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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's look a little bit at working with audio, previewing it and mixing it. I've imported this clip, and I want to show you a few things you could do with it. Number one, if we have it selected then we get some information about it here in the Project panel, just like any other clip. So, we could tell this is 20 seconds and 10 frames long. We could see the sample rate, 48 KHz and also the bit depth, 24 bits. Also if it's stereo or mono. It says Stereo clip here. If we double-click the clip, as with other types of clips, it open up in the Footage panel except that we don't get a visual representation of that other than that it has a little timeline here.
Now if we press the Spacebar, nothing happens. We could RAM preview this, but we could also preview audio only either in the Footage panel or in the Timeline panel by pressing the Period key on the numeric keypad. (Music playing) You press the Period key again to stop it. Also, if you wanted to trim the audio in the same way we trim video by shortening the beginning or the end, we can do that as well her in the Footage panel.
Now another thing we could do is drag this piece of footage and make a new composition with this. Now, there is not a pixel aspect ratio or necessarily a pixel dimension, but it does take into consideration the duration there. So, what we could do is drag this to the New Composition icon. And a lot of times in your motion graphics projects, you build the project around the audio track. Maybe like if its a commercial, the client will give you the completed audio and then you're trying to sync up the clips and the graphics to the already established audio, so this is helpful for that as well.
Now as far as mixing audio, there is not really too much here. Now if we open this track up-- and this goes for all tracks with audio, not just audio only tracks-- we'll see an Audio area and we could click Audio to open that up. We have Audio Levels and this is pretty much all you get when it comes to mixing audio. You get a volume control and that's all the Audio Levels is. So, if you wanted to mix it with another audio effect, for example, then you might want to take the volume of this one down or up accordingly.
It's a very simplistic way to deal with audio, but that's what you got in After Effects. Another thing that's very helpful though is if you open up the Waveform area. Based on how big you have your Timeline panel stretched out, you can see the waveform here and it can be a great representation visually of what's happening in your audio file. Say, for example now, I know that the audio here does not start until right about here, until about 16 frames in. So, if I wanted to, I could trim this by using the Alt+Left Bracket or Option+Left Bracket keyboard shortcut.
Then press Option+Home or Alt+Home to put this at the beginning of the timeline, just as we would with the video clip, and now when we preview this composition, using the Period key on the numeric keypad, the audio will start right away. (Music playing) Pretty cool! Now you might have noticed some clipping there, because I had my Audio Levels at +7. So, I were to take this down little bit lower and preview that. (Music playing) It's much quieter. And so you can even see the waveform, how it is affected by the Audio Levels.
As we increase this, you're seeing these Audio Levels get blown out of reduced. We'll take this back down to zero. Now, as far as working with audio in the Timeline, that is what you get. You get to mix it and then look at it while you mix it and by mixing I mean you get to just play with the volume. So, just be aware that if you are going to have some really elaborate audio and that's going to be significant, you might want to use another audio application, a dedicated audio application, and then you do the finishing on that audio there and then bring your entire audio track completely mixed into After Effects.
But if you don't have that capability, then these are the tools at your disposal.
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