How to Create an Audio Spectrum in Adobe After Effects

After Effects 10/10/2019 2 min read

Hey everyone, this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to create an audio spectrum in After Effects. Alright, let’s get started.

Begin by making a new composition (HDTV 1080 29.97) and name it “Audio Spectrum”. I’ve already got my audio file imported so I’ll drag it into the new composition. Make a new solid by going to Layer > New > Solid and make sure it’s comp sized. Name the new solid “Spectrum 1”. With the solid selected go to Effect > Generate > Audio Spectrum. In the Audio Spectrum settings change the Audio Layer to the audio in the composition. I’m going to adjust my End Frequency to about 200, but this is based on my specific audio. Make adjustments to your start and end frequencies based on your own audio and taste. Increase the Frequency Bands to 600 and the Thickness to 5 to achieve a solid shape. Drop the Maximum Height to 400. Increase the Audio Duration to 130 to make the movements of the spectrum less jarring. Change the Hue Interpolation to 50 degrees which gives the spectrum a slight gradient and then adjust the inside and outside colors to your liking. Lastly, change the Side Options to Side A so that the spectrum only animates upwards. The first spectrum is now done!

Duplicate the Spectrum 1 layer and go into the duplicate (should be called Spectrum 2) Audio Spectrum settings. Change the Maximum Height to 900 and then adjust the inside and outside colors so that they are different. Then drag Spectrum 2 below Spectrum 1. Duplicate one of the spectrums again and drag the new layer (should be Spectrum 3) below the other two. In the Spectrum 3’s Audio Spectrum settings change the Maximum Height to 1400 and once again adjust the colors. Select all the layers in the composition (including the audio) and go to Layer > Precompose. Name the new composition “Spectrum Precomp” and hit okay (uncheck the “Open New Composition” box if necessary).

Create a new solid by going to Layer > New > Solid and make sure it’s comp sized. Name the new solid “Background” and hit okay. With the new solid selected go to Effect > Generate > Gradient Ramp. In the Gradient Ramp settings change the colors so that it goes subtly from dark grey to black. Now duplicate the Spectrum Precomp and rename the duplicate “Glow”. On the Glow layer go to Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Gaussian Blur. In the Gaussian Blur settings set the Blurriness to 35. Then change the blending mode of the Glow layer to Add and the opacity to 50%. Turn off the audio for the glow layer so that the audio isn’t doubling up. The glow is a nice touch to give the spectrum a more professional look. Now you’ve got a sleek audio spectrum!

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