Video Tutorial: The Audio Spectrum Effect

The Audio Spectrum Effect

In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to create the Audio Spectrum Effect in Adobe After Effects.

Getting the Project Files

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Download the project files

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Link to project files.

Project Overview

Audio Spectrum Effect

  1. After importing audio file, drop it into the Timeline from the Project panel.
  2. Create a new Solid layer, rename it to Audio Circle.
  3. Get the Audio Spectrum effect from the Effects and Presets panel and drop it onto the Audio Circle layer.
  4. Hit Q three times to bring up the Ellipse tool and draw out a circle on the Audio Circle layer. This will become a Mask.
  5. In the Effect Controls panel for Audio Circle, set the Audio Layer to the audio track.
  6. Set the Path to Mask 1.
  7. Change Inside Color to cyan and Outside Color to bright green.
  8. Click and drag the circle so it is centered around the text.
  9. Hit Cmnd-D (Mac) or Ctrl-D to duplicate the layer. Hit Enter to rename the new layer to Smaller Audio Circle.
  10. With the new layer selected, hit S to open up Scale. Set its Scale to 90.
  11. Change its Inside Color to bright green and its Outside Color to cyan.

Scale from Audio Waveform Effect

  1. Import another audio file in, drop it into the Timeline from the Project panel.
  2. Hit the speaker icon next to the audio file’s name to mute it.
  3. Right click on the audio file layer and navigate to Keyframe Assistant > Convert Audio to Keyframes.
  4. Toggle open the new Audio Amplitude layer and delete the Right and Left Channels, leaving the Both Channels option intact.
  5. Toggle open Both Channels to reveal its Slider.
  6. Select the text layer, hit S for Scale.
  7. Hit the stopwatch to set a Scale keyframe.
  8. Option-click (Mac) or Alt-click the Scale stopwatch, revealing a few icons. Click and drag from the swirl to Both Channels’ Slider. This will parent the text’s Scale to the Audio Amplitude. 
  9. Text will appear within the text layer, in the Expressions line. Click on it and at the end, type in *10.5. This will multiply the size of the text so it’s more visible.

Video Transcript

This is Tziporah Zions from Noble Desktop, and in this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to create this audio spectrum animation in Adobe after effects and this tutorial, we're going to be putting together this cool audio spectrum effect in this audio scaling effect, which I'm going to show you in a second. So you can see how the circles reacted to the music and the text reacts to the spoken word layer over here. We're using a cool effect. OK, sorry about that. We'll be using a cool effect called audio spectrum for the circles in this section.

And turning our other audio into keyframes for our scaling effect. So you probably noticed how the visuals were synced to the music. So knowing how to create an audio spectrum effect is useful, adding instant visual flair to any music-based project you might be doing. Think of music videos, short social media posts. Anything that needs to catch the viewer's eye and is related to the audio. The scaling technique is useful for automatically syncing up objects, movement, size, and other properties with audio clips. So the external assets we're using here are free, free audio files, one from YouTube's royalty-free stock files and another from We'll link the download locations in the video description below. But any audio file that you have on hand will work for this. So the first thing that we're going to be doing is let's load in the music file over here, and I'm going to drop it right here at above the background.

I'm going to right-click rename it to music track. Now the next thing that we're going to be doing, and let's head up to layer new solid. The reason being is we're going to be making that that circles that circle shape first. So it won't really matter what color we make it because we're going to change the color afterward. So let's name this audio circle. OK, and then let's get over to Effects and Presets. We're going to push out a bit. And let's put in audio spectrum. There we go. So drag that onto audio circle. There we go. So as you can see, it's not a circle yet, but we're going to fix that in a moment. Afterward, the next thing we do is let's head up to our Shape Tool over here.

I'm going to access my Ellipse Tool by holding and waiting for the pop-up menu to appear. And we're going to be, we're going to be making a mask and that mask is going to inform this layer what shape to take. So just click and drag a circle out. That's all we want. All right. So then we're going to be heading over to the effect controls on the audio spectrum. Set the audio layer to music track. So that is a track. So when you set the audio layer to music track over here, what's happening essentially is that the audio circle is taking its cues from this music track over here. You can see it how it reacted to the music track. It's a little hard to see because it's small, but you can see how those lines will move in time with the music.

