIC) So I think we definitely have the base of a good project started, so, as usual, I encourage you to continue exploring and pushing it in your own direction.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 51535 viewers

Ian Robinson

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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