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AE6 Overview: Convert Audio to Keyframes

Bye Bye Motion Math By Stephen Schleicher
One of the new changes/features in Adobe After Effects 6.0 is Convert Audio to Keyframes. This Keyframe Assistant does as the name implies and is a great replacement for Motion Math. And lets face it, after the introduction of Expressions, the only reason to use Motion Math was to create keyframes from audio. In this overview exercise, Ill walk you through the use of this new assistant to get an animated character to talk.

Ill admit that sometimes I get bored?really really bored. When that happens, I start goofing around in After Effects or other animation program. Last week was one of those ?pound my head against the desk Im so bored kind of week. Looking around the net, I see a lot of people copying the South Park look of animation and thought, ?Hey, I can do that. So a little Photoshop work and some parenting in After Effects I ended up with South Park Stephen.

But how to make his mouth move when he talks without going through a lot of difficult work? Motion Math is now non-existent and has been replaced with Convert Audio to Keyframes.

Step 1: To get this new feature working, begin by loading your audio file (.wav, .aiff, .mp3, etc.) and place the clip in the Timeline.

Step 2: Select Convert Audio to Keyframes (hence forth CAK) from the Keyframe Assistants menu. CAK reads the amplitude (loudness) of the audio file and creates a new layer in the Timeline with keyframes corresponding to the amplitude (0db=100%).

If you open the new layer Audio Amplitude you will see that there is keyframe data for the Left, Right, and Both audio channels. If you have a true stereo separated audio file, for example two people talking to one another with one person on the Left and the other on the Right, you have separate data for each voice.

With all of these keyframes in place you now need to link them to a property of your ?mouth layer.

For South Park Stephen I had created a basic oval shape for the mouth. For this simple mouth, animating the Scale Property would be best.

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Related Keywords:adobe after effects 6.0, ae6, convert audio to keyframes, audio layer, motion math, expressions, schleicher


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