Now we also want to change the shape so we go over the path over here and we tell it to use mask one. We know it's a circle now. But we want it to be more visible, so let's change a couple more settings on this thing. First things first, let's change the thickness. I want this to be thicker, thicker, thicker. Let's put it at 15, I think. Um, and let's change the colors. So by changing colors, you just have to click on these colored boxes.

I would like cyan color and green color, like a lime green color. Drag it down there and anything else? Well, that's that sign inside color, I think, could be changed a bit, so let's grab these anchors and drag it over a bit.

Now I'm keeping these lines as they are like these little lines. But if you wanted, you go down here to display options and you change digital to analog lines or analog dots. But I like the lines, so I'm going to keep them that way.

All right. So the next thing I'm going to do is just click and drag it. Sorry about that. We just want to click and drag this layer. So it is around our text like that. And now we're going to copy it.

So I have a PC, so I hit Ctrl-D. If you have a Mac, that's Cmnd, and I'm going to right-click. Rename. And I want this to be smaller audio circle. This is just for visual interest. I'm going to hit S for scale and I'm going to shrink in a bit.

Shrink it a bit, there you go. Keep doing that, so it's centered within our larger circle. Now I'm going to want to change the colors of this one, so I'm going to hit that lime color over there, I'm going to change it to green a little bit more, so maybe manipulate the colors

as well their position. There we go. So I'm going to manipulate this a little bit more to be more centered, but that's a general idea. All right. And that's how we get that audio effect. Very cool. So let's head over to our project panel over here, and I am going to drop in this spoken word track right here.

Going to drag it below the music track down here. I'm going to bring back my playhead to the origin because you can see this spoken word track doesn't really extend as far out as music track does, and I am actually going to hit the speaker icon over here and that'll mute it.

Now, even though it's muted. Well, here's what it sounds like. I want to keep going. But even though it's muted. I'm still going to harness properties for use within my project. I'm going to rename this spoken word track so I know where it is, and I'm going to right-click and go to key from Assistant, create Keyframes

from Audio and that will give me a new layer called audio amplitude up here. And this let's open it up and open it up, and you see all these little keyframes that tracks audio amplitude. How loud this track gets. Now it provides us three channels: left channel right channel both channels.

We don't need all the channels for what we're going to do, so I'm going to delete the top two over here. I'm going to recolor this so it doesn't get lost with the other layers, I think. And I'm actually going to drag it down.

To be closer to the source where it comes from, the spoken word. Track over here. Sorry about that, I accidentally toggled off source name. Now the reason why we did this is that we're going to be attaching the size of the text directly to how loud the spoken word track gets.

And we're going to be doing that by parenting we're going to be pick whipping and parenting. The scale of the text directly to the slider over here. And that way, this text is going to be able to take its cues for its size from how loud this track gets.

So check it out. Let's head over to text. S for scale, and let's put down a keyframe and then we're going to hit. We're going to do a click onto a stopwatch and you see this swirl over here.

That's the pick whip. Grab it, drag it over the slider and over the amplitude. All right. And then go. Now, check this out. Now you can see that the text is reacting to the audio amplitude, but it's quite small, so we're just going to modify it a little bit.

So you see all this text that popped up, this is an expression. So it's just a bit of code that's informing the layer of how to behave. So we're going to click on the text and I'm going to head to the end and I'm going to do asterisk ten or 10.5. And that's a multiplier. So that's telling this layer here, whatever size you're going to be, do that size, but multiply it by this amount. So check it out. You know, so you can attach different property values to the slider of any audio track using this technique.

Both of these methods are great for cool music video effects or even spoken word poetry. It's an audio file. It'll work in this kind of project, and the audio spectrum layer can also be modified with other gradients and different visual effects placed on top, so it can carry a few effects of its own.

In fact, it can also have its own scale pick whipped to the same music track it's up to. So it's extra reactive to the music. So that's all for this tutorial. I hope you've enjoyed learning how to make these audio spectrum effects in Adobe after effects. This has been Tziporah Zions for Noble Desktop.

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