How to add sound to your animations

By Dr Alex

Regardless of whether you create animations for business or personal use, or just for fun, you will often want to add sound. Involving more senses means more complete and more personal experience for your audience.

Adding sound to your web pages can also give a richer presentation to your visitors. You need to keep in mind that background music that you enjoy can be annoying to other people: you need to make it easy to them to switch the sound off.

A good way to enhance your web site appeal is to greet your visitors and give them useful information in a short speech. This tells them that they are dealing with a person, not with a faceless corporation, and helps you focus their attention straight away to the point you are trying to make.
Do not forget to allow people to switch the sound off, or to replay the message if they want to.

Which format should you use?

With Animator Professional you can record sounds in wav and mp3 formats, and you can also convert between ac3, mp2, mp3, ogg, avi and wav formats.
Which format is the best? It all depends on the intended use:

Dolby Digital compatible (ac3). This is a compressed sound format of very high quality. Web browsers do not support it. It is a good choice when high quality is important and you have plenty of disk space, for example in CD distributions.

MPEG Audio (mpa, mp2, mp3). This compressed format is widely supported on different operating systems and on the web. Mpeg video usually has mp2-compressed sound. Mp3 is audio-only (no video) and offers even greater compression ratio than mp2. Because it is so economical, mp3 is very suitable for the web, songs and human speech.

Ogg Vorbis Audio (ogg). This is highly-compressed high-quality sound, and a great alternative to mp3. Some countries have patent issues with the mp3 format, whereas ogg is free everywhere.
The only problem is that compared to ogg, web browsers, Media Player, and other audio players currently offer much greater support to mp3.

Windows Wave Sound (wav). This format, originally developed for Windows, is now supported practically everywhere. It is Uncompressed or lightly-compressed and very fast to load, but needs lots of disk space. It is great for games, or for short sound effects on your web pages. Because of the large footprint, it is not suitable for songs or human speech if you wish to place them on the web: in this case, it is better to stick to avi or mp3.

Audio Video Interleaved (avi). This high-quality streaming format is widely supported, with varying quality/compression ratios depending on the codec you select to do the encoding.

3 easy ways to deal with your sound files

If you record your videos using a digital camera, you can always use Animator's Audio-Video Processor to convert them to a desired format, or save them in the same format, but with better compression for web use.

You can easily add sound to an animation: simply select both files, and specify the name of the new file. If needed, you can truncate the audio to end when the video ends, or extend the video to match the duration of the sound file.

In some cases you will need to append one or more audio files to an existing file. For example, if you have a lengthy presentation with background music, one song may not be enough: combining two or more audio files together is a way to go. Animator Professional allows you to do this even if the source audio files are in different formats.

Putting it all together

The more senses you involve, the richer the experience will be for your intended audience. Not all sound formats are the same: you need to select the right one depending on how do you want to use it. With Antechinus® Animator Professional you can easily record sound files, put them together, and add them to your animations.

Click here to find out more about Animator Professional.