AnimationTaco Logo Animation 1          Second Semester
         ← Jan. 2 to Jan. 6 Jan. 16 to Jan. 20 →

         Jan. 9         

Editing Sound

Flash is not a sound editing program. It has some very, very basic sound manipulation tools, but if you want to really edit your sound you'll need to go to another program that is specifically for sound editing. There are several options avaialable to you such as Garageband (Mac only), Adobe Audition (all platforms), or Audacity (all platforms), which is open source freeware. In this class you'll be using Audacity to start with. Since you have Adobe product on your computer, if sound is your thing when you have a minute take some time to open up Audition, which is what the pros will use.

All of the programs use the same style of interface and once you learn the principles of sound editing on one, you can figure out the others.

This is not a sound editing class. Like animation, game design, or web design, you can spend an entire university career on nothing but sound design. Sound for games, animations and movies is a great career and well-paid, so if you enjoy this project you might want to consider it.

For animators and game designers, learning how to manipulate sound is vital. Watch the opening credits of the No Film School videos and listen to the sound effects. Without them the animation is flat and dead. With sound becomes real and springs to life. Watch "Billy's Balloon" again an listen to the sound and how it contributes to the story. Without even realizing it, the sounds of people in the park, the sounds of the wind, all tell us what's going on without seeing anything. Sound is as important to an animation as the drawings themselves.

In this beginning animation course, we'll first look at how sound is used in Flash itself. Then we'll look at doing some more sophisticated editing in Audacity. You can do this project with the Flash interface, but you'll need tighter editing for the next Cartoon project because then we'll start to use dialogue and mouth movements, so it's best to learn both interfaces now and get some practice.

The Basics

Here's more than you'll ever want to know about sound. Basic terms that you'll come across in sound applications like herz, wavelength, and amplify are explained here.

Here is a video on beginning sound editing. And here is a website.

Editing Sounds in Flash

Here is the Adobe page for editing sound in Animate CC and here is a page if you're using CS6.

Both pages are very good and will tell you all you need, but here are a few points and troubleshooting hints I want to make to help things go easier for you-

  • When you're importing a sound, some sounds will import easily, but others won't and it will seem like a mystery to you. The difference could be that some sounds, especially music, will have copyright locks on them that prevent them from importing into editing programs. So if you're dragging a pile of files into an editing program and some won't go in, that might be the problem. The authors don't want their files edited or copied and that's their right and there's not much you can do about it.
  • Another reason that sound might not import to Flash is that the sound is in a file format Flash can't read and/or it's in a bit rate (it's speed or kilobytes per second) Flash doesn't like. If you have a choice use the lowest possible bitrate. You can also try to recompress your sound into a different file (use MP3 as your first choice) by using your Adobe Media Encoder that you have in your applications files.
  • The convention for Flash is that sound files are places at the bottom of the timeline layer stack and in their own layer (very important!). Sound layers are at the bottom, visual layers are in the middle, and Javascript/Actionscript coding is at the top.
  • It's very important that you keep the sound on its own layer and keyframe and not mix them in with the visual. Lock the adjacent layers to keep from accidentally dragging a sound keyframe into a keyframe that's already occupied with a drawing. You can tell this is happening if you see a wiggly waveform line inside a grey tinted frame. If you catch yourself making that mistake, you can try to step back (Command Z) but if it's too late for that and you can't step back you'll simply have to delete and rebuild the two layers. Sound and a visual in one keyframe won't play correctly.
  • Today's Goal

    Your goal today is to look over the websites and tutorials mentioned here and download some sounds to play with tomorrow. Create a folder in your documents file where you will store and organize your sounds. You should create different sub-folders for music, SFX (sound effects), and dialogue. Organize early! You'll be surprised how many files you'll be storing there and you need to be able to find them later on.


    Audacity Download

    Free copy of Audacity for your PC at home.

    Audacity Online Manual

    Audacity Online Quick Help

    Sound Effect Sites

    As we put sound in our animations, we have to think beyond music and speech and also think of sound effects. Here are a few places to get those bangs, splats, and duck quacks. Warning! Always have a good virus protection program active when downloading sound.

             Jan. 10         

    Today's Goal

    Your goal today is to import a sound into Flash and use the Flash interface to edit it. Once you have explored the Flash interface, open up Audacity and do the same thing and import a sound and edit it and export it back out.

