Graham Quince Audio in Adobe After Effects

Animate with Audio in After Effects

A walkthrough of how to use music and sound files.

You’ll get loads of people telling you not to use audio in Adobe After Effects. That you should use Audition or another sound editor and Premiere Pro or other video editor. And yeah, you can do a lot more in those programs, but it’s also entirely possible to use AE with audio and create animations and motion graphics synchronised to music. And also as a really quick way to add sound effects to your VFX shots.

In this video, I cover adding audio files, using their waveform and using layer markers for visual cues. I also look at the audio Spectrum and Audio Waveform effects (found in the Generate category) which makes it super easy to get your voice on screen. We’ll look at the Keyframe Assistant’s Generate keyframes from Audio and then combining that with expressions to drive animations. And finally, how you can create a repeating sound effect, using the expression below, driven by layer markers.

Some contents or functionalities here are not available due to your cookie preferences!

This happens because the functionality/content marked as “Google Youtube” uses cookies that you choosed to keep disabled. In order to view this content or use this functionality, please enable cookies: click here to open your cookie preferences.

Project download:

Expression used:
len = thisLayer.source.duration;

if(marker.numKeys > 0){

m = marker.nearestKey(time).index;

if(marker.key(m).time > time) m–;

if(m > 0){

mt = marker.key(m).time;

if(time < mt+len){

linear(time, mt, mt+len, 0, len);

}else 0

}else 0

} else value;


Enjoying this tutorial? Sign up now for the Creative COW Newsletter!

Sign up for the Creative COW newsletter and get weekly updates on industry news, forum highlights, inspirational tutorials, tips, burning questions, and more! Receive bulletins from the largest, longest-running community dedicated to supporting professionals working in film, video, and audio.

Enter your email address, a first and last name, and let us know what you’d like to see more of in the message!


  1. Since 2014 syncing animation to audio has been almost impossible. Here hoping soon the preview system will be in sync to picture again and someone will figure out how to show wave forms without crashing when the best system.

    1. That’s interesting, I edit my tutorials directly in AE with a separate sound file. Do you RAM preview the timeline first, then playback? And are you using uncompressed WAV files or MP3s?

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy