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Next, I want to bring a copy of our final soundtrack into our Main Comp so we can edit and animate in time to that music. We like the synergy you can realize by having your visuals match your audio. Now to save you time, inside the Final Comp, we've already spotted the music out for you. And we discussed how to spot music in a previous After Effects Apprentice lesson, the one on type of music. But let me show you briefly what we go through to spot music. I am going to select the audio layer and type LL, two Ls in quick succession to reveal its waveform; you can also just keep twirling down until you reveal it this way.
I am going to type to simplify my display. I am going to drag this panel a little bit taller so I can see the waveform in more detail and press the Plus key to zoom in a bit. As we've mentioned in the previous After Effects lesson, spikes in the audio waveform usually indicate beats and the onset of notes. Those are good first guesses of where you might want to place keyframes, where you might want to cut between video, et cetera. Since the waveform does take up a lot of real state in the Timeline panel and can't take a little bit of time to draw, we like to set layer markers to indicate where those beats are.
Now we are familiar enough with spotting music, we can almost just look at the waveform without listening to it and place a lot of these markers. But I am going to preview portions of this audio, and I want you to watch the relationship between the current time indicator and this red line and the audio waveform. To preview just the audio alone, I am going to press the decimal point key on the numeric keypad. (music playing) Now this opening is just a bit of a sound effect of thunder, but I am really trying to get those strongest beats, you know the thump-pa, thump-pa of like a kick drum, snare drum in a typical song.
(music playing) In addition to those strong main beats, I'm also interested in picking up some of the stronger beats that fall in between. You'll find with most music that when you have a basic kick drum or kick snare pattern, quite often you can take the time between those two, divide it by two and you'll find an intermediate beat. Then you can find that time interval, divide it by two again and maybe even another beat. And you see that core responses on the spikes in waveform here and down here.
I'll preview it again so you can see the relationship between the time indicator and the waveform. (music playing) Now we didn't mark all these little beats, but you could certainly mark more of them if you wanted to, for example, this is a very valid beat right here. (music playing) Although one after it is obviously much stronger. And if you listen closely, there is a cadence of small beats da-da-da-da that fall at regular intervals between these strong beats. (music playing) Let's look at the rest of this song.
This is that indicator where I expect to start part two, I'll press period again to preview. (music playing) So I have my strong beats marked. I have a couple of the more interesting in-between beats marked. Then of course, I have marked major sectional parts, the end, the middle of this song where I might expect to start another composition or another edit. I'll zoom back up by pressing the minus key and, of course, the very first beat where the music really picks up.
(music playing) Once I've identified interesting parts in the soundtrack and the audio waveform, it's just a matter of placing the current time indicator over one of those spikes and pressing the asterisk key on the numeric keypad to place a marker. I'll move the current time indicator to good in between beats such as this one right here. Make sure my layer is selected, so After Effects knows what layer to add my marker to, then press the asterisk key, and there is my new marker.
If I wanted to add a comment to it, so just in between, then double-click the marker to open up its dialog and type in my comment. You'll see how just little bit of text can quickly fill in your Timeline; you'll tend to want to keep these short. Or you can go ahead and move the current time indicator to some new point, holdout option on Mac, Alt on Windows, press asterisk and you get this dialog right away, and I'll Cancel for now. To delete a marker, hold down Command on Mac or Ctrl on Windows. You'll get these little scissors icon. Click and the marker is gone.
Anyway, once I have my music spotted, I can twirl up my waveform to save some real estate. I want to copy this layer, close my Final Comp, go back to my Main Comp and paste. And there you see I have my soundtrack. Now one thing you need to watch out for is having your soundtrack in Pre Comps in addition to Final Comps. If you have multiple copies of your audio file, it will add together, become very loud, and potentially distort. You can either just be very careful about turning off the audio switches for any layers that you don't want to hear audio from, or to be extra safe, you can select the layer and go to Layer > Guide layer.
That says only use this layer while inside this composition, don't use this layer further up the chain should you nest this into another composition. So if I have an audio track that I am using just for timing purposes in a pre-comp, I'll make it a Guide layer to make sure it does not accidentally appear in a later comp that has the final soundtrack.
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