    Using Sound in Flash

  • Open a new Flash file, save and call it Sound Lesson.
  • From your Sound Folder you created and populated yesterday, import a SHORT (under 30sec) sound file into your Flash Library. You'll see that it has a new icon next to it that looks like a little speaker.
  • Highlight the sound file in your library and look for the pay buttons. You can play the sound in the Sound Palette, the Library and in the editing interface.
  • Create a new layer in your timeline and label it Sound. You will need an empty or blank keyframe to put the sound in. Sound ALWAYS goes in an empty/blank keyframe.
  • There are two ways to bring in a sound. You can highlight the keyframe and then drag the sound from your library to your stage OR you can drag the sound from the library to your empty keyframe. I like to highlight the keyframe and drag to the stage because I have bad eyes and I'm more prone to making mistakes when I'm dragging to tiny keyframes, but either way will work.
  • Right now you might think nothing is in the keyframe, but if you look closely you'll see a tiny blue line, which is the very beginning of the sound waveform.
  • Highlight the sound keyframe and extend it by adding frames. Simply press down on F5 until the keyframe is extendended and you see the entire waveform. That's your sound! If you chose a very long sound, this will take some time. Remember you're probably set at 30FPS and that means a 2 minute sound file (if you put in a whole song) will take 30 frames x 60 seconds x 2 which will equal 3,600 frames.
  • Now look at the entire sound waveform. Do you see a flat line in the beginning and end? That's the dead air. If you want your sound to sync exactly on your visual (let's say, you have a ball hitting a wall and want a "Splat!!" exactly when the ball hits) then you need to remove the dead air so the sound starts exactly at the beginning of the keyframe. Then you will move the keyframe so that it aligns under where you want it to start playing (that point where the ball hits the wall). You can remove the dead air in an external sound editing application like Audacity (the best way) but you can also do it in Flash.
  • Always remove the long tail of dead air at the end of your sound file in your sound editor. This will keep your sound file from continuing on after the scene or movie bit is finished.
  • Inside the Sound Editor

  • Click on the sound and open the sound editor.
  • Note that there are TWO waveforms because the sound is probably in stereo. One editor layer is the right ear and one is the left ear. If you cut or edit the levels, make sure you do BOTH layers. It's a common mistake to think you've set the sound to fade in and forget to fade in on BOTH layers and you don't hear the effect because one layer is still on at full blast.
  • Look for the little bar between the layers. You can move that at either end of the waveform to cut THAT INSTANCE of the sound down.
  • "That instance" is that particular sound file in your timeline, NOT the file in the Library. If you cut down the sound now and then use that file again later, you'll have to cut it down EVERY time you use it out of the library. That's why it's better to rough edit your sounds in an external sound editor BEFORE you import them into Flash. It saves time.
  • There are anchor points on a path above each waveform layer. The path is the volume of the waveform and you can grab it with your mouse and move it up for louder and down for quieter. You can add and subtract anchors (highlight the anchor and hit "delete") and add as many anchors as you want and where you want. Reducing the volume of a sound and then bring it back up is called "ducking". An example of ducking is when you lower the background music during dialogue and bring it back up.
  • There is a dropdown menu above the waveforms if you want to use the Flash defaults for Fade In, Fade Out, etc. The same menu is also in the Sound Palette.
  • At the bottom of the window you will see a tiny clock and a tiny strip of film. Click on the Clock and you will see the numbers next to the waveform change to fractions of a second. Click on the strip of film and you'll see the numbers change to frames. Click on the Plus or Minus to get in closer or back out so that you can edit more precisely.
  • Things the Flash Sound Editor Won't Do

  • It will not edit the sounds in the Library, so you can't edit globally. It will only edit that instance and not effect the other instances.
  • It won't let you edit inside the sound, so you can't cut out bits of sound (a cough, for instance) and then splice them back together.
  • It doesn't add special effects, like reverb, echo, etc.
  • It doesn't compress or lengthen the sound. It will cut the sound, but it won't take 1 minute of sound and squish it into 49 seconds.
  • It won't change the pitch of the sound.
  • It won're recompress the sound into a different file format.


    Use Your Headphones!!!

    When the entire class is working in sound it's very hard to concentate when your neighbour has a different beat on. It's also very annoying to hear your neighbour play his sound over
    while he edits it.

    Keep you volume down as low as possible. Hearing damage happens when you listen at full volume and once you damage your ears they can't be fixed. It takes ONE instance of 80db ear shock to damage your ears and cause deafness in that tone for life. As a media professional it's very, very important to maintain your full hearing range.

    Dangerous Decibels

    It's a Noisy Planet

    Have you already lost some hearing? Online hearing test and another.

             Jan. 11         

    Today's Goal

    Your goal today is to import a sound into Audacity and use the Audacity interface to edit it.

    Go to the Audacity Online Manual here. You'll see that the interface is very much like the simpler Flash Interface. Follow the directions to import and open up a file and go through the different buttons and tools.

    Here are common tasks and tutorials on how to do them. Audacity has more tutorials, but for this assignment you only really need the first two on this list. -

  • Edit an Audio File
  • Making a recording. You'll need this to add dialogue and SFX.
  • Looping. This is essentially copying and pasting sound sections to create an audio loop.
  • How to Import CDs. This is only necessary if you use a copyrighted song for this project and really, really want to lose 10 points on the grading scale.

             Jan. 12         

    Placing Sound on Your Timeline

    Here are some help hints, random thoughts and frequently asked questions...

  • It's much better to have multiple scenes and control the sound in each scene. For instance, I would have an opening credits scene, a music video scene (or scenes) and a closing credits scene.
  • Sound starts where ever you place it in a blank keyframe. It doesn't have to start on keyframe 1, it can start on keyframe 39 if you want.
  • Help! I have a bunch of white space at the end of my scene!

  • If you have empty frames at the end of your scene, they will play as a blank white area. Check your sound layer for random empty frames and remove them. As you push keyframes around, copy and paste and add and delete, you'll end up with piles of empty, blank, ragged frames a the end of visual AND sound layers. Delete them all and have the scene end in a nice, neat line .
  • Help! I can't stop my sound!

  • Here is a tutorial on Stopping a Sound. Add a blank keyframe in the timeline on the layer where you want the sound to stop, interrupting the blue waveform. Highlight the keyframe and then go to your sound palette and click on the dropdown menu for SYNC and choose stop.
  • Help! I have sounds playing and overlapping as I test my movie. It's a muddled mess!

    You need to adjust your SYNC settings in the Sound Palette for how you want your movie to play.

  • In the Sound Palette, you'll see a SYNC dropdown menu. You've already seen STOP, now here are the other options.
    Event synchronizes the sound to the occurrence of an event. An event sound plays when its starting keyframe first appears and the play the entire sound. The Event sound is independent of the playhead in the Timeline and keeps playing even if the SWF file stops playing. Event sounds are mixed when you play your published SWF file. If an event sound is playing and the sound is instantiated again (for example, by the user clicking a button again, or the playhead passing the starting keyframe of the sound), the first instance of the sound continues to play and another instance of the same sound begins to play at the same time. This is what happens if you hear a muddled mess of overlapping sound files, especially with longer sound files.
    Start is the same as Event, except that if the sound is already playing, no new instance of the sound plays.
    Stream synchronizes the sound for playing on a website and forces the animation to keep pace with stream sounds. If Flash/Animate can’t draw animation frames quickly enough, it skips frames. Unlike event sounds, stream sounds stop if the SWF file stops playing and can never play longer than the length of the frames it occupies. An example of a stream sound is the voice of a character in an animation that plays in multiple frames.

             Jan. 13         


    Assign Vocab. #8 AND #9 summative grade test on Friday, Jan. 20. This is a repeat of two tests you've had before and so you should do very well on them! The words are being reviewed since you're working in sound now. As the semester moves forward you'll be reviewing words and concepts you've had before in preparation for the semester final at the end of the year.

    Sketchbook Home is here and the Assignment 14 is here. It is due Friday, Jan. 20.


    Vocab #13 Test Today

    Turn in Sketchbooks with Assignment #13 today.

    Storyboard of the music video animation due today.

    Music video dope sheet due today.

    The entire Music Video Assignment is due Friday, Feb. 10.

             Lynne Wilde, Instructor .:. school email .:. 763-274-3140 .:. © 2016